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Tag: Admissions Abroad

Is IB the ticket to the Ivy League?

IB vs. CBSE vs. ICSE, which is the better board

IB vs. CBSE vs. ISC – streams

“We want to send our child to the US, so we put him in IB.”

Now is that logic really sound? And really, in the debate of “Which board to take you Abroad,” who emerges the victor?

In the last few weeks in particular, we’ve been meeting a number of students who have just completed grade 10. At this cusp in their High School journey, they are debating subjects, AND boards. Over the years we have noticed that there is a sudden demand of IB schools and curriculum. Many applying to universities overseas have an impression that IB curriculum is preferred over ISC/CBSE board and studying IB curriculum will get them easy access to those universities. Considering the fact that we have been guiding students successfully to overseas opportunities for over 15 years now, we can assure you with complete confidence that students definitely went to the best of colleges without IB as well!

Myth: Busted!

Now that we have refuted “IB for Ivy” Myth, let’s figure out why the Big Board Debate is a non-issue. The US education system broadly looks at 5 criteria before they offer you a place in their university

– School grades (and subjects): Some dependency on Board of Education

– SAT/ACT scores: No dependency on Board

– Resume: No dependency on Board

– Essays: No dependency on Board

– Letters of Recommendation: No dependency on Board

Result: 1 of 5 factors has SOME dependency on IB vs. ICSE vs. CBSE

See how little Board of Education matters in the grand scheme of things?

So if you’re an IB student with average grades and low SAT/ACT scores you will not get accepted into a great college anyway. Whereas, if you are a CBSE or ISC student with great school grades and SAT/ACT scores you do stand a decent chance to gain admission into a good university.

Moreover, when considering switching board in Grade 11, keep this in mind: The IB curriculum is very different from CBSE/ISC system in terms of its approach, teaching & learning style, therefore many Indian students find the board extremely challenging and demanding and not able to score high marks.

But we’ve been focusing on the U.S. What about those bound to the U.K.?

It’s important to note that colleges abroad very well recognize ISC/CBSE curriculum, except a handful of them who are still somewhat reluctant in admitting these students-may be due to their limited understanding of ISC/CBSE board (such as Cambridge University (UK), London School of Economics (UK)).

However, those are two colleges out of thousands. Over the last few years, we have students from ISC and CBSE board get into the top colleges –

– Stanford University (USA)

– Princeton University (USA)

– Columbia University (USA)

– University of Oxford (UK)

– Imperial College (UK)

– Singapore Management University (Singapore)

– University of Hong Kong & Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and several top ones.

In a nutshell, no doubt that IB curriculum is fantastic but attempt it only if you can nail it or else stick to our Indian boards, score brilliantly and secure admission to the best colleges abroad.

So next time if someone advises you to consider IB curriculum only because you are going to study overseas you exactly know what to tell them!

Why not India?

Why not india 2

Is it possible to have zillions of concepts in your mind but still be uneducated? Uh…?

Is brain drain after high school worse than brain drain after college? After all there are as many articles complaining about students who go for undergrad as IIT-ians and IIM grads going to US Companies each year! That’s true…

So does overemphasis on good grades and churning out Sheldon Cooper’s by the dozen mean that a system works perfectly? Or ensuring that there is overall growth way beyond just academic brilliance, a better approach to have? I’m not sure…

What about a system that gives immense scope for creativity and focuses on originality while giving you the freedom to pursue everything that your heart desires? Wait, this we have the answer to.

Because when it comes down to freedom and flexibility, this is where the Indian system lacks and an American education takes over completely.

Ever so often, we get clients that begin with the question,

“Why Not India?” 

As we look at Studying Abroad, there are those in favor and those against. While those in favor tout “Global Exposure” those against often talk of the high cost of education. But beyond that, there are a few clear differences between the different opportunities worth considering.

After completing the highly demanding and exceeding competitive Indian high school regime, the acceptable undergraduate options available to students in India can literally be counted on one’s fingertips. The popular options usually are Engineering, Medicine, Fine Arts or Commerce. Yes there are others and plenty more, yet the majority of students find themselves shunted towards these few career opportunities.

So you walk in to college with an idea with what you want and then you figure out that what you thought at 17 was the ideal career for you, isn’t the ideal thing at 19. Want to switch? YOU CAN’T!

Should have read the fine print…

You can choose only one course of study and you need to be sure about what you choose as it comes with a 3/4-year Lock-in period! If you realize after a year that you made a wrong choice, it comes with a penalty of the subsequent loss of years before you take on your new course.

Where the Indians tighten up, the Americans loosen.

The Indian education system is primarily academic driven and more theoretical based. Theoretical based because there is little or no emphasis on sports and other extra curricular strengths a student might have. It is rigid because if you are a mathematician with a flair and passion for playing the piano and want to find the mathematical explanations to the notes you play, you absolutely don’t stand a chance to find answers to this desire in the Indian system.

While Behold! The American education lets you do exactly that! So while you pursue a major in Mathematics, you can go ahead and minor in Music or vice – versa. You wish to study Psychology and expand your learning by studying Drama as well; just go ahead! And you finally get points for playing Soccer/Cricket as well! You have absolute freedom to study what you wish, any number of subjects you wish, as long as you have the ability to face the challenges and demands that come with pursuing such diverse areas. In between your college years if you want to change majors, the system displays flexibility on that front as well. A few questions asked though, but if you have the right answers, there is no one stopping you.

As opposed to the Indian way, the US education system gives emphasis to understanding through practical applications. It is driven by the ideal to encourage learning through thinking and not forcing it down someone’s throat.  It is driven by the principle that a complete education doesn’t mean having answers to all the intelligent questions all the time, instead focusing on your own strengths and striving to be the best in the fields where your interest lie and giving you all the resources to achieve your dreams.

But the US Education isn’t the be all and end all. There are considerations to keep in mind. Is the student mature enough to handle themselves far from home? Will they get lost in too much choice? If you are certain they want to study Medicine, why not complete your MBBS in 5 years in India rather than spend 8 years in the US?

Each student is different, but for those looking for an engaging and exploratory academic experience, the US is a destination worth considering.