When most students hear IB they either shudder and wince or straight away dismiss the possibility of joining it. However, after being one semester into it, I do agree with the statement that it comes with long nights and lots of stress, but I also understand better how much it can benefit you in the future.
“To IB or not to IB,” was the question on my mind at the end of sophomore year when I needed to decide what classes I was going to sign up for. I knew that most of my friends were taking AP and that IB had so much more extra work outside of the class coursework. I was very hesitant, but I love challenges, and knowing it was the toughest program and classes at my school I decided to go through with it.
Now I’m really glad I made that decision. Being in IB surrounds you with kids who also want to academically challenge themselves by taking the most rigorous courses available. This means that you don’t have kids in your class that are there because their parents chose their classes for them. Students in IB also typically have a more open mind because of the Theory of Knowledge classes and more international experiences.
However, this being said, AP kids are just as smart or smarter as kids in IB, and just might not have the time for the extra work it comes with.
Another reason I like IB more is because of how much international connections it gives you. In college I want to pursue political science or international studies and because the program is an international community, it is better recognized by foreign universities and jobs than with AP. In psychology we learn about how Japanese people’s decisions are based off their culture, in history we learn about the Great Depression Latin America, in Spanish we read articles about the Colombian drug trade and in English we read European plays and poems. When you get back some of your IB tests they come back saying they’re graded from Zimbabwe, Cambodia or France. All of these things help add to my international awareness and experience which I wouldn’t have if I took AP.
Finally, IB can help to add to a student’s well-roundedness. The CAS component requires students to complete time in creativity, activity and service activities. These can help when applying to college because it tells them that you are challenging yourself in all areas. The Extended Essay paper also helps prepare for college when you’re required to write lengthy investigative or research papers.
From the individual classes, to the program, to the community that IB gives you I think that I made the right decision. However, that goes to say that IB is not for everyone. But, if you are willing to work hard, then you will definitely see the rewards that come with it later.