The International Baccalaureate program witnessed an increase in popularity this year, with 40 students originally involved, compared to around 30 people who usually sign up. Throughout this year, only two students have discontinued the program. They both have reported feeling overwhelmed, saying that the program was “not for [them]”, but still credit the program as a whole.
Junior Zoe Scofield originally signed up for the IB program because she wanted a challenge and a different experience than the traditional high school curriculum. Scofield originally thought that IB’s smaller class sizes and international approach to learning would provide this. But after experiencing the program, she found that it wasn’t exactly what she was looking for. Instead it brought an increased workload and extra worry about her classes.
“It was kind of a personal realization,” Scofield said. “I don’t do well with stress and I just didn’t want to spend the rest of high school stressed out.”
What Scofield notes though, is how beneficial the program can be, even if it wasn’t right for her. Many students find IB to be a creative outlet where they can experience different learning methods and elaborate on their traditional education.
Junior James Dodds also decided to quit the IB program earlier this year for similar reasons. Because both he and Scofield were not passionate about IB, they have transferred into AP courses.
“It was pretty easy to transition [into AP classes],” Dodds said. “But I had a lot of things to catch up on so I had to work pretty hard.”
One of the main differences between IB and AP is not the core classes themselves, but the other activities that are required for IB. For example, IB students at East must complete 150 Community Action and Service hours that demonstrate their flexibility outside the classroom. There are also specific language and art requirements that IB students must fill.
AP does not have these requirements and allows students to make their experience more individualized and personal. For this reason, it is usually easier for students to transfer into AP from the IB course rather than vice versa.
“The program is really good, it just wasn’t right for me,” Scofield said.