Our Programs

    Q: How do colleges and universities view the International Baccalaureate (IB) program?

    Q: What are the requirements of the IB? How are students assessed?

    Q: What is the philosophy of the IB? What are the goals for participating students?

    Q: Is the IB right for me/my child?

    Q: Do all students at Friends receive the IB diploma?

    Q: How are students selected to take IB courses?

    For more background information about the IB, visit the IBO website at www.ibo.org; for more information about the IB program at Wilmington Friends, please contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, 302.576.2930, or admissions@wilmingtonfriends.org.


    Q: How do colleges and universities view the International Baccalaureate (IB) program?


    The IB diploma is internationally recognized as representing one of the highest standards--indeed, it is often recognized as the highest standard--in college preparatory education. IB is consistently weighted in college admissions and in the awarding of college credit for course work. More than 1,000 colleges and universities in North America have written policies on how they weigh IB. (The information below is drawn from materials on the International Baccalaureate Organization web site, www.ibo.org.)

    Sample quotations from universities on the IB

    Christoph Guttentag, Duke:
    “We know the quality of IB courses, and we think the IB curriculum is terrific.” 

    Marlyn McGrath Lewis, Harvard:
    “IB is well known to us as excellent preparation. Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard.”
    “GPA is not nearly as important a factor in university admission as the IB Diploma. If a student has to choose, choose the Diploma over protecting the GPA.”

    Eugene Carson, Virginia Tech:
    “. . . IB students who attended that university [Virginia Tech] as freshmen significantly outperformed all other freshmen, including students who had taken Advanced Placement courses.”

    The College of William and Mary:
    “William and Mary recognizes the International Baccalaureate program as extremely rigorous; the best possible preparation for both college work and life in the twenty-first century. In addition, we feel that the hallmarks of the IB experience - an international perspective, an interdisciplinary approach to learning, a commitment to service, and an emphasis on critical reading and analytical writing - are also the hallmarks of a William and Mary education. We encourage completion of the full IB diploma and will give special consideration for admission to students who have done so. We also award credit based on IB higher-level examinations.”

    University research about the IB

    Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) Report:

    The report, which analyzed the alignment of the IB Diploma Programme standards and the Knowledge and Skills for University Success (KSUS) college-ready standards, found IB standards to be “highly aligned with the KSUS standards.” In particular, the key cognitive strategies emphasized in IB—critical thinking, intellectual inquisitiveness and interpretation—were found to be fully aligned with the expectations of university faculty. In math, complete alignment was found between the IB Diploma’s mathematical studies and the KSUS’ algebra, trigonometry and statistics standards. In science, the 47 IB chemistry standards, 19 biology standards and the concepts of environmental science embedded in all three IB science courses aligned completely with KSUS. 

    University of Florida survey of students studying Chemistry, Mathematics and English:

    Of the 58.3% of students that scored a "B" or higher in Chemistry, 91.7% of the students were IB students. In other subjects, too, IB students consistently showed higher performance. 

    Virginia Tech survey:

    Survey included 3688 students that were non-IB students, 647 students who had taken AP courses, and 100 IB students, and focused on the percentage of students who obtained a GPA above 3.0 after four semesters. Non-IB: 33%, AP: 41%, IB: 88%. 


    Among the colleges and universities in the United States—there are many more around the world—that have policies granting credit for IB course work:

    Amherst College
    Bowdoin College
    Brown University
    Bryn Mawr College
    California Institute of Technology
    Columbia University
    Cornell University
    Dartmouth College
    Davidson College
    Dickinson College
    Earlham College
    Emory College
    Georgetown University
    Gettysburg College
    Goucher College
    Harvard University
    Haverford College
    James Madison University
    The Juilliard School
      Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Ohio State University
    Ohio Wesleyan University
    Pomona College
    Pepperdine University
    Princeton University
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Rice University
    School of the Arts Institute of Chicago
    Stanford University
    University of California-Berkeley
    University of Chicago
    University of Delaware
    University of Michigan
    University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Virginia
    Vanderbilt University
    Yale University

    Q: What are the requirements of the IB? How are students assessed?


    The IB Diploma Programme requires all students worldwide to fulfill specific requirements during their 11th and 12th grade years. Students pursue concurrent studies and sit for end-of-year exams in six academic areas, broadly defined as: "language A" (generally, the student's first language), second language, individuals and societies, experimental sciences, mathematics, and the arts. Within those six areas, students must take three two-year higher-level (HL) courses, one two-year standard-level (SL) course, and two one-year standard-level (SL) courses.

    The IB exams are designed as external standards that support, rather than constrain, effective teacher-guided instruction; for example, students have some choice about which exam questions to answer, giving teachers flexibility to approach a subject in the way that best suits their students and school. Exams are evaluated by the regional IB examiners, and count for about 75% of the overall IB score. The remainder of the IB score is based on an internal assessment administered by the teacher, based on guidelines provided by the IBO for each discipline. Each school sends sample work from the internal assessment to the IBO for each academic area, providing an external standard of excellence and accountability for our teachers.

    In addtion, all IB diploma students must take the Theory of Knowledge course, complete an Extended Essay (independent research paper), and engage in activities (creativity, action, service) that complement their academic experiences.  Please click for additional details about these IB program requirements.

    Q: What is the philosophy of the IB? What are the goals for participating students?
    A principal reason for Wilmington Friends becoming an IB school, and going through the rigorous authorization process so smoothly, is that the philosophy of IB aligns very well with the philosophy of the school. Description of the IB philosophy and program (from www.ibo.org):

    The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. IB learners strive to be:

    • Inquirers
    • Knowledgeable
    • Thinkers
    • Communicators
    • Principled
    • Open-minded
    • Caring
    • Risk-takers
    • Balanced
    • Reflective

      Click to read the full IB "Learner Profile."


    Q: Is the IB right for me/my child?

    The IB's academic expectations are within the grasp of the majority of students at Wilmington Friends School. The program is designed, as the IBO states, for students who are "highly motivated," and probably the most important consideration is whether an individual student demonstrates and operates at a high level of motivation and organization.

    Q: Do all students at Friends receive the IB diploma?

    No. Many students, including some who are extremely capable, choose not to pursue the IB diploma, although they may choose to enroll in individual IB courses. 

    Q: How are students selected to take IB courses?

    Any student may enroll in an individual IB course and, upon successful completion, receive IB certification for that course. To participate in the IB Diploma Programme, a student must go through an application process that involves his or her advisor, the grade-level team, parents and the WFS IB coordinator.


    For more background information about the IB, please visit the IBO website at www.ibo.org.

    Wilmington Friends School
    101 School Road, Wilmington, DE 19803