“Eurgh, CAS”, said every IB student ever. An element of the IB that at first appears so exciting. An opportunity to explore new and existing interests. So why is it that IB students so often turn to resent CAS? Juggling school-work, sleep and attempting to keep your social life intact is challenging enough without CAS.
But the secret to managing CAS is simple. Do something you enjoy. And do it often.
Maybe you feel like your options are limited. But I hope this blog will prove you wrong. Let me provide you with some less conventional ideas to rack up those CAS hours!
What counts as CAS?
First and foremost, your CAS should not overlap with in-class activities. The idea is to encourage students to get involved in things outside of their studies.
The IBO states that Creativity should comprise “experiences that involve creative thinking”. Activity should involve “physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle”. Service entails “unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student”.
Obscure definitions, right? But this is intentional. The loose requirements give you maximum flexibility with what you chose to do.
Why do I have to do CAS?
The primary goal of CAS is to enhance your personal and interpersonal development. It’s an opportunity for self-determination and cooperation with others. Engaging in these extra-curricular activates is meant to foster a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.
How is CAS assessed?
There is no formal, external assessment. You write ‘reflections’ following your CAS experiences. Essentially, here you provide evidence of what you’ve done and what you’ve learned from it.
TIP: Set 30 minutes aside once a week to write your reflections. Whilst you do this, plan what you’re going to do for CAS the following week. Logging your CAS as you go will ensure you don’t miss things and avoid you playing catch-up at the end of the year.
C is for Creativity
Don’t make the mistake of presuming if you don’t play an instrument or sing in a choir you’re at a disadvantage here. Can you cook? If so, great. Commit to trying out a new recipe each week. If you can’t, better still. Make it your goal to master five simple dishes by the end of the year! Combine a household ‘chore’ with CAS whilst earning serious brownie points from your family. What better way to prepare for university than putting together a recipe book.
Get creative with arts and crafts. Learn how to knit and send the final product off to Knit-A-Square charity to be made into a blanket. How about making your own birthday and Christmas cards and sell them for charity?
Really don’t think of yourself as the creative type? Try video gaming for CAS.
A is for Activity
Team sports and outdoor activity isn’t for everyone. Maybe yoga or pilates is more your scene. What better way to maintain composure and mindfulness in the face of all those deadlines.
Now is a perfect time to try something new and wacky. Calling all Harry Potter fans. Grab your broomstick and play a game of Quidditch! Read more about the world’s most obscure sports you may want to give a go.
S is for Service
Choosing the right service activity could really enhance your college or university applications. Tailor your service activities to any future career plans you have. If you want to enter the healthcare industry, use this as an opportunity to get some experience in a nursing home, a hospital, a dentist or a blind home. Alternatively, volunteer in your local charity shop during the weekends? Help your elderly neighbours with their gardening once a week? Or why not use CAS as an excuse to make some furry-faced friends by volunteering in an animal sanctuary or the RSPCA?
You could even follow in the footsteps of the founders of Lanterna by tutoring younger students in your school for your Service? Not only will this boost your confidence in your own studies, but maybe it’ll inspire you to pursue tutoring hereafter, and join us as a tutor after you graduate! Click here to read more about our CAS-inspired roots.
So don’t underestimate the opportunities that can come from CAS. Remember failing CAS could result in you not getting your IB diploma! Finally, the sooner you get started with CAS, the less of a burden it’ll feel.
Best of luck!