OT: IB vs AP (high school)

Submitted by Gameboy on March 24th, 2016 at 1:34 PM

Sorry about the OT, but things are pretty slow around here right now so it is probably good a time as any, and I really respect the general knowledge and intelligence of this crowd and would love to hear from people with knowledge on this issue.

I have a daughter who is about to enter high school. She is very lucky in that she lives in a school district that is nationally recognized, well funded, and filled with upper-middle class students who are motivated. The district also has open admissions policies for schools where there is room (which is most), and she has an option on which high school to attend.

And really, she cannot make a bad choice here. I have visited the high schools in the area and they are all fantastic. I wish I had it this good when I was a student.

Our dilemma comes down to this. She is in a program that feeds to the IB (International Baccalaureate) oriented high school. It is an accelerated program that awards IB degrees by 11th grade (most do it at 12th grade). It is demanding and time consuming. However, the kids in this program also do well and average 35 points (that is like A, A-).

She can also go to a STEM oriented high school where the emphasis is in AP (even enhanced AP programs that act like IB). This school would be more normally paced and she would probabaly get a higher GPA (the other program attracts the best students in the district) and have more time for extracurricular activities.

I know most of the pros and cons around IB (like how IB credits are not honored at many colleges), but I am really only interested in two things; the quality of life and chances of getting into very selective universities. Based on my research, the answers are all over the place.

Do you have any personal experience or close understanding of IB vs AP? I would love to assist my daughter on this decision, but really I have no idea which one is better.

Comments

Rickett88

March 24th, 2016 at 1:54 PM ^

I have taught in MI & VA for high school math, and now teach Adv Alg 1 to 8th graders in FL so I have a bit of advice. 

If your daughter has plans to go to an Ivy League school or somewhere out of state (Stanford) then IB is something you should look strongly at. It is very intense with what the student has to do paper/project/extra wise. I always tell my kids that want to do AICE (just like IB) that they need to LOVE school, not just like school, in order to succeed. 

AP courses will get your daughter the college credit needed, and allow them to take some of those courses at a local community college usually, which in my opinion prepares them just as well, if not better than, IB. 

My 2 cents. Back to teaching. 

notYOURmom

March 24th, 2016 at 4:13 PM ^

From someone who does dozens of interviews a year for an Ivy League school.

A curriculum that wears your daughter out and leaves her devoid of enthusiasm will not improve her chances at an elite school.  I see a lot of kids in IB programs and a lot of kids more oriented towards APs.  There are good kids in both pools.  But, a lot of IB kids are pressured by their parents to chose the program, and it's hard for some IB kids to stand out from others in their school.  When I ask them about their extended essay they display limited enthusiasm and do not seem to have engaged in the material the way I'm sure their parents had hoped.

Likewise, there are some kids who come into my office from schools that are AP mills actually apologizing for "only having six APs."  The NUMBER does not impress me, so long as you are engaged the material your are studying.  I don't see the point of taking AP Physics if you hate  physics and don't plan on taking any in college.  A kid who takes 8 APs is not twice as smart as a kid who takes only 4.  

From either program, a kid who arrives at an interview, or who sits in front of a blank page ready to create an admissions essay, who is EXHAUSTED and depleted and has no enthusiasm for his/her task, is lost.  

Please lord let that kid take 3 APs and write a screenplay, or get a good night's sleep every once in a while.  She will be better off than if she takes 8, unless she decide for herself that that is what she wants and needs.

The "take it at community college" opinon works for some, but for others it detaches them from their school community and means they cannot show their passion for other things (extracurriculars) or reduce their time to just recharge their jets and read (I would prefer a kid who reads a lot over all other things).

That's a roundabout way of saying LET YOUR KID DECIDE.  

 

 

MGoBender

March 24th, 2016 at 6:28 PM ^

 

A kid who takes 8 APs is not twice as smart as a kid who takes only 4.

 

Such a great statement.  I work at a high-achieving school.  We have to discourage kids from taking too many APs.  Much more often than not, the kids that over schedule themselves with AP classes in subject areas they are not very interested in completely burn out by junior year.  They quit a sport they love or develop unheathy sleep habits or fall into depression.

Ivies are moving away from test scores and GPA as key indicators (note: they've never been as important as people think).  They're becoming more reliant on teacher rec's and essays.

Essays are huge.  That's where colleges get to know kids.  If your kid goes the IB route and doesn't really want it, that's going to be reflected in their essays and their teacher recs.  

