International Baccalaureate Program

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The International Baccalaureate program is based on the concept that secondary education should promote the development of the lifelong skills of critical thinking, communication, and integration of the information through an in-depth study of the major areas of knowledge.

The IB Program at Mercyhurst Prep provides Lakers with a worldview education that encourages an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, languages and points of view. This philosophy of education leads to inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. The IB program at Mercyhurst encourages students to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people with their differences can also be right.

  • Our IB students surpassed the National SAT average by almost 334 points!
  • Our International Baccalaureate students surpass the world average IB as well!
  • Mercyhurst is one of 3,290 schools in 141 countries around the globe who are part of the prestigious International Baccalaureate Organization. There are 969,000 students participating in the IB Program world-wide. The IB program is based on the concept that general education at the upper secondary level should promote the development of the lifelong skills of critical thinking, communication, and integration of the information through an in depth study of the major areas of knowledge. Successful completion of the program earns for the student a diploma/certificate recognized for university admission and for course credit at many colleges and universities throughout the world. The IB’s greatest value, however, lies in its intrinsic worth as a challenge and a symbol of the greater achievement to which the student has aspired.
  • Quality universities are asking: “Are you an IB student or an AP student?”
A group of talented, forward-thinking teachers at the International School of Geneva, with assistance from several international schools, created the IB Diploma Program in 1968. What started as a single program for internationally mobile students preparing for university has today grown into four programs for students aged 3 to 19. There are 3,290 schools in 141 countries offering the IB program to 969,000 students worldwide. Mercyhurst Prep is the region’s premier IB school.
Families and educators respect the quality of its curriculums and assessments, challenging coursework and its successful pedagogical practices.   The IB program also offers rich opportunities, including college credits for post-secondary studies. Most importantly though, the IB program meets the need for intercultural awareness in our changing world and encourages students to become active, life-long learners. Lakers who earn an IB Diploma develop a greater understanding for and appreciate differences in people, allowing them to succeed in a global economy.
IB is an international and comprehensive diploma program, rather than a national program where students may choose to enroll in a few selected courses. IB students are engaged in a philosophy of education that values more than a collection of facts and teaches students how to learn and promotes a love of learning. Educators note that IB students tend to ask more challenging questions and develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture. They also develop superb writing skills and the ability to communicate and understand people from other countries and cultures.
The IB Diploma Program is a challenging two-year curriculum that is widely recognized by the world’s leading universities. Recipients of the IB diploma earn automatic standings at some of the most selective colleges and universities. One MPS graduate who earned an IB diploma entered Harvard as a sophomore! Students are well prepared for college course work and can earn up to 30 college credits. Studies show that students from IB high schools consistently attain higher GPAs and graduation rates in colleges and universities.
In addition to the tangible benefits of substantial scholarships, university credits, advanced placement and a dual diploma, IB students learn a far greater understanding of the global economy and many seek global opportunities. Recent Laker graduates have studied in China, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Morocco among other places.

  • Earns course credits at many colleges and universities worldwide, potentially resulting in substantial college tuition savings.
  • Average university/college acceptance rate 22% higher than the average acceptance rate of the total population.
  • MPS IB students regularly surpass the National SAT average by 334 points.
  • Exceptional preparation for university work.
  • A curriculum consistent throughout the world with transferrable credentials — many countries andprovinces do not recognize high school diplomas.
  • Experience conducting independent research.
  • Bilingual skills to converse in a language other than a Laker’s native tongue.
  • International perspective prepares Lakers for living and working abroad.
  • Focus on analysis, synthesis, comparative inquiry, logic, responsibility, and morality.
Lakers complete six courses in these subject areas: humanities, history, math’ science and two languages. Additionally, they are required to craft an extended 4,000 word essay; investigate a topic of individual interest using independent research and writing skills; complete Theory of Knowledge (TOK) – an interdisciplinary course exploring specific areas of knowledge that involve language, reason, emotion and perception. In addition to coursework, service work is required (Creativity, Action, Service). Lakers can aspire to earn certificates in one or more subject areas or strive for the complete International Baccalaureate diploma.

Compare AP vs. IB

AP vs. IB
Canned, rote memorization   Fosters critical thinking
Regurgitation of information   Students write and speak with proficiency
Little thought process   Students can apply concepts and creative thinking
Little retention with little connection   A cerebral approach to learning
Based solely on an exam   Based on classroom work and an exam
Teachers work independently   Teachers work as a team across the curriculum
Focus on 1 or 2 academic disciplines   Focuses on all academic disciplines and promotes a well-rounded education
    Students speak more than one language
    IB coursework is comparable to college level learning
    Promotes open-mined, intercultural understanding, and respect

IB FAQs

How many schools/students participate in the IB program?
There are 3,290 schools in 141 countries authorized to offer IB program.There are 969,000 students participating in the IB Program world-wide.

Why is the International Baccalaureate considered a better education?
According to various universities and colleges, International Baccalaureate is a better education because:

  • It is a diploma, not a set of discrete exams
  • The exams are almost always essay
  • There is a requirement of six exams across the curriculum
  • There is a required 4,000 word extended essay
  • There is a required course called Theory of Knowledge

What can be earned by obtaining an IB Diploma?

  • Substantial scholarships
  • University credits
  • Advanced placement
  • Both an IB Diploma and a Mercyhurst Prep Diploma
  • Global Opportunities. Recent graduates have studied in China, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Morocco among other places

What are the core requirements of obtaining an IB Diploma?
Extended 4,000 word essay – students investigate a topic of individual interest using independent research and writing skills · Theory of Knowledge (TOK) – an interdisciplinary course exploring specific areas of knowledge that involve language, reason, emotion and perception
Service (CAS) creativity, action, service – students are encouraged to delve into the arts, sports and community service

Can you give some colleges and universities that give credit for successfully completing IB courses?

Allegheny College
Boston College
Brown University
Bryn Mawr College
Boston University
Bucknell University
Carnegie-Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
College of Wooster
Cornell University
Dickinson College
Drexel College
Duquesne University
Gannon University
Georgetown University*
Harvard-Radcliffe University
Indiana University
Juniata University
Lehigh University
Mercyhurst College
Ohio State University
Penn State University
Rochester Institute of Technology
St. Bonaventure University
State Universities of New York
Syracuse University
Universities of California
University of Cincinnati
University of Dayton
University of Michigan
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania-Philadelphia
University of Pittsburgh
University of Virginia
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

* Will accept IB credit from diploma holders only

IB Program Requirements

With IB Earn:

  • Substantial scholarships
  • University credits at a U.S. or international university
  • Advanced placement
  • Both an IB and a Mercyhurst Prep Diploma
  • Global opportunities (Recent graduates have studied in China, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Austria, Scotland, Morocco among other places

Students may also pursue IB Certificates in individual classes as well as honors and college prep curricula!

Basic requirements:

  • Language A – English
  • Language B – French or Spanish
  • History, Psychology
  • Experimental Sciences (1)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics: methods or studies

One of the following:

A.  Art/Design
B.  Photography
C.  Music
D.  Drama
E.  A second choice under B, C, or D
F.  Special course designed by MPS:

Religions of the World
Art History

Additional requirements (diploma candidates only):

  • Course in Theory of Knowledge
  • 4,000 word essay in one of six subject areas
  • Artistic, creative, and social service activity

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