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Should You Choose AP or the IBDP?

The good news is that both programs offer engaging and challenging coursework for students-but. What is the difference between AP and IBDP programs?

Should you choose AP or IBDP?

University/College Credit in High School

Many people know AP or Advanced Placement is a program that offers courses that allow students to earn college credit in high school. Less widely known is that the IBDP of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme also allows students to earn college credit. IB courses taken at the higher level translate into university credits at many North American Universities, and some universities even grant credits for subjects taken at the standard level. The number of credits awarded by each college/university is different and is located on individual university websites. Although not an exhaustive list, some examples can be found here > 

More than Courses

The AP is a collection of courses, whereas the IBDP goes beyond courses and offers a comprehensive program focused on critical thinking and global awareness. In addition to the courses students select, the Theory of Knowledge component builds critical thinking skills, a crucial part of university-level work and life-long skills. The IBDP also offers a 4,000-word essay project which prepares students with the research and writing skills needed for university. The Creativity Activity Service component of 150 hours broadens students’ horizons by building up skills outside the classroom and in their portfolios.

Broad Courses vs. Targeted

One consideration for students is the broad nature of the IBDP, which requires course selection across six areas. Although broad, students select lower and higher-level courses according to their talents and aspirations. Some students may prefer AP as it does not operate as a package. This flexibility allows students to pick and choose specialization courses. 

Stamford American School Hong Kong offers the best of both options, allowing students to take select IB courses to gain college credit in high school without committing to the full IBDP if it doesn’t suit their career pathway. In addition, students benefit from the CAS component and overarching IB focus on developing lasting skills such as resilience and globally mindedness.

Each child is as different in their career aspirations. Contact the admissions experts at Stamford American School HK to learn how our three graduating pathways can support your child’s future.