Your Academic Journey at ASH: AP or IB?

With our IBDP Year 2 and AP students back on campus this week, there is no better time to zoom in on these programs to shed light on the courses on offer at ASH: the program foundations, differences and why a student could choose one or the other, or pick classes from both curriculum course offerings.

AP or IB?

In addition to the ASH high school diploma, our students have the option to study the Advanced Placement (AP) program and/or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma or IB Certificates. This curriculum offering of access to study either AP, IB or a combination of courses from both programs is unique to ASH in the Netherlands. 

As a student, or as a parent helping the young adult in your house, what should you consider before embarking on these studies?  How early do you need to consider your options and what are universities looking for?

The American high school diploma is the number one priority for all students at ASH. It is the core diploma and is recognized for admissions to programs at a wide range of colleges and universities. It is enhanced by AP and/or IB courses along with a choice of extracurricular activities. 

ASH does not pre-select students for AP or IB and supports students interested in these courses and willing to commit to the hard work involved. The work is demanding and students most likely to succeed are highly motivated students in grade 11-12 who embrace responsibility for their own learning, and who have shown reasonably developed academic and self-management skills.


Accommodations are available for students with demonstrated academic needs in both AP and IB with proper current documentation.

When to start looking at course options?

Students who started at ASH during middle school or before will have already created a 4-year plan with their teachers and counselors who help guide course choices. If you are new to ASH and heading into high school, students should contact their teachers and counselors to get the process started as early as possible.

Universities look for a positive student profile

It's important to know what universities are looking for. If you have a specific study in mind, make sure to find out as much as you can from the specific universities that offer your chosen study. Our college counselors can help you with this but you should also get in touch with college admissions at the universities directly.

On the whole, universities favor students who have challenged themselves in high school and have done well in their chosen program. In addition to academics, they look to see if you have demonstrated an interest in and a passion for a particular subject(s) or activities and if you have engaged in your community and the wider world. Extra curricular activities, a range of interests and a global mindset are increasingly important. 

What to consider when choosing the “right” academic program?

Program and course choices should be based on a realistic assessment of a number of factors such as your motivation and state of mind, your past performance, your future plans and recommendations and advice from your teachers and counselors.

In addition, you should consider your reading level as you will need to easily grasp abstract concepts; your writing level and your ability to manage multiple deadlines effectively and independently. You’ll need to be inquisitive, open-minded, and interested in acquiring knowledge and understanding across many subjects.

Do remember to play to your strengths and choose your strongest subjects and those you are interested in. Consider other classes (regular, AP or IB) that may complement your course selection and make sure you can maintain a balance between subjects, extra-curricular activities or clubs and your personal life. 

Your goal

Remember that your goals will influence your choice so choose a program that is right for you personally. Play to your strengths as how well you do is as important and what you do and you are more likely to succeed when you enjoy what you are doing. There is no need to specialize in high school so explore and do your specialization in university and remember, there are many paths to your long term goals - few roads are perfectly straight.

Full details regarding the AP and IB courses on offer at ASH and the necessary prerequisites are available in the course catalog which you will find on here and here.

Consider your options carefully to take advantage of the unique opportunity at ASH to combine an American high school diploma with AP and/or IB. If you would like to discuss the AP or IB program in more detail, contact our AP/IB coordinator:


We build a better world as we become better human beings, hear and value every voice, keep every promise, and celebrate every achievement. 


We are determined to create a school where everyone is confident and able to take control of their own learning, and the world is our classroom.