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College 101

IB Diploma
Article Type: Quick and Dirty

No need to call your doctor. The IBD, or International Baccalaureate Diploma, doesn’t have anything to do with IBS.

Colleges consider a strong performance in earning an IB Diploma a desirable characteristic in an applicant, as the curriculum tends to challenge students in a way that prepares them for college success. If a high school diploma is like a gold star in life, the IB Diploma is the peach-scented scratch-n-sniff sticker on your accomplishment chart.

So, what’s the IBD all about? Students in the program are required to take courses in five categories: Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Society, Mathematics, and Sciences. They're also required to complete courses in the Arts, or additional coursework from the five core areas. What, no astrophysics?

If it sounds like a lot of work, well, it is. During the course of the program, students must take regular examinations, complete an extended essay (of 4,000 words), study something called the Theory of Knowledge, and participate in service learning. Assessments are graded by outside, IB evaluators, with points awarded for quality. (We bet those IB evaluators are glad this has nothing to do with IBS. They can leave their rubber gloves at home.) Students must earn a minimum of 24 points to graduate with an IB Diploma, with the highest possible score being 45 points.

If your school offers the IB Programme, check it out: it may be for you and may help Beef Up Your Transcript. But don’t try to commute to a different high school if your school doesn’t offer the IBD. Colleges evaluate candidates with the resources their high schools offer in mind, so you won’t be penalized for not having access to certain classes (this applies to AP and Honors classes, too).

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