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Why do universities in the US love IB students?

You might have heard about the IB Diploma, the internationally recognized high school program for students seeking a broad and challenging curriculum. But did you know that IB graduates are 21.4 percent more likely to be admitted into 10 of the most prestigious universities in the US? That includes Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford. There’s clearly a reason, so why are IB students such a good fit for universities in America?

University preparation

Universities in the US require applicants to prove they’ve mastered independent study, time management, critical thinking, and research skills. In some traditional high school programs, learning is entirely teacher-led. Students aren’t self-motivated and often struggle to gain acceptance into the top universities.

The IB Diploma is different. It’s geared towards helping students develop the skills needed to prove themselves good applicants and good future undergraduates. For example, a study at the University of Virginia found that the Extended Essay component of the IB Diploma was of great benefit to students. It helped them prepare for undergraduate research and good grades correlated with good undergraduate research projects. Universities in the US know that IB students are likely to excel at university because they’re already equipped with the skills they need to succeed.

Flexibility and choice

Something unique about universities in the US is the focus on flexibility and choice. Students are encouraged to try a range of subjects and have a wide field of interest. Undergraduates borrow papers from other departments, make connections between different ideas, all while learning more about what drives them and what they feel most passionate about.

IB students have a similar experience in high school. They study six subjects and can tailor their schedules to suit their ambitions. There is flexibility so they can try out various courses before deciding which is right for them. They’re also able to complement their classroom learning with personal projects, community work, clubs, sports, and more. As a result, IB students become undergraduates who know how to explore and hone their interests.

Global citizenship

Universities in the US are international communities. They’re committed to educating the youth of today to solve the global challenges of tomorrow. They seek to encourage students to learn from one another, to recognize their common humanity and to reflect on globally significant issues across the curriculum.

The key aim of the IB Diploma is for students to develop an international mindset that will enable them to build a better future. IB students learn to see the world from different cultural perspectives and they study languages that enable them to communicate with peers from different backgrounds. As an internationally recognized qualification, the IB also prepares them for a career anywhere in the world. IB students are global citizens and this makes them an asset to the international academic communities of the US. Perhaps more so than any other reason, it’s this that makes IB students so appealing to universities.


Do you dream of attending university in the states? At our EF Academy campuses near the Big Apple and in Sunny California, we offer the IB Diploma alongside personalized university application guidance and support.

Want to know more about the IB Diploma? Learn more

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