IB Program + other questions

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Jordanwn, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Jordanwn

    Jordanwn Member

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    Hello,
    I came across this website today and found a lot of great information on the Academy, and I have a few questions of my own, so hopefully someone can help me out.

    I am a Sophomore in High School, and I have an absolute passion for flight. I have a student glider license, and plan on soloing a powered plane on this coming birthday.
    I have also always had a huge interest in the Air Force and military in general. So I put two and two together, and have become engulfed in the idea of attending USAFA. It has become a dream of mine.

    Because of this, I have been working hard to make sure that I am prepared for the application process and, hopefully, the Academy itself. I'm started pole vaulting last year, working on extracurriculars, and take a rigorous schedule at school of honors and AP classes.
    There is an IB (International Baccalaureate) program at my school that I am not currently a part of, and have thought about being a part of. Does anyone know how the Academy looks upon IB classes, and if they look better than an honors/AP schedule would look?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, along with any tips or other comments.

    Thank you!
    Jordan
     
  2. kalusafa

    kalusafa Member

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    Jordan, my son took the IB and along with his HS graduation, he got the IB diploma. He listed this on his app, and I would think it couldn't hurt in the whole candidate score. He just started his second semester, and he has told us several times that he thinks the IB classes really helped prepare him for the rigor of Academy academics.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    Awesome choice!

    Your definitely on track to admissions. I attend an IB school and am not on the IB track. I do a combination of dual enrollment and AP classes. While I'm going to do my best to avoid the AP VS. IB debate, I think IB is "earthy crunchy" in its approach to teaching. This maybe just my experience. If so, toss it out the door.

    Anyway, back on point. As far as admissions views the two programs, its 6 one way, half a dozen the other. Take the courses you want. One of the problems with IB is it requires a specific schedule, don't sacrifice taking the classes you want for the IB program.
     
  4. grtkidmom

    grtkidmom Member

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    Not all IB programs are equal.
    Verify what percentage of students in your IB program obtain an IB degree.
    How do the local colleges rate your IB program
    Where do a majority of your IB students attend college.
    Does your school offer full IB program or IB classes.
    Average college test scores for your IB program.

    Common thread of above is "your IB school".
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    How does the academy look upon IB??? This is "Part" of the million dollar question. You say you're a sophomore, and are looking into the IB program for next year. I assume that your school doesn't offer the Pre-IB program for 9th-10th grade??? Definitely not going to get into a debate here, but traditionally, AP classes were originally designed as a means of taking advanced subject matter in areas that you excelled in. And as such, even able to receive college credit for those classes. The IB program was/is more like the name applies, a "Program". The entire program is advanced classes. With the exception of maybe 2 electives, you have little to no choice on which classes you took. The IB program started "part" of it's infancy with the same concept military DODDS schools overseas, as well as other schools for American children overseas had. They had to standardize their education system, because they didn't have local state boards of education. And they needed to have an educational system that colleges and universities would accept high school transcripts from. But many local nationals; usually wealthy; wanted their children to attend these "American" schools also because of the quality. We're talking the very early infancy. Again, the IB program is a "Program".

    However; AP classes over the years have no longer been promoted as "Hey johnny, you're really good in science, and average in everything else; you should take AP Chemistry or whatever". It's now turned into students taking all these AP classes trying to get college credit. Nothing wrong with that; just that High School shouldn't be where a student tries to get college credit. College is where you should be trying to get college credit. Luckily; the air force academy doesn't give you college credit for anything prior. You could have a 4 year B.S degree, and the academy will still make you take the entire 140+ credit hours in 4 years.

    The academy does however, look at the IB program the same way Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and most any college does. But you have to realize that the academy does not and can not compare academic programs as if one is BETTER than the other. They just can't do that. How do you compare your IB program with little Mary over here who's school doesn't offer the IB program. (Remember; only about 500 schools in the country offer the complete IB program). Does little Mary get penalized and you get rewarded? Same with AP classes. Does your AP science count more than Johnny's AP math? Does Johnny taking 2 AP classes a year for 4 years count less than you taking ONLY AP classes every year?

