IB is excellent preparation for university, say admissions officers

During a summer when universities have processed bumper numbers of applications, a survey has highlighted university admissions officers’ view that the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma – a qualification often favoured by international families – is highly effective in preparing students for a university education.The fifth annual survey of admissions officers commissioned by ACS International Schools in London was unveiled in the UK at the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ Annual Conference, to an audience made up of representatives from some of the biggest global graduate employers.The survey’s key findings are:60% of US university officers surveyed report an increase from 2009 to 2010 in the number of applications from students offering the IB Diploma, as compared with 50% of UK admissions officersAll US Admissions Officers surveyed say that the IB Diploma prepares students extremely well, or quite well, for university-style learning and success, as compared to other school exam systemsAdmissions officers in both the UK and US say that selection this year will be at least as difficult as, or more difficult than, in previous years, and they will be looking at factors in addition to grade scores to help them identify the students with the most potential70% of US admissions officers surveyed agree that ‘grade inflation’ makes it harder for them to identify the very best candidates. The figure was just over 50% in the UK55% of US admissions officers surveyed said that grade inflation ‘produces students [who are] less prepared for university-style learning.’ The figure for UK admissions officers was 30%95% of US admissions officers actively look for students who have participated in community or voluntary services in addition to academic study. Among UK officers surveyed, the figure was much lower, at 58%Welcoming the report, Fergus Rose, of ACS International Schools, said, “This report highlights US and UK university admissions officers’ confidence in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, and, in particular, their trust that it is a qualification which enables them to distinguish the best candidates.“In an environment where more and more pupils are leaving school with top grades, university officers and employers can be confident that students with the International Baccalaureate have received excellent preparation for university study and future employment. We are delighted that this confidence is reflected in the increased uptake of the qualification in both the UK and the US.”The report explores admissions officers’ views on the skills set provided by high-school qualifications, including self-management skills, encouraging independent enquiry, nurturing communication skills, and encouraging citizenship – skills which form a core part of the IB Diploma.In terms of the attributes that would enable students to complete their university degree successfully, both US and UK admissions officers rate ‘a love of learning’ and ‘an ability to work independently’ as the two key factors. US admissions officers rate ‘living at home with family, rather than with other students’ as least valuable, but place ‘family experience of university’ more highly than their UK counterparts.

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