The Exciting World of the IB Course Selection

By Blair Walsh

The IB, International Baccalaureate, is a rigorous program which students here at Léman as well as many schools in the United States and internationally take to challenge themselves and pursue their interests. As sophomores make their IB course selections within the next few weeks, here is a rundown.
IB is recognized all around the world, especially in international universities, as challenging and impressive. Many take the IB to enhance their academic rigor, and to stand out among other applicants when applying to college. But how much does this really help?
Students who take the full IB diploma versus students who took standard high school courses can have an increased acceptance rate to many schools. This is especially true for Ivy League schools such as Yale, Columbia, and Harvard University.  A student with an IB diploma has an increased acceptance rate of up to 18% to any Ivy League school, compared with students without one.
For example, Princeton University in New Jersey has an average acceptance rate of eight percent for all applicants, the acceptance rate doubles to 16% for any student taking the full IB diploma compared to the rest of the applicants. This is not limited to Ivy League schools, but also extends to schools such as New York University, or the University of Miami.
What are some of the things that the IB entails and requires for students to complete before receiving the diploma? The courses that students may choose to take at Leman require three high-level courses and three standard-level courses which all vary in difficulty depending on the subject chosen. Each course is tailored to challenge students in the workload, content, and vocabulary.
There are benefits to being able to choose your courses as well. If you have thought far enough ahead into what your interests in a career are and what you want to major in in college, then you will be able to learn more about that subject if taking it at any level in the IB.
The full diploma also requires that you take a Theory of Knowledge course which provides students the opportunity to reflect on the knowledge of their courses and what we know as students. There is much more, including the extended essay which is required, as well as CAS experiences (Community, Activity, Service). The extended essay is a 4,000-word self-directed research paper, then CAS are activities, services, and community-related work that are meant to help IB students to be well-rounded.
As many juniors and seniors will explain, there is not exactly an easy way out of receiving the diploma, but as long as you choose courses that you are interested in and like, the amount of work and rigor will not feel as strenuous. Now as sophomores choose their IB courses for next year, there are undoubtedly nerves in their anticipation of the IB. Molly Strandberg, a sophomore here at Léman stated, “I am excited to be choosing my courses! Although it is a little difficult to make sure I pick the best courses for me.”
The IB diploma program is rigorous nevertheless it is rewarding and will help to set students up for success in the best ways possible.