10 Reasons to Choose the IB Diploma Programme (DP)

Education Editor, The Maples Academy

The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) high school program for students aged 16-19, the Diploma Programme (DP), is a solid contender in the selection of public and private high school programs. If you’re a parent searching for the best private schools in the GTA and you’re considering the IB Diploma Programme, look to these ten reasons for some convincing:

1. Students become well-rounded and multi-lingual.

The IB recognizes the importance of strengthening the student in multiple disciplines. When students enter the IB Diploma Programme, they grow not only academically, but they also have opportunities to grow artistically and athletically as well. Students become competent in French and other languages, hone artistic talents and participate in athletic activities. In applying to university, it’s extremely valuable to have a breadth of knowledge and skills under your belt, which ensures that IB Diploma Programme students have an advantage over non-IB applicants. They are given the tools and support they need to become the multi-talented, versatile candidates who prestigious university programs are looking for.

2. Students learn through hands-on activities.

IB DP students are taught concepts in a tangible lesson, so that they proactively engage with material and become self-motivated to learn it. Unlike standard high school education, IB DP students are granted the independence they need to form logical conclusions on their own, and to discover enthusiasm in learning new material. The IB hands-on approach allows students to connect with curriculum, rather than to passively sit back and listen to a teacher’s lecture for the duration of a class.

3. The IB Diploma is a globally recognized achievement.

An IB Diploma not only sets a student apart from other university applicants, but the IB DP is recognized by well over 2000 universities from 74 countries around the world. It’s not just a superfluous diploma — it’s a diploma that international academics recognize as a much higher level of education than standard high school diplomas which are not only different worldwide, but are also less individualized for the student and considerably less intensive.

4. The IB Diploma Programme teaches effective learning skills.

One of the ten “learner profile” characteristics essential to the IB method is Inquiry. This means that students are focussed on discovering new concepts for themselves, by themselves, and learning how to ask key questions along the way. Beyond Inquiry, the IB emphasizes Thinking, which inspires students to delve deep into their important questions and reason with logic to find an answer. The focus on processes rather than material alone allows them to develop learning skills that will benefit them in university and in life.

5. Students learn subjects in conjunction with one another.

The IB approach to learning is conducive to overall success in that it isn’t a linear system. High school students attend numerous isolated subjects during one school day, which can easily overwhelm, confuse and demotivate them. IB DP students value the connectivity of their program, in that it is intended for students to relate subjects to one another within a global context. The standard method of keeping subjects isolated prevents students from applying classroom material in real life, and where non-DP high school students cannot swiftly see connections between science and humanities courses, IB DP students learn to identify connections across a wide range of disciplines. Along with effective learning skills, application is essential for encouraging lifelong learning.

6. Students grow more confident in their abilities.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of IB programs is their recognition of personal growth. Students are taught in a supportive environment which fosters a sense of confidence in their abilities, leading to consistent work ethic, goal-setting and motivation. The IB DP is learner-focussed, which means that along with teaching a breadth of knowledge and effective learning styles, teachers encourage their students’ success by building self-assurance and independence.

7. The IB Diploma Programme teaches more than academics.

Interpersonal values and ethical decision-making are fundamentals in the IB approach. The IB DP believes that the whole student’s success is founded by not only curriculum and extracurriculars, but also by the way students approach success and life in general. Students are taught to be good communicators, risk-takers, team members and caring citizens who are open-minded and knowledgeable about other cultures. Non-DP programs often focus too much on academics, forgetting that students need to develop valuable characteristics that will carry them through school and the rest of their lives.

8. The IB Diploma Programme uses an individualized approach to learning.

A program that is centred on learning, the IB Diploma Programme is designed to give students an outstanding amount of support. Students are unique individuals, with unique thought processes, goals, strengths and weaknesses. Education that approaches every student in the same way undermines students’ differences in abilities and learning style preferences. The IB individualized method recognizes students as unique individuals, meaning that each and every student is given the right amount and type of support suited to their needs. Standard programs do not focus nearly as much attention on individual students, whereas IB DP teachers tailor their support to their students. In doing so, no student is disadvantaged and isolated because of a generalized approach to teaching.

9. The IB Diploma Programme focusses on university preparation, rather than just completion of high school.

High school education is no doubt a crucial stage in the student’s journey. However, merely completing high school credits does not guarantee a student’s preparation for what comes next. In fact, studies show that high schools students are often not adequately prepared for university. The IB program combats this problem by focussing on more than a diploma, but rather, a diploma earned through comprehensive education — comprehensive in that it anticipates university-level expectations. IB DP students develop the necessary work ethic, responsibility and independence to tackle university, in comparison to standard high school students, who are not specifically encouraged to be independent, self-reliant learners.

10. University admission teams seek out and consistently accept IB DP students.

Lastly, the globally-recognized IB DP is valued by university admission teams. Students who graduate with the IB Diploma are advantaged in their acceptance to highly-regarded universities, because the expectations for a good university candidate are the foundation on which the IB DP is built. A preparatory program that molds the whole student academically and personally, the IB DP consistently fosters an exceptional rate of university acceptances. If university is a priority in you or your child’s life, the IB DP can almost entirely guarantee preparation and acceptance into an impressive university program.

To sum up the IB Diploma Programme benefits, it is versatile, student-centred, intensive and highly regarded by global institutions. While there are plenty of advanced curriculum programs available, the IB DP is certainly one of the best programs for ensuring overall success when deciding between the top private schools near you.

The Maples Academy (JK-Grade 8) is the leading private IB School (PYP) in the communities of Orangeville, Caledon, Shelburne, Grand Valley and surrounding areas. The Maples Academy is a part of a family of schools: St. Jude’s Academy, The Maples Academy and Oakwood Academy. Our faculty are world leaders in IB education, providing fundamental skills. Phys. Ed, Arts and language specialists nurture the whole student, which ensures our graduates are accepted into their chosen high school. Supported by faculty and parents, our students are inspired to confidently make their mark in the world. Visit us at themaplesschool.com