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Articles / Admissions / AP vs. IB for Ivy Admission

May 27, 2020

AP vs. IB for Ivy Admission

Question: Do Ivy League admission committees favor AP classes or IB classes? Could you please answer in detail?

Not too much "detail" required here. Elite-college officials are looking for applicants who have elected the most rigorous classes available to them. Application forms ask guidance counselors to indicate whether a candidate's course load is the "Most Demanding, "Very Demanding, " "Somewhat Demanding," etc. when compared to what is offered in that high school.


Many high schools offer Advanced Placement Classes or an IB Program. A few schools have both. Typically, students who purse either an AP-laden or IB curriculum earn the coveted "Most Demanding" label.

Admission officials don't prioritize one over the other, but you can check with your counselor as you make your class selections, if you want to be sure that your course load stays in "Most Demanding" range.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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