I chose to do IB primarily because I wanted to be challenged academically. My sister had been in the IB program so I knew that it was a hard but do-able program. As a sophomore quite honestly I wasn’t really thinking about what I would get out of my academics, but I ended up getting a lot out of IB, in terms of critical thinking and writing skills and actually thinking about why and how we learn what we do in school. I would definitely say the best part of the IB program was learning to ask the bigger picture questions. It was so much more than just memorizing and regurgitating facts. It was thinking about why we learned what we did and how to think about what we were learning in a bigger context. It really opened my mind about education and academia in a lot of ways, and I am very thankful for that. College is really a lot about being able to analytically argue a specific point of view or opinion and being able to connect what you are learning to many different disciplines. IB really prepared me to think in the way that college professors often ask me to think. Also the information I learned was very helpful in my college classes especially in IB Chemistry and Calculus because those classes in college were more of a review then new material. And college professors don’t hold your hand the way IB teachers at Guerin do so it was much better to learn that information in IB then in college.
The choice to do the IB program was a pretty easy one for me. I’ve always been a good student who enjoys a challenge, and I wanted to surround myself with other students of a similar mind. Also, I wanted to go to a top-level college, and IB was the road I needed to take to achieve that goal.
IB was a very challenging track that definitely pushed my limits. For me, the toughest but probably most rewarding class was IB History. What really challenged me in this class was the amount of reading and the depth of understanding we were to gain from that reading. I improved my reading and note-taking skills, and without this class I would have had a lot more trouble adjusting to college classes where effective reading is a must.
Another thing I appreciate about IB was the great group of teachers I had, including one or two teachers that I would put up against almost any college professor I’ve had at Vanderbilt University. Not only did my teachers bring a wealth of knowledge in their respective subjects, but they also took a personal interest in our success both inside and outside the classroom.
While IB helped prepare me for the classes in college, I also received 17 college credit hours from my IB classes. Now, I can spend more time focusing on my main areas of study. And these credit hours came from only three classes (in other words, you don’t need to do really well in EVERYTHING to get a lot of credits).
I would definitely encourage anyone who holds himself to a high academic standard to seriously consider the IB program. When I was a senior, I encouraged some underclassmen to only do partial IB if they’re worried about one or two classes. However, college has changed my view on this matter as I’ve realized that my IB experience would have been significantly less rewarding had I not done full IB (read: had I not taken IB History). College is definitely harder than IB, and college would be even more difficult had I not done IB, so I do not regret my decision to do IB one bit.