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Why Study at an International School?

Are you a high schooler who is part of the adventurous few considering studying abroad for college? If you are, then great! Studying abroad is an exciting experience that can prove to be a great long term investment for your professional and personal growth. However, it’s not as easy as applying, getting accepted, and flying off to your dream destination. Did you know that where you go to for high-school and which program/curriculum you take can affect your chances of getting into your dream schools abroad?

You may or may not have heard of these international high school diplomas & certifications offered by international schools called: IB Diploma, AP Program, and IGCSEs. Or if you have heard about them, you might be confused as to what they are and what their differences are. And that’s fine. These programs are education pathways that few people in the Philippines follow (let alone know about). But, if you’re considering studying abroad, you should probably get familiar with these programs as they could be the best way to enable you to be accepted into the most excellent universities around the world!


Why Study at an International School? 

Taking on any of these programs can prove to be a mental and financial challenge. Not only are they difficult to complete, they can be expensive as well. The question is: is it worth it? Now that depends entirely on you. If you know you’re going to be studying abroad for college, then taking on any of these programs is highly recommended because they are recognized on a global scale and could help you be more attractive in the eyes of your dream university abroad. In fact, many graduates of international schools in the Philippines who have taken these programs go on to great universities abroad. The fact of the matter is, the Philippines is a small country and it’s unfortunately not always at the top of university recruiters’ minds. Having an internationally-recognized senior high school education could be that boost you need.

If you think you’re going to be staying in the Philippines, taking these programs isn’t highly recommended but it could still prove to be a worthy investment for you. Some universities in the Philippines recognize the IB Diploma in place of their entrance examinations, meaning you could be admitted into your dream university in the Philippines without taking an entrance test! Beyond that, these programs also cultivate character and intellect, which are indispensable traits regardless of whether you choose to study abroad or not.


The Breakdown of International School Programs
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) provides its students with an internationally recognized education. It is a two-year program often taken by students aged 16-19 years old, prior to beginning their higher education.

The IBDP curriculum is comprised of three core requirements and six subject groups. The activities of the core requirements and the various courses in the subject groups are all designed to foster a holistic and interdisciplinary way of thinking for its students.

The IBDP is recognized in 75 countries at over 2,000 universities. Hence, the IBDP is a good choice for students who plan on taking up their higher education studies abroad. While the high cost of the IBDP can deter many potential students, its capability to prepare its students for university and improving their college application marketability makes the IBDP a worthwhile investment for many.

Think the IBDP is for you? Here are some schools that offer them in the Philippines:



The Advanced Placement Program

The Advanced Placement (AP) Program was created by CollegeBoard for U.S. and Canadian based schools. This program provides high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses in a high school setting. AP courses are offered to students in their 11th and 12th year of studies. Thus, the AP program is seen as a good way of preparing students for university.

The AP Program offers courses in various disciplines, including the arts, sciences, maths, languages, and many more. Although the selection of courses may vary depending on the school offering the courses. There is also a relative amount of flexibility when it comes to AP because students can choose which AP courses they want to take, meaning they aren’t required to take all the AP courses.

The greatest benefit of the AP program is students are able to take courses that can be credited in their future colleges and universities. AP courses are also recognized in many universities all over the world, including the top tier universities, making AP a good option for those who are interested in studying at a university or college abroad.

Check out this school offering AP classes:

International General Certificate of Secondary Education  

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is a curriculum typically taken by students in preparation for their IB or AP programs. One should not be misled to think that the IGCSE is a “certificate of education” awarded after completing a group or series of courses. Rather, an IGCSE is awarded for individual subjects that a student takes.

There is great flexibility in the IGCSEs as there is a wide variety of courses from different disciplines to choose from. Subject disciplines include: Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences, Mathematics, Creative, Technical and Vocational. Most IGCSE courses are also offered in varying difficulty levels that students can choose from.

If this got you interested in the IGCSEs, check out this school that offers them in the Philippines:


In Summary
When do you take it
Effect on higher education
IB Diploma Grades 11-12 Whole program Attractive to many universities worldwide and subjects can be credited
AP Program Grades 11-12 Individual courses Attractive to many universities worldwide and subjects can be credited
IGCSEs Grade 10 Individual courses Preparation for senior high school and recognized in many universities


Camille is an 11th grade high school student who has previously completed IGCSE and is currently undergoing her first year of IB in the United Campus of AIS and MGIS. Her primary goal, in terms of her career, is to become an animator and, possibly, a video game designer in the future — she believes that through these aspirations she can make her imagination come to life and inspire people with them



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