As a parent you may have heard a mixture of things about the IB. Some may suggest that your child should stay far away from the IB Diploma if they want to retain their sanity, but others swear by it and would recommend it for everyone! As former IB students, we at Lanterna want to provide you with as much information as possible so that you and your child can make the right choice for them. As such, we will discuss both the short-term and long-term benefits of the IB Diploma, while addressing some of your largest concerns.
At its core, the IB is a well-renowned, well-respected diploma due to its tremendous well-roundedness. By encouraging students to continue studying key subjects like foreign languages, maths, sciences, human sciences, and arts until the age of 18, your child will naturally become a well-rounded learner. In an increasingly interdisciplinary world where graduates are expected to excel in a variety of fields rather than being an expert in just one, studying all key subjects to a relatively high level will give your child a leg up on all non-IB students in their university life and beyond.
In addition, as the IB doesn’t force students to select just 3-4 subjects that they are passionate about at 16, your child will have additional years to explore their true passions. Contrast this with the A Levels, where students choose 3-4 subjects at 16, but if they fall out of love with those subjects there is little room to maneuver. Your child’s interests are likely to change from the ages of 16 to 18, thus giving them access to a broad education will allow them to pursue any path after high school.
The IB’s goal is to develop curious thinkers – ones who approach challenges with different perspectives than most others would. In a professional world inundated with highly qualified workers, standing out as an individual who is highly curious and perceptive is crucial. Classes like TOK or CAS, unique to the IB, encourage students to engage in thinking inside and outside of the classroom that very few others do at the same age. It is, in fact, through CAS activities and projects that many IB students have found what they are interested in. Fun Fact: This is how Lanterna was founded in 2004!
As one of the world’s only truly international diplomas, your child will get access to opportunities that would be impossible without the IB. With an IB Diploma, your child has the freedom of applying to universities anywhere in the world, from the US to Australia, the UK to Canada without any need for grade translations or additional paperwork.
By encouraging students to think globally, and act locally, the IB is effective in teaching students about global issues that injustices that are easy to turn a blind eye to. As a result, many IB students go on to become world leaders, educators and medical professionals.
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The well-rounded education an IB student undertakes has positive impacts on their higher education opportunities. Not only does electing multiple subjects allow students to increase their options for what they hope to study, it actually helps them to get in! According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, IB students are more than twice as likely to enroll at one of the UK’s top 20 universities in comparison with A-Level pupils! Switching stateside, IB graduates are three times as likely to get into Stanford & MIT and have double the chance of heading to Harvard! The benefits don’t stop there, however, with IB students – on average – also receiving a significantly higher salary than their A-Level friends.
The IB also develops a great deal of skills that will prove valuable at university. Juggling multiple subjects improves time management, the study of TOK aids critical thinking and the Extended Essay is a fantastic grounding in conducting academic research. Ask any IB student how they found the switch to University, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find one who didn’t adapt with ease. IB students develop the confidence to hit the ground running at university, pursuing their academic and co-curricular passions with rigour!
Things to Consider
Despite the many benefits of studying the IB, it is not for everyone. If your child has a narrow set of academic interests or strengths, electing fewer subjects that they can study at more depth may be advantageous. Indeed, if your child has trouble keeping up with deadlines or balancing school and extracurricular time, the IB may not fit them as perfectly as an alternative path of study.
The truth is, that when a student enters high school, there are no easy options. Good, solid work is required across all diplomas to achieve the outcomes we hope for. What we love about the IB is that the variety of teaching methods, subjects, and experiences, produce curious, globally-minded students who look on their studies with interest rather than indignation. As the world of work changes and life post-education becomes more unpredictable, we require young people with the flexible skill-set to make positive global change. From our perspective, there is no better diploma than the IB to prepare your children for such a future.