Do seniors think full IB is worth it?


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The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma is a rigorous academic program designed to prepare students for higher education. After spending two years working towards getting their IB diploma, seniors reflect on their experiences with the program.

There is a burning question on the minds of many rising juniors. Is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma worth pursuing? While it’s an individual choice, sources say there are benefits and drawbacks to embarking on this intense academic journey. 

In order to be a candidate for the IB Diploma, one must test in six different IB classes including three of the two levels, standard level (SL) to higher level (HL). Across the junior and senior years, there is also a requirement to take the Theory of Knowledge class, where you write an Extended Essay, a 4000-word self-directed research paper, and complete a Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) project. 

Even though this diploma process can be rigorous, many students are up for the challenge.

Bailey Armstrong, a senior who pursued an IB Diploma and found it to be beneficial to her application, will be attending Trinity College Dublin this fall. 

“If you’re doing something off that traditional American school path, having an IB Diploma is something that’s going to help you get into schools abroad,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong feels that her experiences completing the IB Diploma have set her up for overall success in the future. 

“I think IB is better than other systems, like Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or Advanced Placement (AP), because it’s really about the application and analysis rather than the actual content. So I think it’s a good curriculum on its own,” said Armstrong. “It pushes you academically not just to do the classes you want to do, but to be a well-rounded human. It’s interesting. It’s fascinating. It might not make you feel like you’re learning every day, but you’re overall becoming a better figure.” 

Senior Ava Rispler, another student who pursued the IB Diploma, has mixed feelings about her experiences.

“I go back and forth on ‘is it worth it?’ It got me into college. People are seeing that I’ve done this IB Diploma program, and they realize that I’ve done the most rigorous coursework possible. So I’ll definitely say that the IB Diploma helps,” said Rispler. “But on the other hand, I’m not going out of the country. So does it help as much as AP would in the United States? I don’t think [so].”

According to BestColleges, “Most colleges award credit for scores of 4 or 5, regardless of the AP subject. Some colleges only award college credit to students who hold a full IB diploma, while others may award credit for individual exams.”

Rispler advises underclassmen to pursue a track that is best for them.

“I think there’s pros and cons. I don’t think I have one definite answer. I don’t want to say ‘don’t take IB Diploma.’ If you have the capacity to, you should do it,” said Rispler.