The International Baccalaureate program and the Advanced Placement program are inherently different.
As college admissions becomes progressively more competitive, parents are becoming increasingly more educated consumers of their children’s school programs and curricula in hopes of giving their child the added advantages now that will pay off in the long run. As a school that made the decision to transition from an Advanced Placement (AP) program to International Baccalaureate (IB), we are often asked how these two programs compare and why we have invested in the latter. We were authorized to begin delivering the IB program in the spring of 2008 and have gained much momentum and positive response from the stakeholders in our community. This position paper explains our IB program in more depth and why we feel it is a more valuable education and preparation for our students than a traditional AP program.
You might receive different answers to this question depending who you ask in our school community. If you ask our students, they will tell you it is a challenging but very rewarding and meaningful curriculum, more empowering than traditional methods. If you ask our teachers, they would probably explain that it is an approach that involves much more student ownership of learning and emphasizes critical thinking and communication of knowledge more than just memorization. If you ask a parent, they might tell you it is that program that gives their child a competitive edge in both college admissions and preparation that may even have some pay-offs in terms of gaining college credit.
IB is all of these and more- it is a program that emphasizes depth over breadth, with the philosophy that a challenging curriculum means understanding of the material in authentic applications, not just memorization of facts and figures. The IB program is comprehensive in providing students with exposure to advanced content in the various subject areas while also emphasizing intellectual skills and dispositions that transfer across subject areas and will lead them to success in whatever field of study they decide to pursue at university or in their careers.
There have been a number of studies undertaken to look at the success of IB students versus traditional college preparation programs. Acceptance rates of IB students at the most universities are higher than that for non-IB or traditional applicants, suggesting that IB students are respected and desirable to college admissions offices. Graduation rates at four-year universities of IB diploma students surpass those of the national average substantially, confirming that IB gives students the attitudes and skills necessary to be successful in college and beyond. This distinction is important in a time when grade inflation seems to be an ever-present concern and savvy parents and students are doing everything they can to polish off resumes and applications to get in the doors of universities. IB is not just about an impressive transcript, and colleges know that. They know that IB prepares students well not only for the rigor of classes and content, but trains students to engage in meaningful problem-solving and to be able to ask relevant questions and answer those questions creatively- skills not easily taught within the demands of college classes. They also know that students who complete IB programs are passionate pursuers of the “why?” questions, which is what generates new ideas and leads you to deeper understandings.
While we are a college preparatory school and make every effort to complete that task with excellence, we are cognizant that we are preparing our students for success now and in their futures beyond university as well. We believe that the IB program provides one of the most relevant curriculum to meet the demands, desires, and needs of the 21st century learner. Increasingly, what determines success is not how much information or knowledge a person has but how well they are able to use and apply it in new and creative fashions. The ability to learn how to learn is of value in a time when technology is allowing information and knowledge to expand at exponential rates and is a critical skill for any professional entering the workforce.
In the IB diploma program, students take six IB courses over their 11th and 12th grade years, one in each of the major academic disciplines. Students also complete an extensive research project, the Extended Essay, in which they choose a subject and topic of their choice and work with a faculty mentor to produce a 4,000 word piece of original research. IB diploma students take a class called Theory of Knowledge which asks them to think about themselves and their place as learners in a global society, making interdisciplinary ties between all the subject areas and gaining a better understanding of how each discipline works. Lastly, IB diploma students must complete The Creativity, Activity, and Service component that require students to not just be active learners in the classroom but to do so in their communities as well. The combination of two year courses and the three core components of the IB diploma program provide a much more comprehensive approach to learning than an individual class or course, producing well-rounded, reflective, knowledgeable, and caring students.
For more information, contact the IB Coordinator, Tiffany Phillips.
The Learning Resource Center is a fee-based program designed for students in grades K-12 who have a learning difference or need additional support. The Learning Resource Center assists students in establishing effective learning strategies while building on individual strengths and remediating any areas of weakness. Students can access the support of the Learning Resource Center receive small-group or individual instruction by specialists and tutors. The learning resources coordinator is qualified to read and assess psycho-education evaluations, Individualized Education Plans (IEP), and 504 Educational Plans to determine the breadth and depth to which St. Andrew’s can assist students with learning challenges.
Students with learning difference/disabilities are characterized as having average to above average potential for learning, but who for a variety of reasons have difficulty demonstrating achievement commensurate with that potential. Given the proper instruction and support, compensatory skills, and motivation, these students can begin to realize their potential.
The Learning Resource Center provides this assistance and supports students as they move towards self-sustained learning and independence. Services are available on a case-by-case basis. For more information, contact the Learning Resource Coordinator, Shannon Rossiter.
At the core of a college-preparatory experience is the college planning process. While the curriculum at St. Andrew’s is the highest preparation available in the coastal empire region of Georgia, a complete college application is nuanced beyond academic rigor. It includes extra-curricular participation, excellent written expression, strong interviewing and public-speaking skills, and demonstrated development of the student’s talents and interests.
College planning begins in ninth grade as you develop study habits that will prepare you to be successful in high school and eventually admission to college. As you begin your junior and senior years, you should endeavor to form your personal objectives and educational plans and, in consideration of these, to assess both your potential and performance. Having this clearer understanding of yourself and your goals, you will be better able to select those colleges which can provide an appropriately challenging and enjoyable environment for you.
Agnes Scott College
The University of Alabama
Berklee College of Music
Bryn Mawr College
University of California, Berkley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Denver
The George Washington University
Georgia Institute of Technology (Stamps President’s Scholar)
The University of Georgia (Honors)
University of Michigan
Mount Holyoke College
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Pennsylvania
University of South Carolina
University of the Arts London
University of Virginia
Washington & Lee University (Johnson Scholar)
College of William & Mary
Our students are consistently accepted at the colleges of their choice. Here’s a glance at
our previous classes!
St. Andrew’s welcomes college representatives to visit our school and meet our students. Our school day runs from 8:00 a.m. until 3:25. We will be glad to accommodate your schedule, but the most optimum times to meet our students are:
Monday-Friday at 10:00 or 1:00
All visits are held in the College Counseling Office. All visits are advertised through signage, announcements in class meetings and via e-mails to families.
To schedule a college visit, please contact Wendy Sutton, College Counselor at 912-897-4941 ext. 108 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff is a priority at St. Andrew’s. The educational journey includes not only cognitive, but physical, social, and emotional well-being. For students experiencing challenges in any of the key developmental areas, counseling and referral services are available.
The school’s nurse manages all health records (including medication administration and allergies), manages health issues as they come up during the course of the academic day, and leads the emergency medical assistance team.
Sponsored by St. Joseph’s/Candler Sports Medicine, the athletic training program supports the physical health of student-athletes. The athletic trainer is available at athletic events and assists student athletes. The physical education department also addresses observed challenges associated with coordination, endurance, flexibility, and physical development.
The school employs a guidance counselor as a resource for social and emotional developmental concerns for students, faculty, and families. The counselor makes referrals to off-campus professionals and agencies as needed. The counselor focuses on the discovery and management of feelings, promotes evaluative thinking and sound decision-making skills, and encourages considerate and civil treatment of others. The Deans of Students act as managers of the advisory program, the school’s character curriculum, and the nationally recognized bullying-prevention program.