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IBDP: Opening the Doors to University

July, 2010
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The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a pre-university course of study over a two-year period. It is generally considered to be a well-rounded yet rigorous programme and in recent years has become widely accepted by universities around with world who want to enroll students with the self-study and research skills needed to succeed at the higher education level. At the IB Asia Pacific 24th Annual Regional Conference in March this year the focus was on the IB Mission, “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” With this mission in mind the IBDP is an excellent preparation for success in both university and in the globalised world.
ycis-ib-1sUniversity Acceptance
The IB Diploma is widely welcomed by the world’s top universities, and most universities now have an admissions policy for IB students. The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has a directory of 2545 universities with a policy for IB but many more will accept IB students on application. The websites of Oxford University, Harvard University and the University of British Columbia all state their requirement for IB applicants. The University of British Columbia states that, “The International Baccalaureate Organization and UBC share a common vision – that global perspectives are the key to education. That’s why so many IB diploma and certificate holders find success at UBC.”
In 2003 the IBO carried out an inquiry into perceptions of the IBDP by UK universities in order to “evaluate the IBDP as a suitable perpetration for degree studies in the UK”. The results showed that the IBDP was perceived positively across the board. 96% of respondents were satisfied with the preparation for university that IB students had received. Most respondents appreciated the confidence, wide knowledge base and skills encouraged by the IBDP. Moreover, the IBDP was rated ahead of national qualifications (A levels) in terms of the breadth of knowledge students achieve. This positive trend towards the IBDP has continued over the past seven years and now more than ever IB diploma holders are welcomed into top universities. 
At Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing, an authorized IB World School offering the IBDP in Years 12 and 13), the current graduating class of 27 students have received over 115 university placement offers. A number of students credit their success in part to having studied the IBDP. Shyam Iyer, graduating this year believes, “YCIS has given me a gift that has truly revolutionized me as a human; the gift of opportunity. I have had the chance to attain my potential as a student through the IB Diploma Programme.” Over the past 40 years the IB has provided students worldwide with the opportunity to excel.  
ycis-ib-2sDevelopment of International Baccalaureate
The International Baccalaureate was founded by a group of teachers at the International School of Geneva (one of the oldest and largest international schools in the world) in 1968. With the assistance of teachers from other schools, they developed a curriculum designed specifically for ‘internationally mobile students preparing for university’. Over the past 40 years this initial curriculum has developed into the IBO, a non-profit education foundation which provides courses of study for students from 3-19 years old. The IBDP is the most well-known and respected course and has a strong reputation. The IBDP is growing in popularity throughout the world in both state and private schools. In a 2009 article from Newsweek on the Top 100 High Schools in the USA, 39 of those listed were IB World Schools. The growing popularity of IB is most likely because it provides a holistic education and matches the educational needs created by globalisation.
Language focus
One major focus of the IB which is important for international students is language acquisition. Carol Inugai-Dixon, Language Learner Manager of the IBO explains, “We see the world in three dimensions only because we have different views of the same scene from each eye. The same applies to language: having two linguistic perspectives enhances our depth of understanding of the world.” The IB also places an emphasis on developing and celebrating first language ability. A strong first language promotes a strong sense of identity, self-esteem, and academic ability. Therefore, all IB learners must study literature in their first language (A1) and an additional second language.
International Baccalaureate in Beijing – Choosing a school
Any school wishing to offer the IB programme must be authorised as an IB World School and commit to ongoing assessment and professional development. Although all IB schools in Beijing have met the same standards to offer the IB programme, the courses offered vary. Some schools offer the PYP (Primary Year Programme) and MYP (Middle Years Programme) whereas some offer a different course for younger years and the IBDP as the pre-university course of study. Schools may offer different subjects for students to choose from and may offer the IBDP only to students who can take English as a first language (A1). On the other hand some schools in Beijing offer Chinese and/or Korean as the A1 language. When choosing a school it is a good idea to carefully research which programmes and subjects your child will be offered. You may also want to look at past exam results and the school’s track record for university acceptances.     
The Director General of the IBO Jeff Beard states, “IB programmes are international, develop critical thinking skills, require a second language, and emphasize cultural understanding in our principle that other people can be right as well. IB students undergo a unique experience which better positions them to tackle today’s global issues in a more creative way than has been done in the past." YCIS Beijing also believes in preparing students for the globalised world by providing the best of Eastern and Western education and developing caring, well-balanced and globally minded students with a strong emphasis on language acquisition. The YCIS Beijing IBDP has been running for five years and offers a wide range of subject choices including English, Chinese and Korean as A1 languages. All YCIS Beijing students are encouraged to achieve the IB diploma and are supported through their studies by an experienced and caring teaching team and diverse bilingual learning environment.    
To find out more about the IBO please see www.ibo.org. To find out more about YCIS Beijing’s IB programme please see www.ycis-bj.com or contact info@bj.ycef.com.
By Peter McCombe,
YCIS Secondary Coordinator
IB Learner Profile
The IBO has identified the characteristics of a typical IB student in the IB Learner Profile; Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced and Reflective.


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