 

PaperWolverine

March 24th, 2016 at 1:52 PM ^

Did both in two different high schools here in VA. What I gathered from teachers and counselors, is that you can't really go wrong with either but for the sake of less future complication(Credits) go with AP.

ak47

March 24th, 2016 at 1:55 PM ^

I did IB in high school diploma track but also took AP classes.  AP was a joke compared to IB though teacher mattered more than anything.  It wasn't even close which was the better educational tool.  However AP is more relevant to college, it will get you more credits, AP calc will teach you what calc will in college, I was in IB higher level math and was writing 5-6 page proofs as my major project.  Its completely different.  If you want your daughter to get the best most rounded education IB is the answer,  If you want the lower time constraint more applicable for college credits AP is better that way.

 

To give more context I wound up at Michigan and chose the liberal arts path which is where IB is also clearly stronger.  I liked writing proofs more than calc in college but in terms of preparing for a STEM field I have less knowledge on which would be better.

Farnn

March 24th, 2016 at 1:53 PM ^

My brother is an IB coordinator abroad and has also taught AP classes abroad, so my experience is second hand.  But if you are only interested in colleges/universities in the US then there is no reason to do IB over AP.  I'd look at the actual acceptance rates to what you consider selective universities from the two highschools and make your decision based on that.

blockm97

March 24th, 2016 at 2:00 PM ^

I'm a HS guidance counselor at a large Michigan HS that has sent multiple kids into Ivy League schools.  I don't have all the answers, but I can say this......

1.  IB is generally better respected than AP.  But it is largely because AP is watered down in many schools.  Probably is not the case at your district.

2.  This decision won't have much to do with wether or not she gets into Stanford or Harvard.  The elite colleges in this country are insanely difficult to get into without a hook.  Stanford accepts about 5% of their apps a year.  Harvard declines more valedictorians than it accepts.  

3.  At our school the kids getting into UM are 30+ on ACT and over a 4.0 GPA.  The one trend we've seen in the last couple of years is kids with lower numbers who are getting in have a sibling at UM.  Could be a fluke, but it's seemed to help the last two years.  

4. Be careful with dual enrollment and Community College.  It does not wow the admissions folks like some think.  Max out the AP offerings before considering it.  An of AP course at our HS is tougher than most courses at a community college.  

5.  The Big 3 when applying to most any college will be grades in college prep classes, SAT/ACT results and course rigor.  It'll make up at least 80% of their decision.  But to get into Stanford (NW, Yale, etc) you'll also need to flourish in the other areas; letters of rec, essays, xtra curricular, leadership, deep commitments, etc.  If IB is so demanding that it does not allow for a kid to do interesting stuff beyond HS I would view that negatively.  By the way, we are an AP school.  \

Good luck! 

MGoBender

March 24th, 2016 at 9:18 PM ^

blockm97, I've had one of our college counselors and former (and now present again) college admissions coordinator say something a little different.  He says the ACT/SAT generally are fifth most important in his "5 things colleges look at":

1. Transcript (GPA, but not just GPA - types of classes, trends, how you do in high level classes).

2. Essays

3. Letters of Rec

4. Extra-curriculars

5. ACT/SAT

2-4 might have been jumbled differently.  Now, perhaps one reason he ranks ACT/SAT lowest is because most of our kids will generally "do well enough" on those tests such that they would fall into the 50th percentile or higher.  Obviously, your ACT score suddenly becomes more important if it is abnormally low for the school you're applying to.  

How does that jive with your experience?

MGoRobo

March 24th, 2016 at 2:02 PM ^

As someone who has worked in admissions at two elite universities, I can tell you there isn't really a difference in how we look at them. We look at what is available to the student in their school, and what they chose to do there. If she goes IB and the diploma option is available, then I'd recommend doing it. Also, especially at the Ivies and that type of institution, they really are looking for things beyond academics, so she should make sure she's getting herself deeply involved in the things she's involved, instead of just having a lot of things on her list.

Gameboy

March 24th, 2016 at 2:23 PM ^

It is a full IB diploma program and almost every kid in the program receives a diploma (and gets 35 points in average in doing so). What I am really worried about is whether or not she will have enough time for extracurricular activities outside the school due to time demands. Although her 12th grade will be a breeze since the diploma is obtained in 11th grade. She will have a lot of time in her senior year for extracurriculars.

Michael

March 24th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

I graduated HS with an IB diploma in 2004, but I believe the requirements are still mostly the same. IB mandates "Creativity, Activty, Service" or CAS, which are basically mandated extracurricular activities, community service, etc. I personally found the things I did for my CAS requirements to be interesting and educational, and which I probably wouldn't have done otherwise. 

