Q: My son is in the 10th grade and we have been told by friends to consider the IB system. Can you shed some light on it especially compared to the AP system?

To begin with, each curriculum, be it American, British, Indian or French, has its own merit and there is no single ‘right’ curriculum. It is an extremely personal choice, unique to every student based on a host of issues, and can be different even between siblings. A lot depends on what your future plans are – what and where you want to study.

[Students at the crossroads: arts or technology?]

The International Baccalaureate is often considered the epitome of education and the greatest highlight of the programme is its international recognition and acceptance. It has three levels targeted to different segments that not only focus on academic achievement, but also on personal achievements. 

The Primary Years is geared towards the youngest age group, ages three through 12. The Middle Years is designed for children 11-16. It teaches students to create connections between their studies in school and the real world around them, educating them about the real world applications for what they’re learning.

The most popular of the three IB programmes is The Diploma, created for students 16-19, that works to further develop those who exemplify a depth, interest and thirst for knowledge. It is a rigorous holistic programme best suited for students who seek education to help them thrive not only mentally but also help with their physical, emotional and ethical wellbeing. IB is broad-based, holistic education and while being academically strong it goes beyond academia to include community service, research and extracurricular activities.

Individuals who participate in an IB programme tend to perform better than their peers as they are encouraged to have a natural curiosity and interest in learning, making them independently-driven youngsters. The IB offers students plenty of opportunities to participate in international educational programmes, facilitating admissions to top universities around the world. 

Both IB and Advanced Placement courses look good to college admissions officers, as it shows one’s dedication to learning and excelling. Both may earn college credits, allow you to skip some intro courses, and even graduate early. But if a student is looking to apply to colleges other than the US the IB course has a definite advantage, as it is internationally recognised.

AP courses are also very singularly focused, while IB is a complete, rounded curriculum. It nurtures important skills including research, critical thinking, writing, and time management.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor (sanjeev@intelligentpartners.com, www.intelligentpartners.com). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.