College Counseling, Preparing for Life After AIS

By Adam Lapish, IB Diploma Program Coordinator at Atlanta International School
We believe that planning for life after AIS should be an exciting and positive experience for students and their parents. After all, once students graduate, they become part of an elite group of 1,683 AIS alumni who are able to connect here in Georgia, across the US and on every continent in more than 22 different countries. A global network that allows life-long fruitful professional and social connections.

Every year, AIS graduates are accepted at top universities and centers of higher education, both in the US and abroad, in the last four years alone, our students have attended 148 different colleges. Internationalism is a central ethos of the IB and of our school, so we actively foster relationships with a wide range of admissions departments around the world, visiting and hosting both individuals and groups of representatives from universities in multiple countries. This ensures our students can find the best possible fit for them, whether that’s here in the State of Georgia, within the US or abroad. 

Our Diploma Program faculty work closely with our college advising team to ensure that students are fully prepared for the next stage of their journey, wherever it may take them. This past year, almost 30% of students applied to universities outside the US, most in addition to US colleges. The IB Diploma opens up the globe for our students when thinking about higher education destinations —whether that is highly selective universities here in Georgia and the broader US or world-renowned universities outside the US.

While we encourage each student to drive the college admission process themselves, our dedicated team and individual mentors are there to help them demystify it, and to support them in every way they can, from college list building, interview practice, college essay brainstorming and preparation to overall advocacy, ensuring they present their strengths and interests in the best possible light.

Of course, the greatest advantage of all when applying to college is the International Baccalaureate Diploma itself. Universities throughout the world recognize the breadth, rigor and independence of thought IB students possess, one reason why research* shows that DP graduates are much more likely to be enrolled at top higher education institutes than entrants holding other qualifications. 

Here is a recent snapshot of what admissions personnel in leading colleges and universities around the world think of the IB Diploma**: 

Emily Tomlinson, Director of Admissions, Christ’s College, Cambridge University, UK  
“The Standard Level subjects enable students to acquire complementary knowledge that can often be incredibly useful to them when they get to university—broadening the options they might have available to them. When students get to university what they’ll discover is that they are surrounded by people and ideas from all around the world and the international perspective they acquire while studying the IB prepares them really well for that … because of the curriculum they follow they already know that some courses will immediately play to their strengths and some courses might be things they have to work at, and if you are going to succeed you have to be able to be resilient.”
August 2019

Kevin Hudson, Assistant Director for College Opportunity at Princeton University
"IB is special in that students have an opportunity, especially if they pursue the full Diploma Programme (DP), to be involved with research and doing independent thinking. Whether it’s the extended essay or CAS, there is an opportunity to explore areas of academic interest and extracurricular interests. That is going to prepare them for the type of independent opportunities they have on a college campus to explore the variety of programming available at the university."
May 2020

Karen J’Bari, Senior Admission Officer, McGill University, Montreal, Canada 
"We welcome outstanding students from a variety of systems and would not favour any one! However, if the student were already in the IB programme and questioning whether all the hard work was going to pay off somehow, I would respond with these advantages:
  • The IB teaches hard work and time management, two key university survival skills;
  • The IB develops open-mindedness and intellectual curiosity which enhances your ability to learn, problem-solve and make vital social connections in the competitive McGill undergrad context;
  • At McGill, IB diploma students with strong final grades are eligible for up to one full year of advanced standing (a saving of time and money)!"
January 2020

Paul Teulon, Director of Admissions and Registry Services, King’s College London, UK 
“When an IB student applies to King’s we ‘re looking at a range of things … the IB programme takes the student as a whole and gets the student to think about all of their learning in the round rather than just looking at them as individual subjects; we have a large number of interdisciplinary subjects … and it’s important that students can think about this in this complex way.”
August 2019  

Shannon Gundy, Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions, University of Maryland
"One of the things that makes me most excited when I am evaluating an IB student for admission is reading what they have to say. It’s unfortunate that the ability to think creatively and critically and then write well isn’t always something that we see as a part of the college admission process. And that’s not necessarily the case with IB students. I think IB students are used to communicating their thoughts and being really thoughtful as well as being proficient in how they write. And it’s just more fun when you’re reading essays from students who put more thought and time into it and do it really well."
May 2020

*Based on IB Research:
**From the 'Universities Stories' series published by the IBO

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Atlanta International School

A private, non-profit, international, IB World School for grades 3K-12, featuring full and dual-immersion language programs.

2890 North Fulton Drive

Atlanta, Georgia 30305, USA