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Cooper Long Stands in a the hallway next to an IB poster

Why I Chose IB

When I was starting high school, I had no idea what I wanted to get out of my short high school experience, much less what I wanted for my future after high school. I felt lost in a sea of new people, expectations, and pressure to know what I wanted to do next. That changed, however, when I learned about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Willow Canyon High School. Now, as I’m starting my senior year of high school, I am able to say that I have made the most of my experience these past three years and feel much more confident and prepared to enter college.

I initially joined the IB Program looking to challenge myself with a more rigorous curriculum, but what I have found is a supportive community of hard-working students and dedicated educators. The IB program is definitely challenging, but each cohort of IB students not only at Willow Canyon, but all across the world are able to support and motivate each other through the academic challenges of the IB program. Some students have even been known to throw IB exam parties at the end of the year to celebrate the end of a long year of effort and commitment.

The IB Diploma consists of passing exams in six different subjects, as well as writing various essays and completing a service project. The program is mainly focused on taking a holistic approach to education, connecting each subject through the Theory of Knowledge, which explores the nature of knowledge and encourages critical thinking among students and educators. The IB Diploma is internationally recognized and accepted by universities, with some schools even providing college credit depending on the students’ scores on exams. Just last year almost 200,000 students tested to receive their IB Diploma, and in 2024 I will be one of those hopeful students who may receive the IB Diploma.

A problem that many students face in high school is not feeling adequately recognized for their academic achievements. Through the IB Diploma, I always feel recognized and awarded for my achievements in the academic realm. One example of this is an award voted on by teachers that is given each month based on a trait from the IB Learner Profile. The IB Learner Profile is a list of traits that describe the qualities that IB is looking to instill in the students in their program. These traits are principled, open-minded, inquirer, balanced, caring, thinker, communicator, risk-taker, knowledgeable, and reflective. The award is given to the student from each grade who best fits the trait of the month. This is just one example as to how I feel acknowledged in the IB Program.

For me, the most important aspect of the IB Program is its implications for my future. Being in the IB Program has allowed me to create good habits as a student that I will undoubtedly carry with me throughout college and beyond. The IB Diploma can also open up opportunities as a student, through giving you an edge in the application process for college and for scholarships. Because of the IB Program, I feel comfortable going forward in my educational journey, as I have already experienced the challenge that college will put forward.

Because of the IB Program, I have transformed from a scared and hesitant student into a confident, decisive, and bold learner. I have very little doubt that I and my fellow IB students will be successful going forward after high school because of what we have learned in the IB Program. If you are reading this and you or your student is considering being a part of the IB Program, then I would urge you to give the program a chance, and experience the incredible community that I have been a part of as an IB student.