Behind the Sash

IB challenges students with college credit courses in high school

Mason Hughes, Reporter

Typically people look towards traditional and popular activities like sports or music to improve themselves, opportunities like the IB program are often overlooked.

Senior, Alexa Michael is enrolled in the IB program, the benefits and challenges that the IB program has presented to her have influenced not only her high school career, but her future in academics as well.

“I decided to enroll in the IB program to challenge myself, and to see what I could be capable of academically,” Alexa said.

International Baccalaureate (IB) is a worldwide, nonprofit education program founded to give all students the opportunity to receive an education fit for a globalizing world. The IB program is essentially the varsity of academics, but on an international level. Students are encouraged to think critically and solve complex problems, drive their own learning, and IB courses are a core part in educational programs that can lead them to some of the highest-ranking universities around the world. Alexa is in her senior year of high school, and her second year of being in the full IB diploma program.

“I’m taking IB History, IB English, IB Psychology, Environmental Science, and IB Math.”

While IB offers a plethora of benefits, it presents a significant number of challenges as well. The contrast in the complexity of the normal high school curriculum compared to IB courses can be a difficult adjustment for many students.

“I think it can be difficult learning the structure for each type of essay and knowing how to get the points from each rubric can be challenging to learn at first,”

The added difficulty IB courses present allows for more in-depth thinking and encourages students to develop stronger problem-solving skills.

“I feel like there is a difference, just in the depth of the content and IB classes, I think to allow you to more freely explore your ideas than other classes.”

Ironically, one of the most challenging hurdles of being in the IB program is making the initial decision to join the program, the process can be intimidating especially for those who are not accustomed to the IB environment. Being patient and smart in her decision to join the program made the process much smoother.

Members of the program, like Alexa, will vouch that the program is an opportunity to expand aspects of ourselves like character and intelligence. The program offers a number of long term benefits in the way of college applications and scholarships as well.

“I took time to look at the classes that I was going to take, and decided to play to my strengths and then once I did a few months in those classes I was able to decide fully that I wanted to stay in the program, after experiencing the classroom environment.”