By Nadia Warren
Amidst International Baccalaureate (IB) Mock Exam week, I sat peacefully in the quiet senior lounge. Without a stress in the world, I am an outside observer to the stressed IB students.
I began to question the IB program halfway through my high school career. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do in university and where I wanted to go, so I began my research. Coming from an IB Middle Years Program (MYP) background, I had a good understanding of how rigorous and time-consuming the IB program can be. I knew going into my junior and senior years that I wanted to enjoy it, and that I wanted to maintain a balance between my school life and my social life. I wanted to experience the freedom through my teenage years, and to look back on years of fun instead of intense studying and half-decent grades. Many of the IB students I know are sleep deprived, stressed and on a strict study regime, and I knew I didn’t want that during my time in high school.
When I transferred to DAA for my junior year, I did my very best to avoid the IB program. My previous school had did not have a great reputation for the IB MYP and so, I was personally put off by the IB program because of my teachers and the bad experience I associated it with. Starting the High School Diploma program was the best decision for me, because it allowed me to get the education I needed and have the freedom to be a teenager at the same time.
I’m not saying that the IB program is bad, because it is so far from it. My experiences do not reflect the experiences that other people have had. Part of the IB’s mission statement is to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” Having taken the IB for a short period of time, I can say that its rigorosity prepares students for their life beyond high school. The IB shapes its students into reflective and open minded citizens of the world that integrate the IB Learner Profile and attribute it into their daily lives. It also prepares students for the heavy workload they’ll have in university.
Many people think that doing the High School Diploma program is guaranteed educational suicide, because “no university will accept a High School Diploma student”. That assumption is false. I use my case as an example – I received acceptances from all of the universities I applied to. The university I’ll be attending is one of the leading universities in Germany with a 10% acceptance rate. I was also offered The German Scholarship, which proves that taking the High School Diploma program can, just like the IB, lead to great opportunities.
In the end, the decision is up to you. There are advantages and disadvantages to every program, you just have to choose the program that is best for you.