Is going through the International Baccalaureate (IB) program worth it?

Is going through the International Baccalaureate (IB) program worth it

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The IB diploma programme is a rigorous course of study that aims to develop “inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect”. 

But you might be wondering how a two-year-long program could transform someone that drastically. The IB teaches students how to think, and it provides numerous skills and knowledge to overcome the various challenges in life. But is it really worth rigor and hard work? 

Keep reading to discover if going through the International Baccalaureate (IB) program is worth it for you. 

What are the advantages of doing the IB? 

Freedom

Students have the freedom to seek out what truly interests and inspires them. Unlike most boards, IB students have the liberty to pick subjects of interest from 6 groups namely, mathematics, language acquisition, the arts, sciences, humanities, and literature.

IB provides the opportunity for students to discover their passion by studying a wide range of subjects, and are not compelled to specialize. Students are able to then use this knowledge that they acquire in the classroom and beyond to develop their IAs and EE. 

Research skills

Speaking of IAs and the EE, another major benefit of the IB program is the great extent to which it enhances students’ research skills. The extended essay, internal assessments, and the theory of knowledge are components of the IB program that demand students to develop advanced independent research and organizational skills.

This skill in particular is highly essential to carry forward as it will help familiarise students with doing research at a university level. 

Time management

Managing time is what most students find challenging. Procrastination and cutting corners are not going to assist students to maximize learning. Keeping a journal of all the assignments that students are required to do and their dates could be beneficial as this will help keep track of things and prevent procrastination. 

During their journey in IB, students learn to think forward and prioritize their work accordingly by establishing proper study habits, setting aside time for extracurriculars and other essentials. 

Well-balanced

Students taking up the IB learn that the final two years of schooling are much more than just academics. The IB programme doesn’t just involve studying for numerous tests and writing essays. 

There’s a separate component known as CAS (creativity, activity, service) which requires students to take up 18 extracurricular activities and one 6 months-long project. This equips students with the ability to balance their life at school and home. 

Increases academic opportunities

The IB diploma is recognized and welcomed by universities around the globe. Research studies have proven that IB Diploma students have a higher chance to be admitted to top-tier universities in comparison to other students holding other qualifications. 

For instance, a study by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows that IB Diploma graduates are more likely to enroll in one of the UK’s top 20 universities and colleges than other students with similar qualifications.

Also Read: Will Doing The IB Program Be Beneficial For Your University Application?

Personal growth

The level of personal growth that IB students achieve is one of the major reasons for choosing this programme. IB not only helps you grow academically by making students more knowledgeable, but it also helps students grow as people. Reflecting on daily tasks, balancing multiple things at once, caring, open-mindedness, increased and effective communication— are skills that students can carry forward in life.

The mandatory component, CAS, enables students to work in their community. This may involve campaigning, fundraising, and other volunteering activities. This brings about a sense of responsibility as students feel like they are part of something bigger.

This is not typically found in other classrooms, which makes this course especially quite unique. Overall, IB helps students develop strong academic, social, and emotional characteristics. 

Risk-takers

IB aims to develop students who are risk-takers by challenging the way students think and encouraging them to be confident in those decisions. Students learn to be less fearful of uncertainties that approach them. For instance, when the pandemic struck, IB students could rely on coursework for their final grades unlike students from other boards.

Students step out of their comfort zones and learn to be courageous when making choices.In conclusion, pursuing the IB diploma programme comes with benefits that open up various opportunities in the future, equip students with essential skills, and is, therefore, an ideal course for any student. 

What are the disadvantages of doing the IB? 

Work Overload

For some, due to the immense work overload, the IB becomes too much to handle. This constant pressure causes a enormous amounts of stress which can ultimately lead to anxiety and other mental health problems. It becomes difficult to prioitise health when there are so many tasks to accomplish, and this deteriorates one’s performance as well as health.  

Social Sacrifices

With the compulsion of doing well in the exams, finishing IAs, EEs, ToK, and taking part in extra-curricular activities, you can say goodbye to your social life. With absolutely no time to relax and spend time with friends and family almost seems impossible. Assess your priorities well before you take up the IB: is it building lifelong, meaningful relationships, or acing your academic/school life. 

Location

If you plan to study undergraduate in India, then it is not recommended to take up the IB. While it gives you an upper hand when applying abroad, it actually holds lesser value in India. Doing the IB can equip you with skills that you can carry forward, however, IB program may not be worth the stress, time, and energy if you decision is to pursue undergraduate in India. 

Now that you have well understood the advantages and disadvantages of taking up the IB program, it is upto to you to decide: is the (IB) worth it? 

Further reading:

The International Baccalaureate (IB)

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