The International Baccalaureate is BROAD. But at the end of the IBDP two years, most students apply for just a single subject at university, for example, ‘history’ or ‘biology’.
We know that the IB is the most demanding and worthwhile programme around – but sadly, still, some interviewers and university administration tutors do not. Here’s our elite advice on how to successfully ‘pitch’ all of your intertwined IB learning experiences that make you the perfect candidate for a place at a top university!
Make a list of all of your IB subjects and CAS activities. Then, think carefully through the list, and identify exactly the skills and insights you’ve gained from each experience. If you’re just about to start the IB, then you’re reading this at the perfect time! – Take brief notes throughout your IB years. If you’re already stuck into the IB or even finished (yay!), it’s not too late to start thinking and jotting. Perhaps look back through your planner diary to jog your memory.
Once you’ve identified the IB experiences that set you apart, think harder: how, exactly, do these skills support your application for a particular university subject? If you’re uncertain where to start, then select one week’s topic from your ToK course. First, the A-Level crowd doesn’t do ToK, so straight away you’re looking fresh. Second, think: what exactly did you learn in that session that has given you a new viewpoint, insight, or skill that will make you great at the university subject you’re applying for?
As well as giving the interviewer or the admissions tutor reading your personal statement clear examples of how you fit their course, this picking apart of your IB experience implicitly demonstrates your ability to analyse – oh look – another skill that top universities are scouting for.
PRACTISE EXPRESSING YOUR HARD THINKING
Whether you’re writing your personal statement or aiming to win over the interviewer better versed in A-levels, you must practise expressing yourself. Once you’ve bulleted the key skills you’ve gained from the IB, practise speaking and writing succinctly and confidently about them.
Google past interview questions and plan answers. Then record yourself giving the answer. Leave the recording for a day, and come back to it – do you sound enthusiastic? Did you realise you said ‘umm’ ten times? This listening back bit can be painful – but it’s worth it! Analyse yourself and try again. This will give you confidence at the interview that you can perfectly ‘pitch’ yourself and your IB.