I did HS debate and played varsity baseball as an IB student, both huge time commitments, and I still had plenty of time to goof off with my friends. 

Ron Swanson

March 24th, 2016 at 2:03 PM ^

I went to an IB school and graduated in 2006. It was rough socially because I'd be doing homework or studying most of the time. Made some good friends but participating in sports was difficult. I got burned-out by the time I got into college and my freshman-year grades suffered because of that. 

I'm the oldest of 3 brothers. My younger brothers went to the AP school and we all got into and attended Michigan. Some people excel in different situations but the differences are real.

If your daughter has friends who are driven and productive and most of them are going to one of the schools, I'd do that one. Let her make the final choice.

ak47

March 24th, 2016 at 2:16 PM ^

IB is certainly harder and more time consuming but I also played sports year round and soccer seriously enough to almost play d3 in it.  I didn't get the best grades in my school but did well enough to get in everywhere I applied.  Most of my friends in the IB program still had pretty robust social lives for most of the year.  

From what I understand your summer choices are going to be a big thing.  Camp may be a lot of fun but it isn't going on your college application and there are some really cool things you can do that also look good.  I spent 8 weeks working with habitat for humanity in Arkansas one summer and 8 weeks in Honduras working with an NGO one summer.  I enjoyed both of those summer more than any camp experience I had but you have to look harder for it.  

Really though just let your daughter enjoy life.  Getting into Harvard or Yale undergrad as compared to Michigan isn't going to harm her life or greatly change it.  My roommate from Michigan is currently getting a phd at Harvard and he says he wouldn't send his kid there undergrad over Michigan and my friends are all employed/ in good grad schools.  Having a good life is the most important thing especially if she is smart.  It will work out and you shouldn't be stressing about college for a kid in 8th grade.

Crash

March 24th, 2016 at 2:06 PM ^

If you don't care about credit transferring to college, thus saving you money, then IB is better.  

One anecdote: I have a co-worker who's daughter went through the IB program and was accepted to Yale.  There's nothing that says she wouldn't have been accepted if she had done AP classes, but the pattern I've seen is that kids who are driven enough to survive the IB program are better prepared for life.  It forces you to be a thinker, not just a hard worker.

bringthewood

March 24th, 2016 at 2:57 PM ^

Depends upon the IB program. Not all are the same, IA West in suburban Detroit give little lift and will depress grade points. Can't speak for others. I do know they greatly oversold the upside and left out the negatives - significant more work, lower grades, difficulty with sports schedules.

JL

March 24th, 2016 at 2:28 PM ^

I've taught AP and IB, currently in an International school with an IB curriculum. If you want your daughter to be prepared for standardized tests, take AP. If you want your daughter to have a world view, talk IB. IMO, AP vs IB is how the world is vs how the world should be in terms of college prep. Either way you'll be happy, because you won't know what you're missing.

I'd be interested to know how they get an IB diploma by grade 11, since you take MYP from grade 6-10 and DP from 11-12.

Gameboy

March 24th, 2016 at 2:35 PM ^

It is part of an accelerated program that starts from elementary school. They finish all the prep courses by 9th grade and take IB programs during 10th and 11th grade. Almost all students in this program get their IB diploma by end of 11th grade. I know this is highly unusual. The school counselor said they get inquiries from univerisities all the time about whether or not the student made a mistake in listing their IB diploma in the application.

Augger

March 24th, 2016 at 2:36 PM ^

I have quite a bit of experience in this exact area.  I began my teaching career at probably the best IB school in the midwest, and now teach AP at a high ranking suburban high school.  As most have mentioned both are fine choices, either one is going to give you a huge leg up when is comes to college application time.  Both programs are going to be full of the highest achieving kids, and they will all push each other. 

My main concern with IB is that it is simply too time consuming.  We worked the kids extremely hard, we constantly were pushing the limits of how much they could actually do, and many of them dont make it.  The loss rate of kids leaving my IB school was very high, something like 1/3 of the students dont make it past sophomore year.  I cannot comprehend how a school would try to do that in just three years.  Our kids already had no lives, they were studying constantly, very few did sports, and while there were clubs, they mostly existed as ways for kids to polish their college resume (and yes dont forget about the giant two year long research paper you have to write).  If they survive all that, they did get into fantastic schools, but you can also get into fantastic schools by taking AP, and still having something of a normal high school existance.  Leave room for the student to have a life, there are so many good lessons to learn from playing sports, or volunteering, or whatever interests your child.  If your child is a high achiever they will achieve anywhere and as long as they are taking challenging courses they should be fine.  We send just as many to Harvard at my current school as we did in my old school.

notYOURmom

March 24th, 2016 at 4:19 PM ^

I wrote an extended rant to the same effect below.  For the record, for example, International Academy did not, IIRC, send any kids to Harvard last year, nor did WiHi, although this year's results have not been announced.

