International Baccalaureate program gives students a tougher challenge than previously imagined

As the class of 2014 approaches graduation, 16 seniors are left wondering if they will graduate with more than a high school diploma. These International Baccalaureate diploma candidates who are on track for an IB diploma have to wait until the end of July to find out if they qualified for the IB diploma.

Students striving for the full IB diploma have to write an extended essay, complete a Theory of Knowledge class which includes a TOK presentation and essay and complete a Creativity Action Service project on top of completing all their coursework requirements. Each IB class also requires an internal assessment and external assessment. The external assessment won’t take place until May, leaving those students waiting until the end of July for their results.

According to IB Coordinator Kimberley Lund this late deadline is not a big deal in the United States in terms of college admissions.

“Colleges make decisions based on the student’s good standing and predicted grades,” she said. “It is unheard of to have a students acceptance taken away because they did not receive the IB diploma.”

However this isn’t as uncommon in Europe.

“Getting the IB diploma would be a bigger deal if I was looking to go to college overseas” senior Tristin Rojeck said.  Rojeck is one of those 16 students waiting to find out if he will receive an IB diploma.

“I might be getting an IB diploma,” he said.  “But at this point I’m just looking to do well enough in math and English and maybe history to get college credit.”

Rojeck already got his acceptance letter to Michigan State, and it won’t be taken away if he fails to receive an IB diploma.

Although a student’s acceptance may not be at risk over the IB diploma other factors are.

“Not getting the IB diploma can affect how much money colleges offer in scholarships” Lund said.

While all the colleges Rojeck was looking into offered scholarships independent from the IB diploma, some schools, Michigan Technological University for example, offer scholarships specifically to IB diploma recipients.

According to both Rojeck and Lund even more overseas colleges make a bigger deal over the IB diploma.

“It really is a somewhat prestigious thing to do,” Rojeck said.  “It’s a step above a high school diploma because it requires more work in regards to the extended essay and CSA.”

And this extra work is well worth it for Rojeck who said that the IB program has helped him prepare for college and given him a strong work ethic that will lead him to be successful in life regardless if he ends up with or without an IB diploma.

“Theres no real way to know right now if all my hard work was worth it,” Rojeck said.  “I’m happy that I stuck with the program and I’ll let you know in a year.”