DP Curriculum Corner: 19/10/2018

Dear Parents,

Welcome to our new edition of the curriculum corner. It was lovely to meet with a number of families in our Introduction to the Diploma Programme meeting last night. If you were unable to join us for this session, please visit our Diploma section in the Parent Page on ManageBac for an overview of the presentation and documentation that you may find helpful in understanding the programme. I am also available for 1:1 family support meetings to speak in more detail about the programme in relation to your child.

For our students, this week has provided opportunities for our Grade 11 and 12 students to meet with University representatives from Europe and Canada, beginning discussions and reflections on  big questions such as where do I go to University? What would I like to study? In which language would I like to study? We will continue this focus in this issue of our Diploma Programme, looking particularly on opening doors into University and the world of work.

whihc ui

The Diploma Programme (DP) enjoys a high level of respect and recognition among the world’s higher education institutions. For students, success in the IB often results in advanced standing, course credit, scholarships, and other admissions related benefits at many universities.

Which Universities recognise the IB Diploma Programme?

In a typical year, DP students apply to more than 3,300 higher education institutions each year, in close to 90 countries, with many of these institutions ranked among the top universities in the world.

Will I need to take additional qualifications?

This varies from country to country. In the majority of cases, taking the Diploma Programme in English means that students do not need to take an additional English language qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL. Additional examinations called SATs or ACTs are required for application to the USA, and we work with specialist tutoring companies to support students in preparing for SATs and ACTs. In Italy, most Universities will require an entrance exam to be sat, although some Universities like Bocconi will accept U.S SAT scores in place of this.


What do I need to achieve in the IB Diploma Programme to be accepted to University?

As you may remember from our last curriculum corner, our students select to study three subjects at a Standard Level and 3 subjects in more depth at a Higher Level. The IB Diploma Programme is scored out of a total of 45 points, with 24 points being the minimum score to pass the Diploma. The 45 points are achieved through each of the six subjects, awarding a maximum of 7 points each and 3 bonus points awarded for performance in the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge. Although the CAS programme does not receive points, successful completion of the CAS programme is essential to pass the full Diploma.

point score

From a University perspective, institutions will often ask for a minimum entry requirement and this will vary from University to University and even between courses in a University. For example, Durham University in the UK will ask for a total point score of 36 points to study Business.

For some courses in certain countries, Universities will look for certain combinations of subjects and levels. For example, to study Medicine in the UK requires Biology and Chemistry to be taken at a Higher Level. Economics may require Maths at a Standard Level or a Higher Level, depending on the University with Universities such as the LSE in London looking for Higher Level. To study in Italian, Italian Universities are looking for Italian at a Higher Level.

As you can see, it is important that our students carefully select their choice of subjects to consider the requirements of certain countries and courses, and for those students who do not have clear ideas that we create an individual programme that keeps doors open.

How familiar are Universities with the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB works with the University community to ensure students get the recognition they have earned, as well as to examine and further develop our programmes to make sure we continue to offer the best preparation for university studies and life beyond. As a school, we make links with Universities and support them in questions they may have about the programme.

What are Universities looking for in general?

The latest annual survey of university admissions officers, commissioned by ACS and the IBO, highlights the top qualities universities will be looking for in applicants’ personal statements, in addition to academic qualifications.

  1. A positive attitude towards study

The DP shows that students are hard workers, determined and have developed strong time management skills. Alongside strong academic grades, the Extended Essay demonstrates how students have expanded their knowledge of a subject area by writing an academically rigorous research paper, similar to those at University level.

pos attitude

2. A passion for the chosen course subject

Independent extended interest in a subject through the extended essay and subject assessments goes above and beyond what is required in the classroom. A personal achievement and extracurricular activities through the CAS program can also help to illustrate this. Ultimately, passion and perseverance are qualities that are also highly sought after by employers, not just universities.

  1. An ability to think and work independently

These are essential attitude to learning skills that we develop in our students throughout the IB Continuum.

  1. An ability to persevere and complete tasks

91 per cent of university admissions officers look for evidence of these qualities in applications and Diploma students easily demonstrate this in coping with the demands of the programme, from both an academic perspective and a CAS perspective.

  1. An inquiring mind

Almost all university admissions officers look for evidence of an inquiring mind in student applications, a key skill developed through our Approaches to Learning attributes and IB Learner Profile

  1. Strong command of written English

By taking the IB Diploma Programme in English this is evident throughout our studies. In addition, students can also demonstrate their language skills across multiple languages and for some of our students, a bilingual Diploma will be awarded.

  1. An ability to work well in groups

73 per cent of university admissions officers have said they look for evidence of an ability to work well in groups. Many courses require group work, and universities will also want to see evidence of how students can contribute to the institution overall. This is an integral part of our learning here at ISC and students are well prepared to demonstrate this.


In our next Diploma Programme Curriculum Corner, we look forward to supporting families in their understanding of the IB Diploma Core: Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and CAS.

In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance,

Kind regards,

Nicole Pearce