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What Are the Benefits of Earning an IB Diploma?

July 6, 2022

Established in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Baccalaureate academic program is respected the worldover for its challenging academics within a framework that educates the whole student.

The program sets high expectations for students, and requires high standards from the schools that offer it, as well. Before a school is allowed to offer IB courses, it must pass requirements and become certified as an IB WorldSchool. IB assessments of the school are ongoing and continual, and faculty receive special training.

That all around rigor pays off in excellence, for both schools and students.

  • IB students, who study within four separate IB programs targeted primarily by age level, have become known for their ability to:
  • engage with their own learning
  • push themselves to achieve academically
  • solve problems interdisciplinarily
  • think using a culturally sensitive global perspective.

What is the IB Diploma Program?

The IB program culminates in the IB Diploma Program, a two-year course of study that awards graduates with an IB diploma at the end of senior year of high school.

IB Diploma graduates consistently show a high level of success in successfully completing competitive secondary education programs, with the skills necessary to thrive academically, as well as professionally after graduation.

Because of this record, colleges and universities recognize the IB program for its comprehensive education and for its successful students, and seek out graduates of the IB Diploma program each year for admittance into their incoming freshman classes.

Simply put, IB Diploma graduates are better equipped and prepared to succeed in high school, college, and in life.

How do students earn the IB Diploma?

The two-year IB Diploma program requires students to study six subjects, and allows students to specialize in their studies by giving a large range of subjects to study. Students take IB-created exams at the end of each course.

In addition to rigorous academics, the IB requires attention to individual student personal development.  In order to graduate with the prestigious IB Diploma, students must also complete community service and independently research, write, and present a 4,000 word paper on a topic of their choice, under the guidance of a mentor.

These extra requirements build thinking, writing, speaking, and leadership skills that ensure success at the college or university level, and are also vital in today’s interconnected world.

IB faculty can attest to the program’s uniqueness first hand. In a PBS NewsHour segment from 2018, IB teacher Kathleen Busoni said:

"The IB is not about one singular exam. So for one course, a student might do a group project or an oral commentary, but then they might also do extended writing. And then they might sit down in May and take a timed exam. But each course has at least three different assessments that combined together give a score. That is unique and important. It gives students the ability to show their excellence in several different ways."

Offered around the world, and online

Originally designed for international families, the IB program remains popular among international schools outside the Americas. Today, IB programs are increasingly popular in the United States.

For international families who move often from country to country, or continent to continent, the IB is a standardized program that makes changing schools an easier transition for students, particularly if the move occurs mid year.

Dwight School, an early pioneer in offering all four IB programs in the Americas at each of its five physical campuses around the world, has long offered the IB Diploma Program. As of 2021, Dwight offers IB courses online through the Dwight Global Online School, Dwight’s “Campus in the Cloud.”

Research proves positive outcomes

Praise about the IB’s methods and outcomes, and about the success of the IB Diploma Program, are not simply anecdotal. They are backed up by educational research.

The International Baccalaureate organization collaborates with colleges and universities to produce rigorous research studies, commissioned by the IB, about the impact of the IB on students.

In a 2021 IB Diploma Program study measuring competencies and skills, IB Diploma Program students scored higher in critical thinking and global mindedness than students engaged in other curricula.

Research shows that IB Diploma Program students attend university or college in higher percentages than students not enrolled in an IB program, attend more competitive colleges and universities, get higher grades while in college, and graduate in higher numbers. Other studies on the IB Diploma Program curriculum, policy, and assessment research can be found here.

In 2018, Dr. Siva Kumari, the IB Director General from 2014-2021 said,  “The successful IB student is one in whatever field they've chosen, they're able to be the person that colleagues consider a mindful person who asks the right questions, who is able to drive consensus, who is able to provide the long view on things and be the wise person in the room.”

The benefits of earning an IB Diploma are many, beginning in high school and lasting through college and into a student’s professional career. Reach out here for more information on Dwight School’s IB program, and the Dwight Global Online School.