College Placement…Increasingly Competitve

College PlacementIt’s no secret that university placement has become more competitive than ever. With application numbers rising and acceptance rates diminishing, high school students find themselves at a crossroads every fall during the torturous college application process.

“Did I do enough in high school? Do I have enough extracurricular activities? Are my grades and SAT scores high enough?” These questions, and so many others, are asked by students and families to guidance counselors throughout the process, and even when the results start pouring in.

Despite an emphatic “YES!” as an answer to each question, students still find themselves facing anxiety and even rejection, despite their best efforts.

EF Academy’s Director of University Placement, Ms. Marilee Jones, former Dean of Admissions at MIT, agrees that admissions has become increasingly competitive. “There is always a sense of urgency at this time of year. Every student brings something different to the table.

Standardized test scores are, and always will be, important. However, a strong transcript demonstrating that a student has taken the toughest course load offered will always be a huge component of any college application, regardless of where the applicant is applying.”

One of the rigorous curriculums mentioned by Ms. Jones is the International Baccalaureate Program. Focusing on collaboration and discussion-based lessons, the world-recognized IB curriculum is designed to encourage an organic, accelerated learning experience – no subject is taught in isolation. The unique breadth and depth of the diploma allows IB students to have a competitive advantage at the university level, with many universities giving candidates up to an entire year’s worth of credit for completion of the program. Recognized by prestigious universities including Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and Stanford, the IB Programme is the best collegiate preparation available at the high school level.
In terms of university preparation, applicants have consistently relied on SAT and ACT scores to help guide them through the admissions process. IB diploma candidates, on average, produced an SAT score that was 423 points higher than the national average; IB candidates also enjoyed a higher average score than the national average on the ACT.

In addition, according to the Global Destination Survey produced by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), American students who participated in the IB Programme were found to be more than twice as likely to be accepted to top universities in the United States, including Brown University, Stanford University, New York University and Harvard University. On the whole, students participating in the program had an acceptance rate to universities that was over 22% higher than the rest of the general population; at Ivy League institutions, this number was 3-13% higher. Past participants attest to the program’s rigorous nature, and the dividends that it pays as a result: “It is a great preparatory program, and the level of education and rigor offered by the program far surpasses that of standard high school classes… it’s important to take the most difficult curriculum possible. Colleges really look at that,” Jones noted.

Note: all statistics are available on the IBO website,; for specific questions about these results, the IBO can be reached directly at

EF International Academy is a private international boarding school for high school students. Located in Tarrytown, New York, the school is home to over 500 students from 60 different countries around the world. Set on the former campus of Marymount College in Westchester County, NY, the EF International Academy is recognized as an IB World School. Specializing in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, in addition to a New York State diploma, EF provides students with an opportunity to experience a boarding school college preparatory education within 40 minutes of New York City. EF International Academy aims to prepare students not only for future educational success, but as global citizens through knowledge and intercultural understanding.

For more information, please contact the Admissions Office at (914) 597-7241 or visit us at

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