I think it’s safe to assume we can all agree that college is extremely expensive and the amount of student loan debt is increasing. However, there are many ways to cut the cost of college.
The majority of high schools offer rigorous classes to students. Now, it’s very common to take these college level equivalent courses and receive credit at universities. Some of the options include Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), Advanced Placement courses (AP), College in the Schools (CIS), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or International Baccalaureate (IB).
At most Minneapolis Public Schools, there are IB classes available.
At Washburn High School, we offered the IB Diploma Program, which is the pathway I chose to take. The full IB Diploma consists of three Higher Level (HL) courses and three Standard Level (SL) courses in six different subjects.
At the University of Minnesota (note: every school is different), IB Diploma award winners have the opportunity to receive credit for all six subjects, whereas students who only take separate IB classes can only be awarded credit for HL classes. However, even with the full IB Diploma, you must receive at least 30 total IB Diploma points to be eligible for credit in SL classes.
If this requirement is met, the student can receive up to 8 credits for each HL class with exam grades of 5-7 and two credits for each SL class with exam grades of 5-7. If not, the credit given for the full diploma would be equivalent to a student who only took three HL classes.
I was very fortunate to have received 30+ Diploma points overall. Although I scored well on my exams, I did not receive the maximum amount of credit because of my choice in classes. Since I took IB HL Spanish 6 as one of my three higher level courses and the University of Minnesota doesn’t accept any language credit, I did not receive 8 credits. I met the requirements for IB SL Environmental Systems and Societies, as well as IB Theory of Knowledge; however, no classes existed that directly connected or related to these subjects so no credit could be awarded.
Another factor is the transfer process took an extremely long time and the results went through after I registered for classes. My official IB transcript was requested by the IB Diploma Program Coordinator at my high school and then sent directly through IB to the University of Minnesota. It still worked out well because I was able to access my online results before my meeting with my advisor and therefore was placed into the right courses.
Additionally, the University of Minnesota requires their own placement tests for math, physics, chemistry and languages. I took the Entrance Proficiency Test (EPT) and performed well. Then I took the Language Proficiency Exam (LPE). I was able to test out of the Liberal Arts Second Language Graduation Requirement and into the third year of Spanish.
After speaking with a few friends at the University of Minnesota, I think each situation is different because I’ve heard varying stories about the whole process of transfer credit. I have two friends who attended other Minneapolis Public Schools and went through the entire Diploma Programme, but they didn’t get more than 30 points. I also have friends who met the IB Diploma Program requirements from Washburn, but who still haven’t been awarded their credit yet because their official transcripts haven’t been sent yet.
Overall, I consider myself extremely lucky compared to a few of my classmates. Regardless of your situation, as you are making choices about your plans after high school, it’s important to understand how each college/university gives credit for IB courses (or the other courses mentioned, such as AP, PSEO, etc.) You want to get credit for the all the work that you put in during high school!