School, parent, student FAQs

What impact will a student’s choice to pursue the DP have on college admissions?

The answer to this question depends greatly on the student’s performance in the DP and their post-secondary aspirations. Literally thousands of higher education institutions have published polices recognizing the DP—however, most also have minimum entry requirements. In some cases the courses students select while in the DP can have nearly as much impact as their overall performance.

However, evidence does show that DP students tend to go on to tertiary study at higher rates than their peers, are admitted more often to selective institutions, and tend to perform better in their post-secondary studies, including higher rates of post-secondary completion.

Is “recognition” the same as “acceptance”?

Not necessarily. A university may have a fair and comprehensive policy recognizing the achievements of DP students—however, they may still have very high minimum requirements for entry into their institutions. This is especially the case for very competitive universities. It is best to check the minimum admission requirements at the institution you are interested in to determine how a student’s DP performance will be recognized.

Does failing to earn the diploma make a student ineligible to attend university?

No, not necessarily. Many universities recognize students’ achievements in individual DP courses and in the core components. In some countries, DP achievements are seen in the context of curriculum enrichment rather than as the main means of admission. In others, universities give credit or tariff points for individual DP courses and also the extended essay and theory of knowledge courses. Students should check admission requirements with individual universities.

In most countries in Europe the official ministry recognition statement applies to the full IB diploma. The DP courses are not regarded as a complete secondary leaving certificate and therefore do not meet the minimum requirements for university admission. There are, however, many universities in the UK that will accept DP courses provided they are relevant for the programme the student applies to. Norway also accepts DP course results provided the full diploma has been attempted. In Africa and the Middle East there are also countries and universities that accept DP courses—for example Jordan and South Africa.
In the United States and some other countries, community colleges and similar institutions can provide pathways into undergraduate studies for students who fail to earn the full diploma.

Is there any advantage to taking four HL courses?

There may be an advantage for certain courses, but in the majority of cases three HL courses is sufficient for admission to first degree courses at university. Students should check admission requirements with individual universities to see if there is any advantage to doing a fourth HL course.

Outside of purely admissions considerations, taking four HL courses could mean a head start for students in their first university year and could contribute to advanced placement in the USA. Costs and benefits of learning and workload should also be considered.

What is the advantage to doing the bilingual diploma?

There could be advantages for non-native students applying to study at universities who require evidence of proficiency in the language of instruction. There are also the general benefits of demonstrating proficiency in more than one language.

Where can I find information about language requirements for university admission?

Each university has its own unique policy. For more information, please use the search tool in the left-hand column to select the country you are interested and then find the university of your choice on that country page to see their specific policies. It is always best, however, to check directly with the university of interest.

What is legalization?

In some countries, the IB document “diploma results” will not be valid unless it is legalized in Geneva, Switzerland, by the relevant embassy or consulate. It is the responsibility of the Diploma Programme coordinator to inform students of this requirement. The diploma itself is only legalized in exceptional circumstances when required. For further information, please contact

The only country to date that has required legalization of both documents is Argentina. Mexico and Egypt may also require legalization of both documents

For each candidate requiring the legalization service, the Diploma Programme coordinator should submit a request to the IB no later than 15 June for May examination sessions or 15 December for November examination sessions—about three weeks after the examinations. Legalized diploma results will be sent to the appropriate schools and normally arrive by the end of September (May sessions) or March (November sessions). The IB charges a fee for this service.

What is the relationship between the DP and German national requirements?

The agreement with the German authority KMK recognizes the IB diploma as equal to the national Leaving Certificate Abitur in providing access to universities, but only with prescribed subject and level stipulations. It is therefore essential that students are well informed of these before making their diploma subject choices. Generally German universities do not accept self-taught students, as the terms of accepting a student is that they have 12 years of full-time education according to the KMK Agreement. However, we recommend that you contact the university for further details.

Why does my university/college not accept my IB credits/grades?

Each university has its own system of accepting a candidate, so please check with the university first before requesting your IB transcript.

For assistance, please contact us.