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  • Yana Artemov

Is Tesoro High School Missing out on the Ultimate College Prep Program?


As students at Tesoro High School, we are offered a variety of ways to challenge our minds and impress colleges from the many Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes we can fill our schedule with. Our school is even home to several rigorous and educational organizations and clubs, such as National Honors Society, Mock Trial, and Model United Nations. There is one thing missing - IB classes. The question is, are we really missing out?


Officially known as the International Baccalaureate program, the IB program’s focus is on helping kids to think critically about the world around them and make connections to build a better, more peaceful world. The IB program’s holistic approach to learning places a big emphasis on teaching everything in a global context. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1969 by a group of educators hoping to impact their generation’s youth in a positive way, the program has now spread to over 7,800 schools worldwide. California is home to the largest number of IB schools in the United States with 120 schools in total. Nearby high schools such as Capistrano Valley, San Clemente and Mission Viejo offer their students IB classes.


While there are many similarities between the AP and IB programs, there are several differences. Mainly, the IB program focuses on how students relate to the world and each other in a global context, while AP courses are centered around earning college credit. Although those enrolled in AP classes may argue nothing could be more challenging, some students find the IB program and its aim for students to think critically makes it harder than AP classes that require simply memorizing and understanding information given in class. Most colleges and universities don’t prefer either one, but the exclusivity of the IB program gives it a certain appeal. The teaching methods used within the IB programs also help shape students to be better prepared for college and the real world, where facts and figures will likely not matter as much as problem-solving and critical thinking.

Overall, the IB program offers students a skill set more in tune with the world than the traditional AP coursework does. Though not having access to an IB program will certainly not keep you out of a good college, it certainly wouldn't hurt. As the process to become an IB school takes around two to three years, perhaps it is time for Tesoro to consider the possibility and let future students have the opportunity to earn an IB diploma.


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