The drop-out rate of the IB programs is pretty fierce!

readyourguard

March 24th, 2016 at 2:36 PM ^

We went through this 4 years ago with my son and two years ago with my daughter.

His high school really put the pressure on him to enroll in the IB program.  (Part of that is because he's a good student and part is because they need that program to succeed with good numbers). 

After MUCH discussion amongst ourselves and calls to Michigan*, Stanford, Harvard, and UCLA, we came to the conclusion that getting As in multiple AP courses (along with a full schedule of sports participation) would make a sufficiently appealing application.  As it turns out, we were right.  He's graduating from Michigan next month and will move onto UMDDS in the summer.

My daughter, on the other hand, was an all A student but didn't take enough AP courses and didn't participate in sports.  She was waitlisted and ultimately not offered a spot in the class.  She has since applied as a transfer student, got accepted for this summer, but has decided to stay in Alabama.

IB is a good program but demanding.  It is NOT necessary to gain acceptance to Michigan IF your daughter takes 6-8 AP courses and does well PLUS remains involved in extracirriculars.

*Michigan told us that they didn't look fondly on someone who had the opportunity to enroll in IB but didn't do it.  In not so many words, they felt it was "not challenging yourself fully" by not enrolling.  That's bullshit.  It's one thing if you get all As in regular courses, but if you're enrolled in 2 APs a semester plus play sports or other extras, you are challenging yourself enough. (Provided you're in the top 10% of your class)

NOTE:  This is opinion.  You make your own choice. I'm just telling you what I know and believe after going through it twice in the last 4 years.

Yooper

March 24th, 2016 at 2:58 PM ^

We had two kids attend high school with an IB program.  One took the IB route, the other AP.  There is no question the commitment required to get the IB diploma was great and interfered with the opportunity to participate in extra curriculars.  From our perspective, there was no real impact as to where they were accepted.  Both got into great schools.

By the way OP-your daughter isn't "very lucky" as you mentioned.  She has these opportunities because her parents made the necessary sacrifices and commitments to make it happen.  Keep up the good work.

We are back

March 24th, 2016 at 2:40 PM ^

IB is way too much for any kid with a social life and or extracurricular activities. My suggestion is tell her not to go IB just because of her friends, make sure that's what she wants. That's my opinion though I just don't believe in making kids robots in hopes for a better future.

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Cranky Dave

March 24th, 2016 at 6:46 PM ^

my daughter had with IB was great and did not kill her social life. She had a job 10-12 hours per week and had time to spend with friends on the weekend. She didn't have top grades but did well enough for her to attend the school she wanted. if my daughter had an interest in an elite school then the job and social life might have gone by the wayside. The important thing is my daughter liked the IB program, is doing well in school and is extremely happy with her choices

grumbler

March 24th, 2016 at 2:42 PM ^

I've taught AP and IB and agree that IB is both more rigorous and more time-consuming (both for the teacher and the student).  I think that college credit won't be much of an issue because the elite schools are already moving away from awarding AP credit.  IB probably prepares students for college better; some of the "tricks" to getting better AP test scores are just that: tricks.

I think I enjoy teaching AP more than IB, though, because courses can be more intellectual and not so process-oriented.  The courses and tests have gotten a lot better over the last ten years or so.  I don't know that that is true for IB, as I have't taught it recently.

I think I'd recommend the AP school if she has some serious outside interests in sports, art, music, clubs, or the like and wants to be able to spend some time with them.  If she is mostly just an academic, then I'd recommend the IB school.

bringthewood

March 24th, 2016 at 2:52 PM ^

My son attended IA West in Michigan a few years ago. He has since graduated from Michigan and has been accepted to grad school at U of M. His IB school actually hurt his him as he did not get initially accepted to Michigan. IB is a challenging program and will depress your grade point. Unless it is a highly regarded established IB school the grade deflation will hurt your daughter's chances at many universities. I think my son had an ACT of 32 and a GPA slightly under a 3.7 and did not get into LS&A initially.

