Why the University of Rochester Loves IB

While there are many elements of the International Baccalaureate program that we appreciate, we feel that there are three reasons UR and IB are a great fit for each other:

1) IB features a broad and deep curricular exploration of the intersections between disciplines.
We place a great deal of faith in the reasoning behind the academic and curricular decisions IB students will make in college. We know how deeply you explore each subject area, and that your teachers encourage you to understand what those subjects have to do with each other. Students at Rochester are encouraged to study the intersections between subjects through our unique curricular structure. Consider the student who was moved to action by the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake and now wants to join Doctors Without Borders in an effort to provide better medical care there. She'll need to understand French, medicine, and gain a sensitivity for a culture very different from her own. At Rochester, this student could major in biology, pursue a pre-med track, while clustering, minoring, or even majoring in French and medical anthropology. Interdisciplinary study within each of the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities will prepare this student to meet the challenges she hopes to affect head-on. As an IB student, you get that better than most.
2) IB provides you with opportunities to demonstrate intrinsically-motivated, self-directed learning through research.
The University of Rochester is a research university. Research universities support professors and graduate students who are primarily dedicated to contributing new knowledge in their disciplines. But at the U of R, this experience extends to a huge number of undergraduates as well: 77% of whom will engage in research before they graduate. IB students who have done the extended essay understand what we're talking about when we say "research." We find this experience so valuable and interesting that we've amended our Common Application supplement to ask you to tell us the title of your extended essay. Successful college applicants are able to distinguish themselves from the thousands of other students who are applying; you are all unique and different and we just want to learn what kind of unique and different you are! Your extended essay is a big part of that difference, and it's something only students in IB can share. Furthermore, the topic of your essay is something you chose because it is meaningful to you. You'll need to make some important decisions in college, particularly within a student-driven experience like Rochester. Evidence of having made an informed academic decision and seeing it through to completion is evidence to us of a student who can handle the responsibility we give our students. 
3) IB is more than a test.
Yes, you are tested. And we are glad that you are. We find value in tests that illustrate to us competency in an area of study, and that can help you advance along the academic path of your choice in college (read about our test flexible admissions policy here). But your exams are more than a tool to help you get into college. We don't even know your higher level exam scores until you've already applied, been accepted, and enrolled in a college! We like to see your SL scores if you have them, and we like to see your predicted scores, but we like so much more about the program than your scores. They are the culmination of so many individual efforts; only the tip of a very complex and interesting iceberg (a tip which, to reiterate, we don't factor into the admissions process). IB has a texture that aims to help its students not only explore subject matter, but explore learning itself. 
So in sum, we think you're great. Keep us in mind as you look ahead to the four years after college, and we look forward to meeting you on the road or on campus!

About the author

Davin Sweeney

I'm the Regional Associate Director of Admissions for the New York Metropolitan Area. I also work as the Office of Admissions' liaison to all things related to the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. So keep your eyes tuned to this page for information pertinent to those in IB or those from the New York Metro Area. I look forward to meeting each of you soon!

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