US Admissions Officers Survey

I read this in the New York Times this morning.

‘Independent thinkers’ sought by many schools

According to a survey of British and U.S. admissions officers, universities are looking for “independent thinkers.”

The research, conducted by ACS International Schools, which has three schools in Britain and one in Qatar, is carried out to measure the value of the International Baccalaureatediploma. The study was released July 6 to coincide with the day that I.B. diploma results were announced worldwide.

The survey found that 29 percent of U.S. admissions officers valued a demonstrated capacity for “independent inquiry” above any particular exam result. The next most sought-after quality was “in-depth subject expertise,” cited by 25 percent of respondents.

“American universities are looking first and foremost for students able to challenge conventional thinking and want to see clear evidence of this above all else in the qualifications and written submissions they receive from university applicants,” said Jeremy Lewis of ACS International Schools.

The survey also found that applications to U.S. universities have held up despite the economic downturn, with two-thirds of admissions officers in the United States saying that the number of incoming freshmen was better than expected. This contrasts with the response from Britain, where tuition fees have tripled and where only a quarter of admissions officers said that application numbers exceeded expectations.


The International Baccalaureate is an excellent curriculum for providing those two characteristics (in bold) that university admission officers are looking for. I had never heard of ACS International Schools. They have four schools, three in the UK and one in Qatar, that uses a hybrid of the IB and British schooling models.

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