Initially I enrolled in IB because I felt I needed a challenge and the idea of taking the online Math HL course was very appealing. I was already a very self-motivated, independent learner and I believed I was well-suited to the opportunity that IB provided to delve deep into the various subject areas. IB required that I be focused and disciplined in the areas of time management and organization, but I never felt that it prevented me from participating in the activities that I loved, including varsity cross-country, badminton, table tennis, soccer, as well as being part of the Canada Games soccer team which involved travel to the city several times a week, and coaching Valley soccer and running soccer camps. It was challenging but worth it. The only time I considered leaving the program was after pre-IB when my friends did not continue with the program, however I am happy I stayed as I think even that experience has benefited me, as it forced me to expand my social circle and improve my communication and teamwork skills which has definitely helped me in university.
On a practical note, I did receive one full year of credit from Acadia University for my IB courses, so there could be a financial benefit to graduating with an IB diploma. I always planned to take the full 4 years for my bachelor’s degree, but the extra credit did benefit me as I was not required to take many courses outside my areas of interest, so I was able to take all of the core courses in Math, Computer Science and Physics, as well as some Engineering courses which helped me to explore various fields and leave my options open.
While the Extended Essay (in physics) and Theory of Knowledge components were not the initial draw to the program, and actually may have been slight deterrents, I feel that they improved my writing and presentation skills to the point that this might have been the greatest benefit of participating in the IB program: I received comments that my reports in University were well written and I myself noticed significant differences between my writing abilities and those of my group members in several courses; I received two research grants during my 2 years at Acadia, including a National Science and Research Council award and I was accepted as a transfer student to Harvard University this year. I am certain that my ability to write well and communicate effectively helped me in my grant applications as well as the lengthy admissions application process, so participating in IB definitely helped get me to where I am today, studying Electrical Engineering at Harvard University, and I am confident that the skills I gained will help me in my future endeavors.
Horton High School Class of 2017
Harvard University Class of 2021
Student Exit Surveys are completed each year by our grade 12 (year 2) IB students (see additional files section). The DP Coordinator has also received emails from students and/or parents regarding DP feedback. The feedback has been consistently flattering in regard to the preparation afforded them by the IB program. Here are some example testimonials regarding the IBDP at Horton High School:
- “The classes were very rewarding to study at depth levels and be challenged in subjects I enjoyed”.
- “Testing out with French B SL in grade 11 (year 1) IB is a good idea.”
- “Really thankful the school holds IB mock exams in early March. Although stressful it got me studying sooner and gave me a sense of the stress and testing conditions I would be experiencing in May much sooner”
- “CAS Day was fun”
- “Curriculum was great and I appreciated that the teachers were well prepared with knowledge of exactly what we needed to know…supervision and enforcement of the EE (staggered deadlines) was also helpful to keep on the proper timeline”
- “I really had great teachers and great friends”.
- “I learned a lot of things that are not included in academic classes.”
- “The EE really gave me a chance to become interested in a topic and dive further into it with independent research”
- “I really enjoyed taking a different language than French”
- “Teachers were encouraging. Course work was challenging”
- “Teachers have been very compassionate and understanding to our struggles”
- “I thought the best part of the IBDP was CAS. I got to do activities which were different from learning and I learned more about life. It made me be involved in things I otherwise may not have been involved in and enjoyed””
- “The IB Coordinator was very on top with keeping up with IB stuff.”
- “The EE was the best part of the IBDP. I enjoyed working on a paper of that length, improving my writing and research skills. I felt proud to have produced it at the end.”
- “Thanks teachers for being amazing!!!…and keeping us somewhat sane.”
- “I had a lot of fun with my EE and felt like it gave me really great skills for university.”
- “Excellent teachers, a big reason I stayed after Horton preIB”
Our older daughter is currently a 3rd year biochemistry major, doing great academically, did advanced science, math, physics courses and AP courses in high school…very science/math oriented.
Our younger daughter currently is in her 2nd year majoring in chemistry. She is also doing great academically, but did the IB program in high school…very science/math oriented.
“But what struck me at that time and to this day is that although both sisters are academically inclined, there is a difference between the two. The IB graduate is more in tune of what is happening in the world, politically, environmentally, culturally, and in fact it is quite enjoyable to have discussion (which sometimes turn into opinionated debates) with her but nevertheless very impressive opinions. I find her frequently bringing up to date or better say enlightening her sisters about what’s happening in the world.”
“There is also a financial benefit graduating with an IB diploma, although, they both graduated high school with same average, and got good scholarships, the IB graduate received a better scholarship, and one full year of credits and could graduate at the same time with her older sister.”
“I also should mention that the younger sister was told by some of her peers she would have no time for her social life if she enrolled in IB. What happened was she became an expert at time management which allowed her to enjoy her social life as a normal teenager would and this is now proving to be an asset at university.”
“My advice would be, if you think your child has the capacity to do IB and is a bit uncertain, help them understand the benefits of this program which will serve them long term.”
