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The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Re-Envisions Your Child’s Education and Gives Them a Competitive Advantage. Here’s How.

There’s a lot at stake when it comes to education. School is a place where young people spend thousands of hours being molded and shaped by their teachers, relationships, and experiences. And in our country, students learn hordes of information from thirty-some-odd textbooks, take history exams with hundreds of terms, learn all the classic guides to essay writing.

So, even after taking the most difficult Advanced Placement courses, participating in extra curriculars, and being tutored for the SAT and ACT exams, why does getting into a great college still often feel like a shot in the dark these days?

American students are participating in largely lookalike high school models—they learn, but often only what is between the two covers of their textbooks or the things they memorize for a final exam. Memorize, regurgitate, repeat—perhaps your high schooler can relate.

The question is, will this traditional teaching style prepare your child in a way that they will stand out to colleges and universities?  Will they truly be prepared to not only be accepted, but to succeed and thrive, when they get there?

So, as a parent who cares deeply about their child’s future, you’re likely searching for a solution that can give your child an edge. Where can your child receive a high school education that is not only teaching the subject matter, but is also molding them into a critically thinking, globally involved and thoroughly prepared individual? A place where their hard work and hours of effort will be well worth it?

Here’s that place: the British International School of Boston. They are one of the only schools in the Boston area to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) for high school students.

The IBDP provides an alternative to the traditional American high school system and is recognized and sought by the world’s top colleges and universities. It provides a rigorous academic foundation along with coursework aimed at developing students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. IBDP students are prepared not by way of cookie cutter methods but by way of carefully sculpting confident future leaders.

The IBDP was established in 1968 and is taught all over the globe—in about 5,000 schools worldwide. Here to explain how the IBDP at BISB can help high school students become highly competitive college applicants and well-prepared college students is Karen McWilliam, IBDP Coordinator at BISB.

“The IBDP offers high school age students an inquiry-based style of teaching and learning that champions critical thinking while encouraging the consideration of multiple perspectives,” says McWilliam. That means going beyond acceptance and comprehension, replacing it with deeper understanding and consideration.

For example: “IBDP students submit an essay in every subject they study, including Mathematics and the Sciences,” says McWilliam. In college, professors may ask for essays without teaching the writing process, and lessons are often taught more quickly. At BISB, IBDP students are urged to learn, try, fail, try again, and come out the other side before college, so when they do begin college, they can bypass the intimidation of unfamiliar expectations.

In addition to the academic coursework, the IBDP has three core requirements at its center. These are a main reason why IBDP students are so well prepared for success at college. In the Extended Essay, IBDP students write a 4,000-word independent research paper, akin to a college level essay, about a subject area of their choosing. In the Creativity, Activity, Service component, IBDP students focus on using their talents and interests to give back to their community, either locally or globally.

Finally, in the Theory of Knowledge course, “students are asked to question their relationship with knowledge and how abstract concepts (such as power, truth, culture, justification, interpretation, and perspective) manifest in the real world and in their own lives,” says McWilliam. It teaches students to see the world with a more mature vision, situating them to be active, involved, and empathetic citizens—and not just in their local neighborhood, but on the global stage.

The teachers at BISB also deliver the IBDP in a highly trained and personal way with an emphasis on building relationships with students and adapting to class dynamics. “BISB is a small school in the best sense of the word,” McWilliam says. This makes it easier for students to trust their teachers and build respect—even love—for school.

“In the long term, I think the IBDP helps our students to be adaptable and independent thinkers who can use these skills to navigate any eventuality,” she says. That’s why colleges love to see an IBDP applicant—they recognize and welcome students who are confident, resilient, understanding of others, and who truly love to learn.

BISB is different from most schools in Boston, but that’s exactly the value it offers. BISB provides a different education, developing different skill sets, that lead to college applications that stand out. The IBDP is more than just another academic philosophy – it is a unique and solid foundation for the future.


To learn more about BISB and its outstanding academic programs, visit bisboston.org.