Some of you may not know what the IB program is and maybe some of you have heard of it or even completed/completing it. I graduated with an IB diploma and I strongly believe it is a huge part in helping me get to where I am today and I recommend it to everyone still in school to get this diploma.
Let me tell you a little about it…
It stands for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and is a two year curriculum. It is offered in many schools all around the world and many studies have shown that people with an IB diploma gain stronger work ethics both in school and the real world, better at time management and large workloads, a broader mind and ability to think beyond the norm and get accepted into top universities.
I believe one can apply for the program at any point, you must attend a school that offers the program however and like I said many schools internationally offer it. Originally they offered it to people aged 16-19 and I am not sure if this remains the same or not. I started the IB program before graduating high school as my school required it to graduate, therefore I was 16.
Me being a graduate I can say the benefits of the program are mostly true. I thank the IB program for helping me to be more capable in handling tasks such as large essays, research and projects as when given such things in university, after going through the IB program, these tasks seem simple and very manageable. I feel I have been trained to start each essay with the same mindset which doesn’t include procrastination or any stress towards having to write an essay in any time constraints. I find others will ask for help on essays or projects and I always notice the advice I give is either what I have been taught through the IB program and the skills I acquired. I can honestly say I notice the differences between someone who has graduated with the IB program and someone who has not, and I don’t say this as only the people who have an IB diploma are smart and successful, I say this as the work ethic, mindset and skills acquired from the program are distinctly noticeable. I remember hearing a quote, ‘You can take the student out of IB, but you cannot take the IB out of the student’ and I deem this as very true. What you learn and gain from this program will stick with you and help you in the rest of your life.
What the IB program will require you to do:
Choose the required amount of classes for the two years.
Your class schedule is similar to what you would have to do in university, therefore choose classes. The IB program is not as broad as a university, there are less options as the requirements are more strict and specific but you do get some choice. There are a few classes which there are no choice but just required and they are Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and CAS. If you see any memes on the IB program they are most likely about these three classes! They are required for the very reason that the skills acquired are helpful for when you enter university and the real world and gaining the ability to have a broader mind than the typical person. But they are also tedious, difficult and you will feel like at some points you are going crazy. Great memories!
Complete the required classes. Have to complete and pass each requirement to graduate.
TOK stands for Theory of Knowledge and as challenging as this course may be for some people, I loved it! It is one of the most interesting classes I have taken to this day. I would describe it as a mix of psychology and philosophy and it makes you stand back from everything you have always been taught, thought and learned about the world and question it all and look at many different perspectives. Some days I felt like I was in a science class or talking about a completely different world. You will find yourself questioning everything! By far one of my favorites! CAS stands for Community, Action and Service and just as it sounds, this is hours you have to put in for those three categories as volunteer. The required hours are a lot, I wont lie but the good thing is we are allowed to chose what we would like to do to fill them. You will need approval however. CAS is one main reason why the IB program is so challenging and demanding, you are already jammed packed with work, homework and then on top of that you have to do volunteer hours but honestly I don’t regret any of it. The skills I have acquired are worth it but even more so, the memories. One of my chosen activities was cooking and I got to be with two of my friends once every week after school cooking and baking in a kitchen, another activity I was teaching students how to rock climb and belay and another activity I was building a garden within the community. I will never forget the memories that came along with the IB program. Lastly, the worst part of IB for me was the Extended Essay. Again as it sounds, a long essay, your subject and topic of choice but you are paired with a supervisor and are required to carry out the research, either it be like a science experiment or thorough research on a business, depending on the subject you choose. The essay you write is sent away for grading, it is super demanding, nerve wracking and I hated it, but I wont deny that the research skills, writing skills and time management are things that I still use today within university and my work.
I promise the people you attend the IB program with, you will all become a family, teachers included. It is a demanding program and you all tend to come together and for me, my graduating class is one I will forever cherish. Many of the teachers at my school I still miss today and carry with me things they have said and taught. The IB program will never be a regret for you and I strongly encourage you apply. It sounds hard, it is, but it is not impossible and you come out like a new, stronger person by the end of it.
Trust me and look into it. See if there are any schools nearby or ones that you are interested in that do offer the program, talk to your parents about it, set up a meeting to discuss it, do your own research or comment on my post with any questions you may have. Clearly as a graduate I speak highly of the program and the experience is something I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on.