    Do NOT take the IB program because you think it will get you extra points at getting into the academy. My son did the IB program for 4 years. It is an excellent program, but you better know exactly what you're getting into. Again, it's not some advanced classes. It's an entire PROGRAM that's advanced. Not only the classes, but there's something call CAS hours. Basically, you have to do "X" amount of hours of volunteer time. There's the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) which is like an 18 month long thesis paper. It's a COMPLETE PROGRAM. I know 4.0 students in the 9th grade who went through the entire IB program and finished with a 3.75. In IB, that is very good. And in most colleges, a 3.75 IB program; AND receiving the IB diploma (Not everyone gets the diploma); will trump a 4.0 Normal high school schedule. Many colleges not only award college credit for the IB diploma, but many will waiver your entire freshman year in college "IF YOU GOT THE DIPLOMA". My daughter didn't get the diploma, but she had almost an entire semester in college waivered. My son did get the IB diploma, would have had his entire freshman year at 2 different universities waivered. But he chose the air force academy. And of course, he doesn't get anything for the IB diploma at the academy.

    However; because the IB program is a "Program", it definitely has helped him in studying. Time management and such are much easier for him. Even playing football at the academy, he was able to have a 4.0gpa his freshman year at the academy. The IB program definitely made that possible. But he was doing the IB program for 4 years in high school. Also playing football, soccer, baseball.... as well as dating, etc... Could he do that if he only took it for 2 years like you? I don't know.

    And what about the academy. The academy wants to see that you took the most difficult classes available and you excelled at them. Will they consider the IB program higher than the AP classes. Probably not; because by you taking AP classes, you're also showing that you are taking more difficult classes. What you didn't tell us was your gpa. Obviously, not all of your classes are AP or honor classes. Are they all AP in science and math; or are you taking AP Art History and Latin??? The IB program has the advantage in that the academy knows what classes you are and will take. The kid in Moscow Russia in the IB program, is taking the EXACT SAME CLASSES as the kid in Cleveland Ohio; who is taking the EXACT SAME CLASSES as the kid in london and tokyo. "assuming they are all in the IB Diploma program and not just taking IB classes like some schools have". That's why it's the INTERNATIONAL Baccalaureate Program. AP; if you take the sciences, math, and such; and excel and keep your GPA up; will do you well at the academy. You don't need the IB program. The IB program is more demanding on time. 2-3 hours every night of homework; regular school exams as well as IB exams. The volunteer CAS time; on top of any personal life you might want. If it's just for the academy, I recommend staying with what you're comfortable with. Best of luck. mike....
     
  6. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    :eek: Wow - that's really incredible!! :thumb:
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Mind you I said "Freshman" year. He hasn't been able to maintain a 4.0. It's pretty difficult for anyone to hold that. 2nd year there most people say is the hardest academically. He's doing well, but no longer a 4.0.
     
  8. grtkidmom

    grtkidmom Member

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    Christcorp

    Excellent IB PROGRAM description. I agree with you, 4 yr IB is a program of advanced classes and without question instills excellent study habits. The course work is challenging, demanding and requires long hours. Like the SA's the student (not parents) need to embrace the challege and commitment required to be successful.
     
  9. pinkharley99

    pinkharley99 Member

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    CC that was awesome. I know our GC's could not have explained it like that and we are an IB high school!

    Jordanwn, Stick with AP. It will be plenty of preparation for post secondary education (whatever you choose)
     
  10. navy

    navy Member

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    Rigor. I have listened to numerous college admissions briefings and this was a common thread. My advice to any college applicant would be to take the most rigorous courses available at your school. I would also look at the application and the prerequisites of the schools that interest me, to ensure that your course plan meets these requirements.
     
  11. Jordanwn

    Jordanwn Member

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    Thank you all for your extensive input! It is quite helpful to me.

    My school does offer the full 4-year IB Program, and I chose not to take the Pre-IB for 9th + 10th grades. This was before I was even considering the Academy.
    At this point, I do maintain all A's, and I only have 1 AP class (AP World History), with the rest being honors, and 2 non-honors classes, 7 classes in all.
    If I do not go into the program, I will definitely be taking a good number of AP classes.
    I do understand that IB is a lot of extra work, and I am quite confident that I could cope with it and come out with a better GPA than I am averaging right now, and could next year because of the weighting for ALL classes instead of strictly AP classes.