I believe without his IA grades he would have been accepted right out of High School. IA West made many promises but in following my friends children I don't think IA West will aid your daughter if she wants to get into Michigan. I have heard exactly the opposite about the original IA in West Bloomfield.

I did not recommend IA West to my daughter and would not recommend IA West due to the face grade deflation and programs rigor was not adequately recognized many universities including Michigan. Things may have changed since this was in the early phase of the school. Most of the people accepted into Michigan from my Son's school were from the non IB campus. He did get into Case Western and Illinois so you mileage may vary.

My son also played football and basketball and both were a pain since the IB schedule was different.

RationalBuckeye

March 24th, 2016 at 2:53 PM ^

At my high school, the choices offered by IB were very restrictive. Maybe it's different in other places, but I felt better have a choice in classes and having a little more variety in the people I saw every day.

With that said, many of my classmates in IB could still handle extracurricular activities, so I wouldn't think that would be a huge limitation. It depends on your daughters personality, in my opinion.

michigandadof4

March 24th, 2016 at 3:02 PM ^

Our school offers IB and AP.  Our overachiever daughter starts high school next year.  She choose AP over IB because she felt it gave her more options/variety in classes.  She didn't think that the IB program would allow her time to take some of the electives she eventually wants to take.

Her not quite as motivated siblings never considered IB as an option.  I guess we will find out in 3 1/2 years whether it was the correct choice.

ottomatic

March 24th, 2016 at 3:03 PM ^

I'm in Fairfax County VA. with an abundance of well respected High Schools. The story locally is that tn order to to get into UVA you must go IB. In last year's graduating class over 400 grauating seniors had GPA > 4.00. AP courses with 4.00 GPA aren't geting kids into UVA.

My yougest called University Michigan admissions office recently to inquire about how they look at IB. The person she spoke with said no difference between IB and AP credits. I'm pushing her away from IB - great smarts but marginal study skills and she dislikes writing.

Mgoscottie

March 24th, 2016 at 3:11 PM ^

IB and AP science and I like IB better and would prefer my kids to take IB over AP.  IB has students produce more, they do more research and have opportunities to do higher-level projects and papers that you won't see as much or at the same level in AP classes.  IB also covers more content but at a slower pace and I feel like the students learn more regardless of their academic abilities.  

The advantage to AP is you can gather more college credits if you are intensely committed to skipping a year of college.  IB will limit you to taking 4 HL classes which are usually the only ones a top flight University will accept.  Neither is a bad option.  Our IB students get into the top Universities at a higher rate than other students by a good margin and I feel like it is partially reputation, partially the production they accomplish and also the flexibility within the classes where they can learn independently at a high level.  

ak47

March 24th, 2016 at 3:42 PM ^

Man everyone is here talking about how time consuming IB is.  It shouldn't be.  Its more rigorous but also includes less busy work when done correctly.  I went to a private school that ended in 8th grade so my friends from there when to all different high schools.  I wouldn't say the social life of kids in my IB class were any different than my friends from middle school.  Like I said I played sports all year all four years.  People will panic about anything.  IB is harder so it takes more work but its not like you are teaching neuroscience to a 13 year old.  Its just more intensive research project over longer periods.  If you are smart about it (I wasn't I crammed until 3 am the night before papers were due all the time which was great practice for college) you'll be fine time wise.  Kids from my high school, which was public school in baltimore city with over 70% free and reduced lunch went to amherst, yale, brown, michigan, hopkins, etc.  I know all of these kids, they all had social lives that would make most high school parents uncomfortable if they knew everything and all participated in extra curriculars or worked jobs.  

bronxblue

March 24th, 2016 at 4:04 PM ^

My wife teaches biology at an all-girls schools here in NYC, the type with tuition above the median household income.  They only provide AP courses, but she hasn't heard of any kids being particularly restricted in their college options because of it.  I think a lot of the anecdotal accounts point toward IB being "better" because somebody's kid got into Elite School A while someone else's kid didn't, but my guess is that there are other factors involved than just being in a particular program.

