Most Demanding Programs

DHS has offered Advanced Placement (AP) courses since the 1990s, but starting with the graduating class of 2014, we also offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Both AP and IB classes are part of a criteria some college applications use known as "Most Demanding Program."

DHS counselors are often asked whether they recommend AP or IB courses. It really comes down to what the individual student needs and/or wants. Please review the A.P. and IB considerations in below as you plan your high school courses and think about college applications. The Canvas link below is a dashboard for all things AP and IB: courses, deadlines, calendar, etc. 

The following information will also be helpful as you pursue the best course of study for your 9th-12th grade student:


Canvas - AP/IB Dashboard 

Program Demands/Designations

Program Designations

In terms of college admissions, it often doesn't matter which route students choose. Typically, college applications ask guidance counselors to indicate whether a student's academic program is "Most Demanding," "Very Demanding, "Somewhat Demanding," etc. when compared with what else is offered at the school. These are the standards for students to earn the "Most Demanding" designation at DHS:

  • DHS students who've earned credit in six AP courses that DHS currently offers, in addition to four years of a world language, will earn the "Most Demanding" designation.
  • Students who complete the full IB Diploma Programme, will also earn the distinction of "Most Demanding."
  • Students who take a combination of 6 IB (HL) courses and AP courses, plus the fourth year of a world language, will also earn the "Most Demanding" designation.

It is important to note that unless a student falls into a special category (recruited athlete, underrepresented minority, VIP, legacy, etc.), often times the students within the "Most Demanding" category are the ones that get serious consideration at the most competitive colleges such as the "Ivy League" schools. 

If earning the "Most Demanding" designation is important to you, please check with your high school counselor to make sure that your course selection meets the criteria. In either case, before you commit to either route, be certain that you understand what the complete IB program entails in terms of course selection, time commitment, etc. Your high school counselor or the IB coordinator at DHS can explain how IB works.

College Credit Transfers

University Credit Transfer Policies

Another consideration is the fact that credit transfer policies differ from university to university.

  • Some colleges award college credit for IB (HL) courses and IB (SL) courses. However, some colleges only give college credit for IB classes taken at the "Higher Level." IB diploma students take three classes at that level and the rest at the Standard Level ("SL").
  • Some colleges give credit only for IB exam scores of 7 (the top); some give credit for lower scores. Again it depends on the individual college.

DHS counselors have this credit transfer information for all Michigan colleges and Big Ten schools. For other out-of-state schools, counselors can assist students with retrieving that information from the college webpages. As more and more high schools are adding an IB program, some colleges (most out-of-state) are offering significant scholarship money to students who complete the full IB Diploma.

Overall High School Experience

The Overall High School Experience

For many AP and IB students, earning college credit is not necessarily a priority. Many students are focusing primarily on having an engaging high school experience and on impressing admission officials in the process. If a student is shooting for the Ivy League schools, and/or other hyper-competitive colleges, generally she isn't necessarily looking to arrive with credits under her belt. Nor does she intend to rush through college in three years (even though it might save Mom and Dad some money).

Scheduling Constraints

Scheduling Constraints

Students must also consider which choice of program might affect other options in the school day. For instance, do scheduling constraints mean that IB students may have to drop a desirable elective such as band, orchestra or choir? DHS counselors will do everything possible to help students fit everything in, whether that means a zero hour, on-line coursework, or a Personal Curriculum is necessary.

When students are deciding whether AP or IB is best for them, they need to remember that Dexter High School is fortunate indeed, to offer students a challenging high school experience that will also "look good" at college admission time, whether they opt for AP or IB.

  • Dexter Community Schools  734-424-4100
  • Bates School, 2704 Baker Rd.
    Dexter, MI 48130 
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