    One of the major problems that IB presents for me is that without it, I do not have a chance of breaking the top 10% of my graduating class, and breaking the top 15% will be a challenge, even with great grades. The IB students have been receiving their extra weighting since Freshman year, and I only receive it for higher level courses that I take.
    Even if I decide to enroll in IB, I will not be able to be at the absolute top, but I do believe it would put me in a better position.
    If the goal here is to take the highest level of schooling available to me, it seems that IB looks like the way to go, because at my school it really does offer the greatest challenge to students. The IB students are still taking AP classes, and as was mentioned earlier, have TOK and CAS to worry about.

    I also completely understand the kind of preparation value that IB could have for anyone that enrolled at the Academy in ways of time management, studying, etc. That factor alone may be a good reason to join.

    If I am not accepted into the Academy, I know IB would also look great for any civilian college out there also. So there is value there too.

    As of this point, I'm leaning towards jumping into the program and seeing where it takes me. As long as I keep my GPA up, I don't see where it could hurt me, and it would definitely offer a greater challenge.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Each school is different. Our high school doesn't weight classes at all. So a lot of people shy away from the IB program. My son graduated with a 4.0; but so did a kid not in the IB program. As well as someone could who took only traditional classes. And the school would weight their GPA all exactly the same. In my son's class, there were 3 people ranked #1 in their class. All 3 happen to be in the IB program, but it wasn't because their grades were weighted.

    As for the academy, they take into consideration weighted GPA's. It is not uncommon for some people to submit a 4.2gpa to the academy, and have it come back as a 3.7 to put it back in line. That's where the school profile comes into play. Determining what classes are offered and what you took.

    If you want to do the IB program, that's great. If you choose to go non-IB, then I suggest that you take as many AP classes as you can and still maintain your gpa. best of luck. mike.....
     
  13. nbbgolfcmdr

    nbbgolfcmdr USAFA Cadet

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    In my situation, my school doesn't offer IB and I took AP English, Advanced Math Track, Advance Sciences Track, and my school's Honors Thesis / Speech classes. My school also doesn't weight anything until they decide who is valedictorian or salutatorian.

    I submitted a GPA of 3.82, and then had it reconfigured to 3.96 - that came as a total shock. I thought it was a glitch, but my counselor said that many times, they do reconfigure them to be lower because of weighted GPA's and other circumstances -- it can swing either way.

    I agree that it's whatever your school's policy is and how it matches up with the Academy's, but I would take the most challenging courses available either way. In my opinion, you can only grow, and you're right -- if the Academy doesn't work out the first time, you'll just be that much farther ahead.
     
  14. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    At the same time, a student in IB with a reconfigured GPA 3.7 might look better than a student not in IB with an original, unweighted GPA of 3.85 if the 3.7 student is top 10% and the 3.85 is only 18th %.

    That argument was used by many at my school. They said it was useless to weight grades, because colleges just un-weigh them anyway. But, in a system with weighted grades, a student with a 3.5 UW taking honors might be 10th%, and a student with a 3.5 UW who didn't take honors would perhaps be 25th%. It does make a difference.
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    brat; you are definitely correct. A 3.70 with the IB program or ALL AP classes is better than a 3.85 with traditional classes. And the academy knows this.

    I know that ALL OF YOU have taken our advice here and have been applying to other colleges/universities also. Look at those college applications. Many of them have the same 3 basic questions in the beginning of the application:

    1. Were AP classes or the IB program offered at your school? Yes/No
    2. If AP classes or the IB program was available, were you enrolled in those courses? Yes/No
    3. If AP classes or the IB program was available, and you were not enrolled in those courses; why?

    Now; when those are the first 3 main questions after personal profile, on many college applications, there's a reason. As brat and others have said; take the most challenging classes you can. But at the same time, know your limitations. Not just academically/intellectually, but also with time management. Yes, the IB program or taking night college classes in Quantum Particle Physics can sound really impressive. But if you don't have the time, or it's a subject you aren't good at; then a "C" in the class is worse than an "A" in Choir. Yes, a 3.70 in IB or AP math is better than a 3.85 in "Normal" math. But there is a bell curve to everything. A "C-" in AP Chemistry is NOT better than a "B+ or A" in "Normal Chemistry.

    Play the odds. Take the hardest and most challenging classes that YOU CAN EXCEL IN. If you know your limitations, then you can maximize the best classes for you. Best of luck. mike....
     
  16. Jordanwn

    Jordanwn Member

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    Thank you very much!

    I'm going to go talk to the IB coordinator soon, and discuss the possibilities further. I'll just have to see where it goes I guess!
     

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