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6 Things I Wish I Had Known as an IB Graduate Getting Ready for College

Maya Grodman is the IB’s University Relations Administrator at the IB Global Centre in Bethesda, MD, USA.  She also an IB graduate of Collège du Léman International School in Geneva, Switzerland.


Congratulations counselors – you and your students have made it through the IB exam period! As your students are saying goodbye to the IB, and many are getting ready for college, it might be a good time to give them some last pieces of advice. Here are some things I wish I had known when I finished the IB!

  1. Come up with fun ways to keep in touch with your closest friends from high school once you have all left for what’s next. Facebook is a good way to stay connected, but finding more personal ways can help keep the connection strong. Plan to write snail mail letters once a month, or have a weekly music share where you send each other a new song that you love. And definitely check out the IB Alumni Network so you can always be in touch with your IB family!
  2. Keep your IB study guides – seriously! Especially if you’re planning on majoring in something you took in the IB. My notes from HL Theatre Arts helped me so much in my Drama major, and my SL Biology notes helped me get through my college science requirements! You’d be surprised at how much what you learned in IB classes can be applied to college classes – and, believe it or not, life in general!
  3. Don’t feel like you have to share your IB scores with everyone else in your class. You’ll probably receive a lot of texts on July 6, but you are well within your rights to keep your scores to yourself if that’s what you would like to do.
  4. When you get to campus, the IB can help connect you with other students. Some of the first friends I made in college were a girl from Turkey – we bonded over the struggles of our SL Mathematics IA – and a girl from Ohio, who had written her HL English A Paper One on the same book that I had written about. Keep an eye out for those other IB grads – we really do have a lot of shared experiences!
  5. Do what you can to make sure your university recognizes the work you did in the IB. Whether or not there is an IB recognition policy in place, you can always ask your advisor or dean if you can get college credit, or be placed in an advanced class, because of your IB experience. Be prepared to refer to the IB syllabi, or to talk about your papers and exams – they may say no, but you may be the first person to bring this up to them. You never know if you don’t try!
  6. The future is exciting, and there are lots of college plans to be made this summer (possible roommates, on-campus job, figuring out which dining hall is better so you can try to live in a dorm closer to the best food, etc.), but you just worked INCREDIBLY hard to finish high school and the IB, so it’s OK to take some time to relax this summer!
    Maya Grodman at the Collège du Léman graduation in 2009

    Maya Grodman at the Collège du Léman graduation in 2009

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