Are IB classes worth it?

Recent grads muse on the value of Lincoln’s full diploma program


Daniel Lewinsohn

At the end of the first semester, seniors present their final presentations in Theory of Knowledge (TOK), which is a required course for all full IB students, to teacher and IB coordinator Kim Bliss

With first semester having completed in January, many Lincoln seniors are submitting their final college applications or waiting for admissions decisions. For those in full IB, Extended Essays have been submitted, and the final Theory of Knowledge classes are upon them.

In the coming months, many sophomores will decide whether the full International Baccalaureate program is something they want to take on, as they will soon forecast for their junior year classes. Discussions about whether doing full IB is worth it or not will ensue. Many of those who are graduating this year are still contemplating whether taking 6 IB classes and all 6 IB exams as well as Theory of Knowledge and completing the Extended Essay was worth it.

According to 2018 LHS graduate Jonathan Cordisco, completing the full IB diploma was definitely worth it. “Doing the full IB took a lot of work and it took a lot out of me, but for my situation right now I’d say it was worth it. I’d recommend that anyone going to a state school in Oregon to take the full IB diploma because it does give you a leg up once you’re here,” said Cordisco. He did add however that if students plan on attending colleges that might not take IB credits, the full diploma might not be worth it.

Because of all the credits he earned through the IB program, Cordisco was able to enter Oregon State University this year as a sophomore instead of a freshman. In addition, he was given an automatic annual $3,000 scholarship for earning the IB diploma. As for discovering his passion and current major at OSU, mechanical engineering, Cordisco was able to explore this field through the Extended Essay.

Kaela Lee, another recent Lincoln graduate and current student at University of California Berkeley, says Ms. Wadkins’ IB Physics 3-4 class is what helped her discover her field of interest: Astrophysics. Although, she admits her decision to earn the IB diploma was more a result of her parents’ desire for her to do so, and Lee’s friends also deciding to do full IB.

Regarding TOK, Lee said that she thinks the class “has a lot of potential, but is not very beneficial right now.” Additionally, as of now only teachers of humanities classes are allowed to teach the course, and Lee wishes teachers of other subjects were also allowed to teach the course.

Not all IB diploma graduates think the program is worth it.

Savannah Bowerfind, another Lincoln alumni and freshman at UC Berkeley said “I honestly don’t know [if the IB program was worth it]. I know [that for other students] it can be helpful but I can’t say for my personal case. I know if I talk with [college] interviewers about it then they would be impressed but I feel that this is also just a salesperson pitch.”