I imagine that university admission officers understand the system and what your score means but how does this understanding compare to other types of exams like IB and CIE?
Very good question.
I did the HSC and gained admission to Harvard College for their Class of 2020.
I would say that the admission offices in the USA have a better understanding of an international system such as the IB and CIE. At the same time, they still cater for all different sorts of curriculums and would have quite a reasonable understanding of the HSC. It would be very unlikely that you apply to an institution where no Australian who sat the HSC had applied before so they must have at least some understanding of what it is and can use this to compare you to your HSC peers.
In saying all of this I actually applied to Harvard through their early action scheme and found out that I had been accepted before my ATAR and HSC results had come out. However, I had submitted my internal class ranks for my school (the official ranks that were also submitted to the Board of Studies), a predicted ATAR given to me by my school and a predicted overall rank at my school. While the American school systems rank you through your GPA, HSC schools can do a pretty good job at ranking you through your predicted ATARs. Like all students who apply, they will place a big emphasis on your SAT score and SAT Subject Test scores.
If you’re trying to decide between the two I would suggest do what you feel the most comfortable with. There is no point doing the IB if you are terrible at languages and history and don’t think you will succeed. I personally opted for the HSC (even though my school offered both) because I was far more familiar with it and had quite a unique set of classes that I did not think would work particularly well with the IB. The IB was also very new at my school and was not something new that I was prepared to take a risk doing.
Here at Harvard, I know most Australians scored in the 99+ range ATAR wise and would say that all of them got at least 8 units as Band 6s in their HSC subjects. At the same time they take many different considerations into your application. Theoretically if they do not in fact recognise your HSC scores whatsoever they can still make a very fair assessment on your admission based on your other test scores, your internal ranks and of course your extra-curricular activities and essays.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions
what high school did u attend if u dont mind me asking?
He attended Canberra High School - what are your statistics like Braith? What ATAR score are you aiming for?