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Preparation is key: Upcoming IB Association College Fairs, Questions to ask and more

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.

It is hard to believe that the end of the year is almost here! Counselors will be busier than ever helping their students prepare applications, admissions offices will be making the difficult decisions and of course some students will still be scurrying in and out of offices in panicked frenzies. But the key to alleviating some of the chaos is preparation.

Preparation comes from all three sides: the counselor, the student and the admissions officer. The secondary counselor must always keep in mind the needs of their students and seek out their best “fit” (see my last post). They can suggest colleges and universities that help students maximize components their IB Diploma or Certificate. This might include pinpointing institutions with a strong emphasis on service learning opportunities or even targeting schools that convey international consciousness on their campuses. My Good News Letter can help start the conversation with examples of colleges that do just that.

The admissions team should always study the population they are seeking to attract. It is important to take time to understand the IB Learner Profile and the students they will encounter while on the road at college fairs and campuses. Knowing the lingo also helps too! CAS, TOK, EE are all terms that IB students know extensively and when admissions officers are familiar with these, it builds an appreciation for both the institution and the IB program.

A well-prepared student is one that starts their college research early and is flexible while accounting for unexpected change. For example, change in financial status, change location or more commonly a change in major preference. Prepared students also are inquisitive and ask all of the right questions at college fairs and workshops. Here are a few good questions to share with students:

  • What is your IB recognition policy?
  • Are there study abroad preferences for IB students?
  • How do you measure civic engagement and service on your campus?
  • How would you describe your student body?

All of this said, let’s put this into practice by attending an IB World Schools Associations College Fair. I will post any others that arise on our Facebook page so stay tuned. It is never too early to start. Be prepared!

Texas IB College Fair


IBMA College Fair


Ohio IB College Fair


Feel free to share information this with your students and colleagues.

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