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AP vs. IB: Which Program Is Best for You?
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/ap-vs-ib-which-program-is-best-for-you-908

Posted: 2016-02-19

by Lulu Curiel

Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

Advanced Placement (AP) courses have been the main option for students seeking more challenging coursework than whatís offered in their school's standard curriculum. Yet in addition to AP courses, an increasing number of high schools are also choosing to offer International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, which also offer rigorous curriculum.

Both AP and IB programs give high school students the opportunity to earn college credit and become better prepared for higher education. However, each program's goals, subjects and exams will vary.

Key differences between AP and IB

Today, about 14,000 high schools throughout the nation offer AP classes to juniors and seniors. There are over 30 subjects available for teachers to include in their AP curriculum, including English literature, world history, calculus, psychology, and chemistry. To be approved as an AP course, The College Board must verify that the curriculum meets their standards. At the end of each school year, students have the option to take an AP exam. If their exam scores are high enough, theyíll receive college credit. In addition, these scores can also contribute to a studentís placement at some colleges, making them a competitive candidate.

IB courses are also offered to high school juniors and seniors, as well as some elementary and middle schools across the U.S. and throughout the world. But the IB Diploma program is a smaller program than the AP program, and is only offered at about 830 schools in the U.S. The IB program includes three core elements and six classes from various subjects, including Theory of Knowledge, a class that examines the nature of learning, an extended 4,000-word research essay, and a 150-hour community service project called "creativity, action, service." Of the six-subject classes students take, three must be Higher Level and three must be Standard Level. Like those who take AP classes, IB students can also take tests in the six subjects and have their coursework count for college credit if they achieve a certain score.

Should you take AP or IB?

There are a few things the student should take into consideration when deciding between either programs:

  1. What do you want to get out of the experience? While AP programs let students choose which courses they take, the IB Diploma program requires that students take certain courses to qualify for the diploma.
  2. Will your university of choice accept the coursework? More colleges accept AP coursework, which is nice for students who want get some of their coursework done prior to attending university.
  3. Can you afford the classes? AP courses are offered through public high schools, so you donít have to worry about paying to be in a private institution in order to enroll in advanced coursework. However there are fees associated with both AP and IB programs. IB exams are more expensive, with a $160 registration fee each year plus a $110 fee per exam. APs are $91 per exam without an additional fee. However, many schools have financial aid programs, so your actual cost could be lower. One thing to keep in mind is that while these fees may seem steep, they are much less than the cost of taking the equivalent course in college.
  4. Which program looks better on a college application? Colleges donít consider either program more impressive than the other. More importantly, colleges want to see that you challenged yourself in the coursework that was available to you. Some schools offer both AP and IB programs, and students have been able to participate in both. The bigger goal here is to partake in a range of subjects that challenge and prepare you for your future.

From offering college credit to becoming better equipped for a universityís workload, advanced course programs provide many benefits to students prior to enrolling at a four-year university. Regardless of the program you take, you want to be sure you can find a balance between managing college-level courses and your other special interests. At the end of the day, colleges seek well-rounded students that not only challenge themselves academically, but also participate in other extracurricular activities.

Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

Advanced Placement (AP) courses have been the main option for students seeking more challenging coursework than whatís offered in their school's standard curriculum. Yet in addition to AP courses, an increasing number of high schools are also choosing to offer International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, which also offer rigorous curriculum.

Both AP and IB programs give high school students the opportunity to earn college credit and become better prepared for higher education. However, each program's goals, subjects and exams will vary.

Key differences between AP and IB

Today, about 14,000 high schools throughout the nation offer AP classes to juniors and seniors. There are over 30 subjects available for teachers to include in their AP curriculum, including English literature, world history, calculus, psychology, and chemistry. To be approved as an AP course, The College Board must verify that the curriculum meets their standards. At the end of each school year, students have the option to take an AP exam. If their exam scores are high enough, theyíll receive college credit. In addition, these scores can also contribute to a studentís placement at some colleges, making them a competitive candidate.

IB courses are also offered to high school juniors and seniors, as well as some elementary and middle schools across the U.S. and throughout the world. But the IB Diploma program is a smaller program than the AP program, and is only offered at about 830 schools in the U.S. The IB program includes three core elements and six classes from various subjects, including Theory of Knowledge, a class that examines the nature of learning, an extended 4,000-word research essay, and a 150-hour community service project called "creativity, action, service." Of the six-subject classes students take, three must be Higher Level and three must be Standard Level. Like those who take AP classes, IB students can also take tests in the six subjects and have their coursework count for college credit if they achieve a certain score.

Should you take AP or IB?

There are a few things the student should take into consideration when deciding between either programs:

  1. What do you want to get out of the experience? While AP programs let students choose which courses they take, the IB Diploma program requires that students take certain courses to qualify for the diploma.
  2. Will your university of choice accept the coursework? More colleges accept AP coursework, which is nice for students who want get some of their coursework done prior to attending university.
  3. Can you afford the classes? AP courses are offered through public high schools, so you donít have to worry about paying to be in a private institution in order to enroll in advanced coursework. However there are fees associated with both AP and IB programs. IB exams are more expensive, with a $160 registration fee each year plus a $110 fee per exam. APs are $91 per exam without an additional fee. However, many schools have financial aid programs, so your actual cost could be lower. One thing to keep in mind is that while these fees may seem steep, they are much less than the cost of taking the equivalent course in college.
  4. Which program looks better on a college application? Colleges donít consider either program more impressive than the other. More importantly, colleges want to see that you challenged yourself in the coursework that was available to you. Some schools offer both AP and IB programs, and students have been able to participate in both. The bigger goal here is to partake in a range of subjects that challenge and prepare you for your future.

From offering college credit to becoming better equipped for a universityís workload, advanced course programs provide many benefits to students prior to enrolling at a four-year university. Regardless of the program you take, you want to be sure you can find a balance between managing college-level courses and your other special interests. At the end of the day, colleges seek well-rounded students that not only challenge themselves academically, but also participate in other extracurricular activities.

 

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