Top 10 Reasons to Study the IBDP

Written by Laura Blair

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed to prepare students for success in college and beyond. 

Studying the IBDP has numerous benefits, which are outlined in this article by Laura Blair, IBDP Coordinator of our school. Laura explains why the IBDP is such an excellent choice for motivated high school students looking to further their education, highlighting 10 key reasons to pursue this program.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) has been providing a challenging yet balanced education for over 50 years, offering an internationally recognized university-entrance qualification while promoting intercultural understanding and respect. 

BFIS has been offering the Diploma Program to our G11&12 students for 10 years, and it has been my privilege to serve as IBDP Coordinator for the last 4 years and to teach the DP at BFIS for 9 years. 

This has granted me the insight to highlight the top 10 reasons why I believe the IBDP is a gold standard opportunity for our students to receive an outstanding education while gaining motivation to become change-makers for a world desperately in need of young people with the skills and ideals the IB provides. 

These are the 10 top reasons why you should study IBDP.

Students IB Chemistry

1. Its focus on holistic development

The IB Mission Statement

The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end, the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

The IB community shares a common belief that education can help to build a better world.  This is especially important as new global challenges arise at an unprecedented rate and we will need new leaders who can tackle these issues with the necessary skills and understanding to effect positive change in our world

2. The IB Learner Profile

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) places the student at the center of their education, equipping them with the 10 traits of the IB Learner Profile. These traits encourage students to develop a balanced social, emotional and physical well-being and instill in them empathy and respect for themselves and others. The IBDP offers numerous opportunities to further develop these attributes, enabling students to demonstrate them in creative and inspiring ways. Ultimately, the program seeks to create a generation of internationally-minded individuals, motivated to use their education to create a more positive, inclusive world.

IB learners strive to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced and Reflective. 

3. Critical thinking skills

DP subjects are not taught in isolation. The TOK (Theory of Knowledge) course encourages them to draw connections between their various subjects and to ask the fundamental question: “how do we know what we know?” 

Here, students learn to evaluate and analyze global issues, develop new ideas, contemplate alternative perspectives and assess their own personal biases. This is done not to merely memorize material to pass exams but to gain a genuine understanding.

Thinking skills include areas such as critical thinking, creative thinking, and ethical thinking.

4. A focus on service

The IBDP is not just about scores and results. The IBDP not only provides opportunities for academic success, but also encourages the development of important life skills through its Creative, Activity, and Service (CAS) program

Through physical activity, creative expression, and service to the community, students learn to appreciate their physical and emotional health, foster their creative potential, and cultivate empathy and a sense of connectedness to others. Such experiences are essential for the growth and well-being of the individual and the world. 

CAS IB Service Learning International Baccalaureate

5. Choice and agency

The IBDP encourages a holistic approach to learning, granting students the autonomy to select their courses and levels, along with their CAS experiences, Extended Essay research questions, and much more. 

This level of choice equips students with the skills necessary to excel in university and beyond, by providing them with the opportunity to take charge of their own educational journey.

6. Research skills

The Extended Essay instills confidence and encourages independent learning, providing a space for students to conduct in-depth research in an area of their own interest. It hones essential skills such as comparing, contrasting, validating, and prioritizing information, preparing graduates for the challenges of university-level research writing. 

Many alumni return to express their gratitude for the knowledge and skills the Extended Essay has imparted to them, stating the EE process thoroughly prepared them for university-level research writing.

7. Social skills

Having strong social skills is essential for success in the modern world. Our Diploma Program years are an opportunity to build the skills needed to form and maintain positive relationships, listen effectively, and resolve conflict. Working collaboratively and promoting a sense of community are fundamental tenets of the BFIS program. 

It is always gratifying to witness our students come together on the “group 4 project”, a collaborative and multi-disciplinary activity that encourages students of the DP Science courses to recognize the environmental, social, and ethical implications of science.

High School Library

8. Communication skills

The IB Learner Profile attribute of “Communicators” is defined as the ability to express ourselves confidently and creatively in multiple languages, listening to and collaborating with diverse perspectives

This entails the development of written and oral communication, effective listening, and the formation of sound arguments. Throughout the IBDP, students have the opportunity to hone these skills in group presentations, CAS projects, Language A & B oral exams, mentoring classmates, debates, and after-school clubs, among others. 

9. Self-management skills

Having good study habits, mastering time management, and striving for balance are key components to success in this program. The IBDP is an excellent platform for refining these skills, allowing you to take them with you to higher education or the workplace. 

Completing assignments on time while balancing CAS, TOK, and EE will give you the opportunity to master the art of multitasking and prioritizing.

Self-management skills also include affective skills, such as managing state of mind and motivation

10. International mindedness

The IBDP nurtures an international-mindedness that encompasses openness to the world, recognition of interconnectedness, and a mentality of “think globally, act locally”. This outlook is further encouraged by celebrating multilingualism, as speaking multiple languages allows us to understand that our culture and worldview are but one of many.

“An IB education fosters international-mindedness by helping students reflect on their own perspective, culture, and identities, as well as those of others. By engaging with diverse beliefs, values, and experiences, and by learning to think and collaborate across cultures and disciplines, IB learners gain the understanding necessary to make progress towards a more peaceful world.

International-mindedness is also encouraged through a focus on global engagement and meaningful service to the community. These elements challenge students to critically consider power and privilege and to recognize that they hold this planet and its resources in trust for future generations. 

They also highlight the focus on action in all IB programs: a focus on moving beyond awareness and understanding to engagement, action, and bringing about meaningful change to make a more peaceful and sustainable world for everyone.” (What is an IB Education?) 

I hope these 10 reasons have convinced you that an IB education is an enriching and worthwhile learning experience.  If you’d like to chat more, please reach out to me.  My office door is always open!

Laura Blair
BFIS IBDP Coordinator

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