AP vs. IB

Parents ask us a lot of great questions about Advanced Placement vs. International Baccalaureate (IB).
Which program is most preferred by colleges and universities?

What is the difference between the two courses of study from a college preparatory perspective?

At St. Ursula Academy, we have studied the advantages of AP courses and testing versus the merits of the IB. We have listened to experts, to graduates, to professionals, and to college admissions teams. We have researched all the latest information on each. And the data always reaffirms our choice to offer AP

SUA is not alone in our decision. Every private and public high school in northwest Ohio, except one school, has made the same assessment on behalf of their students. And rather than dividing our efforts between two extremely different courses of study, we have chosen to invest in the program that is more widely taken in the United States and accepted by more colleges across the country. As a result, we focus all our attention on one program—and we make sure these courses are engaging, challenging and well supported.

Colleges across the country, including elite and highly selective universities, do not give an edge to either program. They want to know that the student has taken the most rigorous coursework that her school offers.

“At Miami University, our Admissions team looks for students who challenge themselves to the highest level of academic rigor that their school may offer, regardless of whether it is AP or IB, as there is no distinction.

St. Ursula Academy’s Advanced Placement program, along with SUA’s positive, supportive learning environment, prepared our three daughters for very successful college experiences at Miami and in their chosen careers. Additionally, each of our daughters was able to fully immerse herself in student life at SUA, which we believe is integral to a complete high school experience.”
Mark E. Ridenour, Chair
Miami University Board of Trustees
Parent of Stephanie ’05, Lauren ’07, Megan ’10

In short, we are confident in our choice to offer Advanced Placement (AP) to our students and we have the results to prove it.

We believe in the powerful impact of the our AP Program:

  • Far more students complete AP courses than complete the entire IB program. Students can measure their success and feel pride in meeting their objectives when they achieve a goal.
  • Passing an AP test ensures credit at more than 3,000 universities, including all state colleges in Ohio. 
  • Entering college with multiple credits means a lower tuition bill, more flexibility in class scheduling, and a potential earlier graduation date. A student can use AP credits to fulfill pre-requisites or electives, allowing her to progress faster in her college coursework.
  • Students can choose which AP courses to take, based on interest and ability. Each student can focus on subjects she plans to pursue in college, so she not only has a foundation for university-level courses, but she also knows her credits are applicable to her specific course of study.
  • SUA runs a wide array of AP classes, not just those that are most traditional. That way, we ensure students have the option of advanced coursework in the areas they choose.  It also means some AP classes have a student/teacher ratio as low as 6:1, which allows for individual attention. 
  • A student who takes AP courses also has the flexibility to enroll in electives, giving her a well-rounded schedule instead of being locked into a fixed IB program.
  • Although rigorous and challenging, an AP course schedule at SUA gives students time for extra-curricular activities, ensuring a meaningful and memorable high school experience. At SUA, we believe in caring for the needs of every student—primarily by offering her a challenging academic experience, but also by providing for her social and emotional well-being.

We are certain that our well researched decision to offer the AP experience meets the strong academic needs of our students and provides a solid foundation for their college experience.


Educational Advantages