"Whenever I speak with parents who are considering our school for their children, two questions are most often asked: Why do we offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) as our graduating qualification? And more specifically, does this qualification prepare students well (or may it disadvantage them) when they apply to Swiss universities."
Andy Puttock, Principal of La Côte International School Aubonne, explores the recognition of the IBDP in the context of international and Swiss university admission.
Our answer to the first question has been the same for a number of years.
We strongly believe that the IBDP is an ideal preparation for university. And our belief is supported by a wide range of evidence:
As for the second question, parents often ask country-specific questions: "Which is better for university entrance, the IBDP or A levels (British universities), the Swiss Maturité, the French Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement (USA)?".
While the IBDP has always enjoyed international recognition, and therefore was often seen as the best international qualification, there is no doubt that until recently, domestic qualifications could enjoy some advantage compared to the IBDP. This was not a reflection of quality but rather a result of the experience and understanding of the programme by some university admissions staff. The higher education sector plays an important role in developing school qualifications in most countries and is naturally proud of its examinations. This has traditionally been the case in the UK but is also true for most other countries.
However, over the past decade, the IB Organisation has invested significant time and resource working with the higher education sector to build understanding, recognition and acceptance. Nowadays, the IBDP is recognised as a valid and sought after qualification, with parity to other qualifications in most countries. Of course, certain universities still hold traditional views. Therefore, our highly experienced university advisors and IB team actively work with these universities to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged.
Swiss universities have several specific characteristics as well as some very straightforward entry requirements:
At some universities, certain IBDP subject combinations are indispensable as a prerequisite for successful admission. Parents interested to read more can find the current guidelines here. However, these do change from time to time. That's why those students who wish to attend Swiss universities receive very targeted support and guidance from our university counsellor before they choose their IBDP subjects. This level of focus ensures they have 'accepted' combinations, setting them up for successful applications.
As with entrance to most higher education institutions worldwide, admission to Swiss universities has its complexities and specific requirements. At LCIS, we are committed to tailoring our school offer to each student, personalising their learning and support to fit their starting points and aspirations. High-quality university guidance is essential whether our students aspire to study in Switzerland or abroad. It ensures that our students access the best universities and those that best suit their own needs, talents, and aspirations, both on leaving school and in the future.