FAQs for counsellors, students and parents

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How is the Diploma Programme (DP) different from other pre-university academic programmes?

The DP is a comprehensive and balanced two-year curriculum and assessment system that requires students to study six subjects and core components across all disciplines. Within this structured framework, the DP provides a great deal of flexibility, accommodating student interests and abilities. Through careful subject selection, students may tailor their course of studies to meet their needs.

Regardless of the subject selection, all students explore the connections between the six major subject areas, study each subject through an international perspective, reflect critically on aspects of knowledge, pursue one subject in great detail through independent research, and have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills through local and community service.

The assessment of student achievements happens in a variety of ways throughout the course of the two-year programme. It includes the assessment of student work both by external examiners as well as the students’ own teachers. Internal or teacher assessment normally contributes between 20% and 30% of the subject assessment, but can account for as much as 50% in some of the arts courses. The assessment itself undergoes careful review and moderation to ensure that a common standard is applied equally to the work of all students internationally. All students’ work, regardless of which school they attended, are subjects to the same assessment principles.

The IB Diploma is widely recognized by colleges and universities around the world as superior preparation for students to succeed at post-secondary institutions.

You can find more information on the Diploma Programme here.

What impact will a student’s choice to pursue the DP have on college admissions?

The answer to this question depends greatly on the student’s performance in the DP and their post-secondary aspirations. Literally thousands of higher education institutions have published polices recognizing the DP—however, most also have minimum entry requirements. In some cases, the courses students select while in the DP can have nearly as much impact as their overall performance.

However, evidence does show that DP students tend to go on to tertiary study at higher rates than their peers, are admitted more often to selective institutions, and tend to perform better in their post-secondary studies, including higher rates of post-secondary completion.

Is “recognition” the same as “acceptance”?

Not necessarily. A university may have a fair and comprehensive policy recognizing the achievements of DP students—however, they may still have very high minimum requirements for entry into their institutions. This is especially the case for very competitive universities. It is best to check the minimum admission requirements at the institution you are interested in to determine how a student’s DP performance will be recognized.

Does failing to earn the diploma make a student ineligible to attend university?

Not necessarily. Many universities recognize students’ achievements in individual DP courses and in the core components. In some countries, DP achievements are seen in the context of curriculum enrichment rather than as the main means of admission. In others, universities give credit or tariff points for individual DP courses and also the extended essay and theory of knowledge courses. Students should check admission requirements with individual universities.

In most countries in Europe, the official ministry recognition statement applies to the full IB Diploma. The DP courses are not regarded as a complete secondary leaving certificate and therefore do not meet the minimum requirements for university admission. There are, however, many universities in the UK that will accept DP courses provided they are relevant for the programme the student applies to. Norway also accepts DP course results provided the full diploma has been attempted. In Africa and the Middle East there are also countries and universities that accept DP courses—for example Jordan and South Africa.

In the USA and some other countries, community colleges and similar institutions can provide pathways into undergraduate studies for students who fail to earn the full diploma.

What is the advantage of doing the bilingual diploma?

There could be advantages for non-native students applying to study at universities who require evidence of proficiency in the language of instruction. There are also the general benefits of demonstrating proficiency in more than one language.

Where can I find information about language requirements for university admission?

Each university has its own unique policy, so please check directly with the university of interest.

Why does my university/college not accept my IB credits/grades?

Each university has its own system of accepting a candidate, so please check with the university first before requesting your IB transcript.

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