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Stories for the first semester at university

Each year we invite IB alumni to share their experiences, interests and advice with our global community in the graduate voices series. Here, these Diploma Programme (DP) graduates share their perspectives on navigating their first years at university.

Cambridge, Ma: Students and tourists rest in lawn chairs in Harvard Yard, the open old heart of Harvard University campus  in Cambridge, MA, USA.

Arriving at university for the first time is an exciting yet nerve-racking experience. There is much to consider, from finding your place, determining meaning from your education and determining the rest of your path in life. These Diploma Programme (DP) graduates have been through it all and are here to help relieve some of your stress by sharing their experiences and helping you through the process.

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7 steps to master the university quarter system

Seerat Chawla helps you successfully navigate the university quarter system and make the most of the schedule.

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My transition from high school to college

Eduardo Flores Linares shares how he overcame the challenges and doubts he faced in choosing a university and a major.

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Engineering a career change: Applying your skills to a new field

Sally Runions shares how she used her existing skill set to transition an unused degree into a career she loves.

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The unexpected choice: Why to pursue a master’s in Europe

Gözde Duru Aksoy offers her take on  university in Europe, where you’ll find academic rigor and new cultures and experiences.

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First degree, the second time

Johan Byttner shares his motivation for entering, leaving and then returning to university for a second time to finish his degree.

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The road less traveled

Vincent Blake shares his take on the values of choosing community college after graduation from the small class sizes to campus culture.

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Navigating the “first-gen” label

Kymberley Chu shares her unique experience of being both a first-gen student at UC Davis and as a third-culture kid.

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The major race: Figuring out what to study

Seerat Chawla knows choosing a major daunting for students with varied interests. She shares her advice for those still “undecided.”

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3 notes on what your transition to a university

Rucha Benare shares her perspective on studying as an international student from India at Trinity College in Dublin.

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Five tips for university life

Skills, connections, personal development and fun. Ruth Mwangase shares her five-point list to tackling university.

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First days at university

Flora Maile Felix tells us about how her experience in Austria benefited her education at the University of Vienna.

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How to find your calling

Before studying at Cambridge, Billy Chen looked closely at his interests & identity and found his calling in architecture.

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Understanding study abroad

“A study abroad experience looks different for everyone,”says Halley Rose, whostudied abroad in both France and Denmark from the US

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Too much on your plate?

As you take on more responsibility, life gets busy. Civil engineer Matthew Ferby inspires us to take time reflect and reassess for success.

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Adapting to a changing world

With unexpected circumstances and new challenges, Safinah says, “the future will not be about what you know, but how you know it.”

Defining your superpower

Thea found her superpowers that led her to success as an engineer and project manager—tenacity, perseverance, and grit.

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Failing calculus (twice)

How one DP grad learned that calculus “isn’t a subject to be learned, but rather a skill to be practiced,” and turned failure into opportunity.

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How the DP prepared me for university

“I learned how to succeed and thrive in a rigorous environment,” says Haley Clasen. She shares how she carried those skills with her to university.

Transcripts, results and admissions

Every year, we get questions about ordering transcripts and accessing results. We’ve put everything you need to know in one place.

50 international scholarships

Our list of IB scholarships from institutions worldwide to support your educaiton.

Top IB scholarships

IB credit at US universities

Many US universities offer course credit for IB exams. Find out what you may receive.

Getting IB credit

These stories are included as part of the alumni guide to finding and applying to university.

More stories about university life:

The value of an English literature degree
Sunniva Midtskogen on the value of literature, even if it does not come with a career pathway.

Havana to Harvard University
Lucas Cocco, International School of Havana, talks about applying to universities in the United States.

Journey from student to urban planner
Dilys Huang discusses how the IB Diploma inspired her to pursue a career in urban planning.

What my experience was missing
Emily Paglicci found a way to give back to the community by joining an organization that raises funds for accessible children’s healthcare.

Careers that didn’t exist before
Adrian Aleman chose Biomedical Engineering, a degree that didn’t even exist until recently.

Who will you be after the IB?
Kimberly Rightor reveals how students define themselves and decide what success means to each individual.

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