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IB Students and Post-Secondary Patterns–How do they fare?

Rachelle Bernadel is the IB’s University Relations Administrator at the IB Global Centre in Bethesda, MD, USA. She is also an IB graduate of Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland.

As counselors and coordinators, I am sure you are always looking for more ways to market the IB as a strong program for post-secondary and life preparation. There is a never ending struggle when working with parents and students to help differentiate the IB Diploma from other college-preparatory programs and courses while still giving them the ability to choose what best suits their needs. This past January, research teams revealed new findings that can be particularly valuable for your IB arsenal. The study entitled “Diploma Programme students’ enrollment and outcomes at US postsecondary institutions 2008–2014” examines the postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and graduation rates of IB diploma seekers graduating from both public and private high schools in the US –comparing these to national rates. As parents and students think about enrolling in the DP, a few points of consideration that they find very influential is simply how will my student fare in respect to non-IB students and why is participation in the DP even significant for long term trajectories?

Below are some of the main findings that can help answer some of these questions.

For post secondary enrollment:

  • 92% of diploma students graduating from US high schools in 2008 enrolled in US postsecondary institutions between May 2008 and May 2014.
  • 78% of diploma students in 2008 enrolled immediately while, in comparison, the national rate of immediate enrollment was 69%.
  • 95% of all the DP students who enrolled immediately after high school graduation enrolled at a four-year institution while the national average of four-year immediate enrollment was only 60%.

For post-secondary retention:

  • The first year retention rate of DP students enrolled in four-year institutions was 98%, while the national rate was 77%.

For graduation rates:

  • The average four-year graduation rate of all DP students (both diploma earners and non-earners) was 79%.
  • The average four-year graduation for diploma earners alone rate increased to 84%.
  • DP students (both diploma earners and non-earners) have notably higher six-year graduation rates (83%) than the 2009 national average of 56%.

This is very encouraging data. With the increased emphasis on a post-secondary education as a pathway for positive life outcomes, knowing that the Diploma Programme sets a firm foundation to achieve this is reassuring. If you are interested in more Diploma Impact studies or what to learn more about this one, see the research page at http://www.ibo.org/en/about-the-ib/research/programme-impact-research/programme-impact-studies/diploma-studies/ .

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