The IB and the International Student: Part II

The IB may arguably be the best college preparatory program out there today, but it's difficult. As an international student, should you choose to take the IB if American colleges don't even factor IB scores into your admission decision? This soon-to-be college freshman thinks you should!

Two weeks ago, you were introduced to some of the reasons why the International Baccalaureate is a formidable and admirable course of study (namely, because it’s super hard, but in those challenges come greater abilities and confidence). Now, we continue with even more reasons to fear—and love—the IB.

The IB is like a cool and exclusive club

Once you become a part of the IB program, you automatically become a part of a global community. So, when you're going through one of those days where looking at your work inspires only one word in your mind—hate—you can be sure that hundreds of IB students out there have your back.

And IB students love to show their support for each other in the best ways. IB Memes, for instance, is a popular Facebook page created and maintained by IB students worldwide poking fun at our common woes through memes. Some of us get so impassioned that a meme just isn't enough, and videos like this come into the world, garnering almost 300,000 views on YouTube and promising entertainment for IB students for years to come.

But being an IB student doesn't end once you've received your IB diploma. It unknowingly becomes a part of you forever. What I mean by that is best represented by an experience I had a few months ago when I visited my older sister's alma mater in the United Kingdom. While there, we met up with her friend who also took the IB a few years back. Over an afternoon snack, she'd asked me about my plans for college before switching topics and asking about my experience with the IB. She was so excited to hear about my time with the program and to share details about hers. It didn't take us long to figure out that some experiences with the IB are universal, making an understanding of each other easy to develop.

In just the two months since I've determined which American university I'm attending and joined the incoming class's Facebook group, I've already met numerous IB students from all over the world who in two months will be my fellow college freshmen. I have no idea why, but it’s so much easier to befriend them knowing that we've gone through similar experiences. So far, I've never heard of AP classes having that same lasting impact in creating a community with a common understanding of each other. IB, you're magic.

Choose the IB

So, why choose the IB? It doesn't come down to an easy answer like "The IB will make it 10 times easier for you to get into college." It won't. But, if you need more reasons than simple satisfaction at the fact that you're undertaking a program that will try you in the most honest of ways, I hope you look to the fact that the IB will help you become more prepared for not just the academic rigors of college but the challenges of its experiences. I have personally never regretted taking the IB because—to unveil a little secret that us IB students like to guard with our lives—underneath all the hate and frustration, the IB is really something to love.

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