I think it'll come down to the classes provided for each program and what she wants to focus on.  I wouldn't get too worked up about whether or not it prepares her for a STEM career or not; that is a long ways away, and can change immensely once college starts.  Maybe it's me, but kids have the rest of their lives to stress out about knowledge and competition; HS should be a place where you definitely learn how to maturely prepare for life, but it shouldn't be something where you worry for 4 years if the stuff you are learning is being done "best" in order to convince another place that you are worth learning there as well.  Learning good study habits, not just study habits that let you succeed at IB vs. AP, are probably most important.

notYOURmom

March 24th, 2016 at 4:26 PM ^

I see a lot of parents commenting, or reporting the comments of other parents, regarding a preference for one program or another on the part of admissions officers.  I would take these with a grain of salt.  I have literally never heard an admissions officer claim an advantage for one over another.  So much of "what school X prefers" is based on a sample consisting of "what the mom of a kid down the block told me."

With the really competitive schools, the problem is not just doing very very well on grades and tests, but standing out from the background noise.  Harvard's admit pool this year might be 40,000 kids.  There is really nothing your kid can do that they have not already seen.  

Kids stand out to admissions because of their personal qualities and accomplishments.  If you have a graduating class of 100, and you are in the top 10%, then there are nine other kids you eat lunch with every day who are as accomplished as you based on grades alone.   Just imagine how many hundreds and thousands are in the pool whose grades are the same as yours and have the same test scores.

Write something more interesting, read something more interesting, run faster, be nicer and more thoughtful, than those other kids, and you will achieve a better admission results.

mds315

March 24th, 2016 at 4:27 PM ^

Teacher,

 

IB typically has some large personal project that is done throughout high school and places a lot more responsibility on student to keep up with their work and a some of the stronger school districts in Metro Detroit are starting to trend towards IB.

 

AP is a little more traditional typically being run very similar to a college course along with the AP exam.

BTB grad

March 24th, 2016 at 5:21 PM ^

I did IB in high school and it prepared me very well for the rigor of academics here at U-M. The credits from IB work out a lot better than AP. AP credits cannot be used to fill distribution requirements but IB credit can be. I took a handful of AP classes in addition to the IB program and thought they were much easier than the IB classes. The IB program is very rigorous but it will prepare  her well for the even more rigorous curriculum at U-M. 

UMChick77

March 24th, 2016 at 5:28 PM ^

If she plans to go to school outside of the US, then stick with IB. If she plans to stay in the US, AP will probably be better for the ease of credits.

Skapanza

March 24th, 2016 at 5:47 PM ^

I teach social studies at a Michigan IB school, and I also student taught and took AP courses. While I have my own biases, my feeling is that IB works to establish college-ready skills in a way that was absent from AP courses (though it seems like AP classes, at least in my discipline, seem to be moving further in that direction).

For instance, during the 2-year IB History course, students take only 6 units of study (I recall taking a test each week on that week's chapter in AP US History), but along the way work to develop skills in recognizing historical themes and patterns, assessing sources, recognizing the limitations of the available information, and examining different historical viewpoints. The idea is that while it would be somewhat useful to learn and memorize thousands of years of history terms, names, dates, etc., the transferrable skills will be useful so that a student can step into a college-level history course and make use of the available resources due to fluency in the discipline, even if they start out lacking some names/dates/terms.

Each class in the IB also has an internally assessed project (or a number of IAs) that serve as sort of a capstone project for the course. In history it's a Historical Investigation on a topic of te student's choice that involves developing an effective research question and thesis, assessing sources, research skills, and writing a convincing argument based on evidence and analysis. An element incorporated into the IB curriculum I really have grown to appreciate is frequent self-reflection on tasks, which helps students assess their own strengths and areas for growth in a way that can help them gain a better overall educational experience.

We have students who struggle with the workload, but we also have students who successfully balance athletics and academic/social extracurriculars. IB is not a great format for procrastinators, as work can pile up fast and create obastacles that can appear insurmountable to stressed-out teenagers. 

I'll echo the advice of others above, I think you're wise to let your daughter have a role in this choice, but she should be fully aware of the challenges of an IB curriculum. She will be well-prepared for college (our most recent graduating class has provided some great feedback, mostly about feeling as if they developed skills that give them a leg up on their classmates and helped them make a smooth HS-to-college transition), but that means putting in some significant work developing that skill base in HS.

FWIW, I'm also our school's CAS coordinator, so if you have questions about that aspect of the IB I can try and answer them.

This ended up longer than I expected. I hope it's helpful. If I can provide clarifying feedback let me know below.

Gameboy

March 24th, 2016 at 8:13 PM ^

Thank you so much for your detailed post! I may take you up on your offer.

Thank you to EVERYONE who responded. You guys are really a great bunch of folks. I knew I would get thoughtful, informative posts and you did not disappoint me.

Just read through every response with my daughter and she thanks all of you as well.