IB vs. Dual Enrollment: What is the better option for you?


Photo Courtesy of Pablo Herrera Ceja

IB students celebrate at their pinning ceremony last week. There are Pros and Cons of enrolling in the Diploma Program.

Desmond Ramirez, Staff Writer

As Greeley West begins the registration process for next year, students are looking at the multiple pathways they can obtain college credit as a high school student.  Two of the most talked about programs to get college credit are the International Baccalaureate program and the dual-enrollment classes.   The difference between the two is that the IB program is a two-year plan where students need to take tests and score well to get the credit.  The dual-enrollment option is just needed to get a grade of C or better to get the credit. 

There’s a lot of debate between which path to take. There are pros and cons of each pathway.

Senior Averie Loma is on her way to earning her IB diploma.  This means she is taking seven IB classes (three high-level classes, three standard-level classes and Theory of Knowledge). She will need to score 4 or higher on the exams, combined with community service and an extended essay score for the paper she completed earlier this year. Loma has organized herself in these past four years to be able to complete the program and meet its standards to maximize her college credit opportunities.  .  

“IB has helped me in many ways because of a lot of things going on at once,” Loma said.  “It helps me with my time management, which helps me balance everything sports, academics and the extracurriculars.”

Loma said the amount of work that needs to be done is a lot. It can pile up on you if you aren’t doing what needs to be done. Loma doesn’t let that happen to her; she does what needs to be done and she makes sure it’s with full effort. She understands what she signed up for and is committed to making it to the next level of education.

Loma said, “ At times it may be hard for someone to manage all of it at once, but as long as you find the system of when you need to get things done, to stay organized it may not be as hard as you think. The work itself may not be hard but it’s just the amount.” 

Loma has found the balance between IB coursework and she understands that it is going to be a challenge to score well on the exams in May.  But she is up for the challenge and has been successful in the program.  Passing the IB exam also means that students like Loma can earn credit at multiple different colleges.  

One of the biggest cons of the IB program is that you aren’t too sure what credit you earned until the test scores are out,  which is around July. Not knowing what you earned a month before college starts can make it uneasy for students registering as well as puts a certain amount of stress on the student’s test-taking ability.  

Senior Vanessa Vicente has earned at least 15 credits at UNC from just participating and fulfilling the requirements of the dual-enrollment classes she has taken.  These are classes like College Algebra, College Stats, College Research Paper and College Physics.  Taking this path without IB has Vicente confident about her decision.  “I would definitely suggest it, even now looking at it,” Vicente said.  “ I’m nervous about college, but I feel more prepared. Not just because I’m ahead, but knowing the classes I took were at the college level.”

Vicente is already working on a four-year in her AVID class and has already banked credits as she prepares for registration because she has earned a C or higher in each of those dual enrollment classes. 

Social Studies teacher Mr. Stephen Paulson, who also teaches a dual enrollment class called Mexican-American Studies, cares about it personally as well as professionally.  Paulson stated, “I have two boys at home. If they were to come to Greeley West, my opinion would be to choose the dual-enrollment program.”

Paulson elaborated and said he finds Dual Enrollment to be guaranteed credit in college as opposed to wishing for a test score.  “For my personal kids, I want them to amass as much college credit as possible while in high school. Their dad is a teacher and I don’t have that much money to pay for college and I don’t know how good test takers they are going to be,” Paulson explained.  “I am willing to take the pressure of taking the exam off of them, so they don’t have to worry about it so they can focus on getting that college credit.”

Dual enrollment not only earns you college credit while in high school, but the district also helps pay for the class.  The only way students pay for the Dual Enrollment class is if they fail it.  This  gives you a headstart going into college you can start as a second semester freshman or even start college as a sophomore. 

IB Coordinator Ms. Bridget Koehler, who teaches a social studies class in the IB curriculum,  discussed that the program isn’t just for college credit and why she believes it is vital to students to enroll  “The program is intended to be a full program that is supposed not just teach rigorous content, but also teach you skills for being in a 21st century world and transferring knowledge to real world situations.”

Koehler acknowledged that the workload of being a full-time IB student is a lot.  IB Diploma seniors take a full schedule of classes, have a high workload in those classes, and continually mentally push themselves to time manage and complete coursework.  

“The world that y’all are entering is fast paced and constantly evolving and the skills you get out of the IB program allow you to adapt to that ever changing world that is global, multi-cultural and there’s a lot of cultures, backgrounds, opinions you are going to work in,” Koehler explained.  . “The world you are going  into is unpredictable, which brings in the soft skills that are really important to success.“