A mother of two Horton grads
“In the fall of 2015 I will be entering a pre-medical program at Calvin College (USA) as a member of their honors society. I believe that not only has IB given me the knowledge I need to be successful in my higher education, but has given me the confidence necessary to excel. Due to having completed TOK and an Extended Essay, tasks such as presenting and taking part in class discussions or completing an extensive research paper do not seem as daunting as they once did. During the many intellectual conversations that took place in my IB courses, my teachers impressed upon me that my opinions and thoughts are valuable and should be shared, even if not fully correct, and because of this I am a more active/participating scholar. IB also created a sense of curiosity within me, and gave me the skills necessary to explore these different areas of inquisition.”
Rachael Bouwman, Horton IB Diploma graduate, Class of 2014
“I was overseas for Grade 11. I was given the opportunity to do half of the IB diploma. When I returned to Horton for Grade 12, the IB was still developing so I could not continue with my diploma. Instead I opted to take 3 AP courses. If I could go back I would definitely choose IB over AP. IB forces students to develop two things to succeed: time management and work ethic. From my experience, these are the two skills which are the most important for success at the post-secondary education level. It doesn’t matter what one decides to do after high school, the IB is great foundation to jump start further education.”
Colin Vibert, 3rd year mathematics major at Acadia University
Dad felt that the ‘things’ his daughter did outside of IB classes (TOK, EE, CAS, extracurriculars) really made an impression with Admissions at Queens’s for a VERY competitive program (Business Management). She stood out.”
Mom felt that “IB really impressed upon her daughter the importance of getting organized and managing her time wisely. As a result, her daughter is now more organized than ever before, she manages her time very well and as a result is very confident with her abilities to deal with life at university”. Mom also felt that “IB courses went beyond the superficial & delved deeper into each subject while still emphasizing the inter-relatedness of subjects in much more detail.”
Parents of a Horton IB Diploma graduate, Class of 2014, whose daughter is studying business at Queens.
“Going to university as an athlete is a big change. You have to time manage, you’re living with your best friends, have to figure out your own meals, do your own cleaning,etc. IB has helped me with this transition. My IB credits have covered 2 courses that I would have had to take (Chemistry & English), it has allowed me to further understand what is going on in class as I am already familiar with the topics from IB, and it has allowed me to manage my time much more efficiently. With finals coming up here in Florida, it is weird because they last only a week, and I have 4 finals, only 3 being cumulative as opposed to a 3 weeks of exams with IB covering 2 years of cumulative material (a total of 10 or more exams!). I feel very confident heading into finals. I definitely do not regret taking IB and would recommend this program to other students. It has allowed me to have a fun experience at University despite the crazy busy schedule. ) I say it has allowed me to have fun because by being more organized and managing my time more effectively along with knowing the material being covered in class, I am able to relax and spend time with friends when the opportunity arises because I have my work done. I believe being in IB was a reason for why I was nominated for my program of study here, and then awarded the scholarship money I was awarded. IB did help me get a scholarship, but a lot of hard work was also put in to get that. Looking back at IB, I see it as a great accomplishment that hasn’t been anything but positive for me and I will always be proud of what I accomplished. ”
Jessica Shaffelburg, BSc Biology student, Jacksonville Univ., Florida, Horton IB Diploma graduate, Class of 2014
“I feel that IB has been a driving factor in my success in studying Engineering at UNB. The extensive curriculum often overlaps with university courses, which gives me a significant advantage in my studies. I also receive full credit for my 3 HL courses (English, Geography and Chemistry), which will allow me to get my degree sooner than if I hadn’t taken IB. In addition to these advantages, the HL English course provided me with presentation and essay-writing skills, which makes up at least a third of what I’m assessed on in university. The Extended Essay was also a very effective way to introduce me to writing long, self-driven research papers, a skill that has saved me several hours of work in my first term alone. The extra time and effort I put into my studies during IB have been rewarded by the free time it has provided for me in university.
I also found the CAS process to be rewarding in other ways, as it encouraged me to seek out opportunities to benefit my community. I was worried about having enough free time at first, but I found that I was able to use my usual extra-curricular activities to create CAS activities that were rewarding for both me and my community. CAS for me was not extra work, instead it was a different approach to things I was already doing. It also helped me fill out university and scholarship applications.
I feel like taking IB at Horton was the best decision I made prior to going to UNB. The work ethic and skill-set provided by the program has made my transition from high school to university as seamless as I could imagine it to have been, and I don’t regret a single iota of the effort that was required by the program.
To answer your specific questions…
I received a total of 17 credit hours from my IB HL courses. In comparison, full-time engineering students average 20 credit hours per semester at UNB, with 160 credit hours being required for an engineering degree. I do not know what the UNB policy is for scholarships and IB, but most students I have talked to received lower entrance scholarships compared to myself and Gisele. I can only speculate, but I believe this has to do with how generously they consider IB courses compared to standard academic courses.
I did not go to the University of Calgary, however when I applied there they offered me a relatively large entrance scholarship, and my CAS involvement was likely a significant factor in me being shortlisted for the Seymour Schulich awards. Had I attended, I also would have received course credits for each of my HL courses.
I cannot stress enough how important essay-writing and presentation skills have been in my courses at UNB. I feel like they have been my most important asset coming out of IB, especially since (as far as I am aware) there is no equivalent to the EE or the HL English assessments in the standard NS curriculum. I have a huge advantage in my courses as a result of these skills.
If you get any other questions from parents or students that I might be able to answer, feel free to email me at any time!”
Isayah Vidito, BSc Engineering student at UNB
Horton IB Diploma graduate, Class of 2014