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New Study Shows IBDP Is Strong Preparation for College Admission and Success

March 17, 2015

A new study released by the International Baccalaureate Organization shows that IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) graduates, like those at the British International School of Boston, have higher retention and graduation rates at United States universities than most other American students.

According to the research, conducted by University of Wisconsin- La Crosse researchers, IBDP students not only attend four-year institutions at higher rates than the national average, but also have more success once there.

“This study, along with earlier reports, confirms IB diploma students’ attractiveness to U.S. colleges and the high level of success these students have once attending these institutions,” said BISB IB Diploma Programme Coordinator Ruth Williams.

According to the study, which followed the outcomes of students taking the IBDP exams in 2008, 92 percent of IB diploma students graduating from U.S. high schools in 2008 enrolled in a U.S. postsecondary institution within four years of graduating.

The study also found that 95 percent of IBDP graduates enrolling in college right after high school entered a four-year institution, notably higher than the 2008 national average of 60 percent enrollment in four-year institutions.

Retention and graduation rates for IB diploma earners were also significantly higher than the national average at U.S. institutions.

The study found that 98 percent of IBDP students enrolled in four-year institutions continued on to their sophomore year of college, compared to only 77 percent of students nationally.

IB diploma earners also completed college degrees within four years at much higher rates than the national average. According to the study, 84 percent of IB diploma earners completed college within four years, compared to only 39 percent nationally.

“When the results from this study are compared to national is evident that diploma students enroll, persist and graduate on time at notably higher rates,” the study states.

While the data presented in this study may be new, the news that IBDP graduates thrive in higher education comes as no surprise to BISB staff.

College counselor Becca Blackelari, who previously worked in U.S. college admissions, said colleges and universities throughout the United States understand the value of the IB diploma, and actively seek students with this achievement, particularly as average retention and graduation rates for college students decline across the United States.

“As a former admission officer, I would always appreciate IBDP applicants,” she said. “Not only because I was 100 percent confident in their academic readiness for university study, but for the global and cultural mindedness I knew they’d bring to my college’s campus.”

The British International School of Boston, a Boston private school, offers the IBDP as its only high school degree option.

Widely regarded as one of the best pre-university degree programs worldwide, the IBDP is a two-year program focused on intensive academic study and personal growth. The IB diploma strives not only to prepare students for college-level work, but to also provide the nonacademic skills necessary for higher education success, including collaboration and time management.

BISB 2014 graduate Noah Fechtor-Pradines said he has seen the impact an IB diploma can have first-hand. Fechtor-Pradines earned a perfect 45-point score on the IBDP exams in May 2014, and now studies mathematics at Harvard.

As a college freshman, Fechtor-Pradines said there is no doubt the IBDP was the best preparation for success at university.

“Undoubtedly I was given strong academic preparation from the IBDP at BISB, but my shortcoming is, and always has been, not academics, but organization and time management,” he said in a Jamaica Plain Gazette article earlier this year. “Certain teachers spent inordinate amounts of time teaching me to plan my schoolwork.

“Given the enormity of the jump (to college), I cannot imagine how I would be faring were I to have just spent spring term suffering from ‘senioritis’ or coasting along in easy courses with small workloads...I am planning and organizing my time meticulously, to a degree I had never even considered before the IBDP.”

Click here to read the full report on the new research. Visit our IB Diploma Programme page for more information on the IB diploma at the British International School of Boston.