There may be some truth in the point that IB students may be more likely to get offers for many highly competitive courses than A Level students. This is because, in the current format, the IB qualification allows a distinction to be made between very good and excellent students in a way in which the A Level does not.
This has changed slightly with the introduction of A* grades for A Level but until universities fully decide how to use them in their offers the jury is out. University admissions tutors repeatedly comment to us that the IB students have, very obviously, followed a rigorous course which requires significant independent thinking and writing skills which are very much intune with those required at university.
Students have no need to be concerned that there will be no IB examination results from the end of the Lower 6th to declare on the UCAS form. It will mean that any prior achieved grades (e.g. GCSE, IGCSE) will have slightly greater importance and any interview or other testing will also be slightly more important to counter-act for the lack of L6th public examination results.
It also means that the evidence that the College is able to give for the predicted results is especially important. High quality Internal Assessment marks, progress test scores and internal end of Year 1 examinations are obvious points of reference. Our predictions will be a level for each subject and then a total points’ score ‘range’. For example, “We are confident that she will achieve a total points’ score of between 38 and 40 including the core elements.”
This is a very important point – our predictions need evidence. The dangers of over prediction are very clear. If we over-predict based on an unsubstantiated hope, we could do harm to a student’s application which will, perhaps, be seen as unrealistic.
In addition, it could be that some universities will respond by making higher offers than they might have done otherwise in order to require the student to meet these high predictions. Please do not seek to pressurise us to raise a prediction without providing us with the evidence! (the same issue applies to the A Level applicants).
As ever, all applicants must refer to the websites and to the prospectuses with great care. The offer is likely to be a total points score, say 38 including the core points, and also have a condition of achieving a certain minimum point score in the higher level subjects for example, ‘17’ or ‘6,6,5’. Whilst the England and Wales university system remains dominated by the A Level it may be the case that the IB student has to hunt around a little deeper into the website hyperlinks in order to establish the IB levels that are expected.
The IB has appointed, jointly with the IB Schools and Colleges Association (IBSCA), a university liaison worker to ensure admissions tutors are fully informed of developments.
Experience from recent UCAS cycles indicates to us that IB applications are extremely warmly received.
In 2012 the Higher Education Funding Council for England determined that 35 points was the critical grade boundary for IB students as far as universities was concerned. This was lowered in 2013, as was the A Level grade. At this level or above, the university was given independence on whether or not they admitted. An over-admit to a course would not resulting in a funding penalty to the university; it was purely a matter of whether the university could accommodate the student (see the A Level equivalent position). Student number controls were removed from 2015-16.