How The IB Prepares Students For University: An Interview With Asil Al-Shammari |



How the IB prepares students for university: an interview with Asil Al-Shammari

The debate over which curriculum provides the best preparation for university - the International Baccalaureate A-Levels - often frequents educational media. 

Recent studies have suggested that the IB provides superior preparation for university, and the perspectives of experts working in the field of University Admissions - University and Careers Counsellors as well as Admissions Officers - can provide crucial insights to the advantages that the IB brings.

We sat down with our University and Careers Counsellor, Asil Al-Shammari, to hear about the achievements and higher education offers of the Class of 2022, as well as the unique benefits of taking on the IB Diploma Programme. (You can take a look at our Class of 2021 IB Diploma results on our website.) 

university preparation at halcyon

Class of 2022 University Offers

Many of Halcyon’s Class of 2022 graduates have been learning at Halcyon since Grade 6. It has been wonderful to see our students flourish alongside our school community - and Ms Al-Shammari shares our pride for the growth of this group of young people. 

“I have never worked with a class that has such a variety of talent and expertise,” reflected Ms Al-Shammari. “From future vets, to doctors, to engineers, and leaders - as well as politicians, economists, and global thinkers.”

“They have continued to strive for more, and have gone beyond what is expected of them. This group is going to make a difference in the world, and have received amazing offers.”

Ms Al-Shammari explained that some of our students’ offers were particularly impressive. 

Thomas (Grade 12) received an offer to study a World Bachelor of Business from the University of Southern California (USC). ‘“This is a highly competitive and highly coveted programme that only takes what they describe as the ‘crème de la crème’. It’s fantastic that he received an offer,” shared Ms Al-Shammari. 

Our students are heading to destinations that range from the University of St Andrews in Scotland to the University of Toronto in Canada to study courses including Medicine, International Economics and Finance, Mechanical Engineering, Film Production, Veterinary Science, Politics, and much more.  

IB University Prospects: skills and experience

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is certainly a challenge - a challenge that ensures students are encouraged to develop the high-level skills they will need at university and beyond. 

In Personal Statements and other elements of a university application, “the academic rigour and readiness that students have shines through by itself,” explained Ms Al-Shammari. Studying six demanding subjects and “juggling the rigour of the programme alongside all the other requirements the Diploma has” isn’t an easy feat, and indicates a student’s diligence and capability from the very beginning of an application.

Our University and Careers Counselling Director lightheartedly added that she didn’t “have to work particularly hard to get students to show their skills - there’s always examples of organisation, leadership, and time management in the Diploma.” 

IB University Prospects: working with the wider world

Another requirement of universities includes a student’s demonstration of passion and genuine interest in their field of study - something that is nurtured by the varied requirements of the Diploma Programme 

“Their CAS programme has definitely proved to be a fruitful ground to develop care and interest in events and processes within the global community.” said Ms-Al Shammari.

“They’ve been able to authentically engage in issues that impact their world, and this also feeds into their academic success .Their Extended Essays have proved to be the pinnacle of their applications, especially to UK universities, to demo`nstrate that authentic engagement in key issues relating to the subject they want to study at a higher level.” 

Ms Al-Shammari concluded that the Diploma Programme’s Extended Essay is “so interdisciplinary that there will always be a connection between “what [students] want to study at university” and their choice of topic. Writing personal statements is much easier when the completion of the IB Diploma Programme requires students to express an advanced interest in a specific subject, as well as engagement in the local community, project-based assessments, and more - all things highly valued by universities. 

The IB Diploma Programme offers students built-in ways of exploring unique interests and developing the academic skills needed to thrive in Higher Education - and this is something that university Admissions Officers see.

Read more:

IB Student Profile: Lola, Grade 12, on the Diploma Programme

3 ways in which the IB prepares students for Oxbridge: an interview with Cambridge graduates

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