The IB Programme Debunked

Class of 2017 IB Diploma candidates celebrate their achievements at graduation in red robes.

By: Zoë Day | News Editor

April 25, 2018

Year after year, the allure of the red robe has attracted students to pursue the IB Diploma Programme, a rigorous international academic program designed to develop inquiring and knowledgeable students who are engaged in their learning. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is known for its emphasis on global-mindedness and aims to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Sophomores indicate interest in pursuing the program as juniors. Many of the advanced classes offered for juniors are dual IB/AP classes, like IB/AP environmental, IB/AP US History, and IB/AP Language and Composition. As seniors, IB Diploma candidates are expected to fully commit to the program by enrolling in IB classes, like IB 20th Century/Latin American History and IB Lit. In these classes, students complete internal and external assessments that also get factored into their overall IB grade. In addition, all IB Diploma candidates are required to take Theory of Knowledge, a unique epistemology course offered to seniors. The IB Diploma Programme encourages students to become well-rounded with CAS, a program in which students track their progress in creativity, activity, and service. Finally, seniors work one-on-one with a teacher mentor to write the Extended Essay, a 4,000-word research paper on a topic of their choice.

You do not by any means have to be a genius to be an IB Diploma candidate, but intrinsic motivation and time management are essential to success. IB students are required to take six IB exams between junior and senior year, but students are able to choose which three subjects to test HL (higher level) and which subjects they would be better suited to take an SL (standard level) exam. While the IB Programme is demanding, it allows students to direct their own learning. Senior William Hirsh explains that “it was rough, but [he’s] glad [he] did it.” Through internal assessments, IB Diploma candidates design experiments and conduct research in an attempt to respond to their own questions. Senior Grace Krantz commented, “It’s a great program, especially if you enjoy learning outside of school.” The IB Programme encourages students to ask questions and think critically about the world around them.

Contrary to some beliefs, the IB Programme will not get you into college. Clicking the box that says you are an official IB Diploma candidate may enhance your application, but it will by no means guarantee you admission to your dream school. There are also plenty of ways to succeed in high school without pursuing the IB Diploma Programme. Nevertheless, there are numerous benefits regarding the transition to college. Despite complaints about the extended essay, IB Diploma graduates later recognize the value of the assignment in being able to better prepare them for the demands of college classes. The UC system offers 30 units of credit to students who receive at least 30 points on their diploma of the 45 points available. One of the most valuable lessons of IB is the importance of being able to manage your time.

At San Clemente High School, there are usually over 70 juniors enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme. By the beginning of senior year, that number normally drops down to about 30. In the past few years, the graduating class of IB students has ranged from 25-30 students. By the end of senior year, the class of IB Diploma candidates becomes a tight-knit group. Together, IB Diploma candidates learn about the repercussions of procrastination and the importance of organization. Besides commiserating about the demands of the program, there is something valuable about being surrounded with students with similar goals and aspirations.

All in all, the IB Programme is what you make of it. It’s not for everyone, but can be an extremely rewarding experience for those willing to take on the challenge.

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