IB Overview

How to Choose an IB School for Prospective Students

Whether you’re considering doing the IB Diploma Program, already know what you want to do or are just discovering what the IBDP is, there is always one thing that you must look for: a good IB school in your area. This blog post is mainly for those who aren’t already in their school of choice and are looking elsewhere to pursue their academic ambitions. I, like many IB students, underwent the competitive — and sometimes tiring — task of school hunting, as I wasn’t already in one that offered the IBDP. After reading this post, you should have a rough idea of how to find the IB school for you. Here are some of the main things I’d pay attention to:

  • Accessibility
  • School Fees
  • Academic Level
  • Convenience
  • Reputation

Accessibility & Fees

First of all, the first thing you need to consider is the access you have to an IB School. They’re found all over the world so finding one in your country isn’t usually too difficult. If you live in a large city, you may even have more than one IB school in your vicinity. An easy and efficient way to look for one is to go directly to the IBO website, where they provide an entire database of schools for you to look through.

After that, comes the question of finances; can you afford to go there? Luckily, there are solutions to this. According to the most recent Diploma Statistical Bulletin, almost half of IB Schools are free state-run institutions, which allows an abundance of students to have access to the IBDP. Otherwise, you could find a private school that offers a scholarship. Remember not to limit yourself to one or two options; there are often many ways to work around these problems.

Academic Level

Right off the bat, I recommend scratching schools off your list that don’t publish their results. That means they’re probably not very proud of their results or achieve good, consistent scores. Only seriously consider schools that show their IB results on their website that year. The IB is graded on a 45-point scale, where 45 is the maximum score and 24 the minimum to obtain the Diploma. 

There are several figures schools use to calculate their academic level, the most common being the average score their students earned. Some of the best schools in the world have averages of 40 points, but if that isn’t what you’re looking for then I’d recommend aiming for around a solid average of 34, which still demonstrates a rather high level. Any school with an average too close to the world average (29.92 in 2020) shouldn’t really be on your radar.

Aside from the average score, the pass rate is another figure worth looking at. Good schools usually have a pass rate of around 95% – 100%. Finally, also keep in mind the number of students that took part in the Diploma Program in that school, because an average of 35 points for 100 students is different to an average of 39 points for 40 students.

Convenience & Reputation

A few extra things that are also important are how easy it is to get to your school from where you live, and the local reputation of the school. Do some research on Google Maps or look at bus lines and subway networks to see if there’s a relatively simple way to get there. It’s also a good idea to talk to some parents that enrolled their kids in the school you’re considering and ask them what they think of it. You could even speak with some current or former students and find out how their experience was.

In the end, choosing your school is important as it significantly influences your IB experience. However,  always remember that the work and effort you put in are the most important factors in deciding how well you’ll do in the IB Program. Happy hunting!

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