The IB Diploma is commonly regarded as one of the most prestigious high school diplomas, giving you the opportunity to study at some of the best universities in the world. However, in an increasingly competitive world, IB students need to consistently find more ways to stand out from the crowd, as academic success isn’t always the only criteria considered for your university acceptance. Check out what our top Lanterna tutors think are the best ways to use components of the IB to improve your chances at getting into your dream university!

1. Pick Your EE Topic Carefully

The Extended Essay is your one chance in the IB to research and write about a topic completely of your own choosing. Many students make the mistake of putting little thought into which subject or topic they want to write about, which leaves them with less to write about in their personal statement/letter of application to university. If you want to study medicine but wrote an EE about music, it’s hard to include in your letter of application. However, if you are certain that you want to study subject X at university, then writing about that same subject in your EE is a perfect way to show admissions officers that you have a deep interest and appreciation for that subject!

By choosing your EE topic based on what you think you want to study post-IB, you are giving yourself tons of material to write about in your applications, and additionally you will have a leg up on most other applicants. There aren’t many other students applying for your course who will have written a 4,000 word essay on the topic they are planning to study!

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2. Use CAS to Your Advantage

Many IB students see CAS as useless – a pure waste of time that won’t help them post-IB. We at Lanterna don’t believe this to be the case at all. Many universities, specifically US-based, care profoundly about what you did outside of the classroom while you were doing the IB Diploma. Showing evidence of truly engaging in creative endeavours, athletic pursuits, and service-minded projects is helping the university get a clear view of you as a well-rounded individual. Additionally, if you took leadership roles rather than backseat roles in multiple extracurricular activities, this is a massive boost to your university application. 

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3. Take the ‘Right’ Subjects

We all know the well-roundedness of the IB opens up a wide variety of doors for higher education. Some university degrees, however, require students to have taken particular subjects at a particular level in order to apply.  For example, if you are interested in becoming a medical professional, the majority of universities will require you to have taken two science subjects at higher level.  It’s good practice to take the subject you want to study at university at higher level if your school offers it, but also a good idea to see if there might be another related subject that you should also select. For instance, some university economics and engineering courses might require a particular math grade.

If you are a prospective IB student but know what you want to study and where, take a look at what the requirements are before you finalise your subjects. Unsure of what subjects you should take? Why not call up the university department and see what they say? In fact, reaching out to your future university early will only help you to make a positive impression!

So there we have it, three top tips on how to use the IB to get into your dream university! Using the Extended Essay, CAS and your subject combinations effectively will give you the best chance of enrolling in the college that you’ve always hoped to attend. Need a second pair of eyes to look over your personal statement? We’ve got top university students who can give you the guidance you require to ‘sell yourself’ to the admissions office!

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