Autumn has arrived in the northern hemisphere, which means the university admissions season has officially begun. One IB Diploma recipient offers his advice on how to navigate the university admissions process. He also reflects on his IB Diploma Programme experience.
When deciding upon which universities to apply, Justin Parker, a 2013 graduate of Brooke Point High School in Stafford, Virginia, suggests searching for schools that align with your interest and goals. He recommends that students “seek out an institution that will best equip you to pursue your passions.”
During his own application process, Justin researched universities with strong academic programs in the field of international relations and applied to eight universities. Of these institutions, he applied for the early decision route at American University with ambitions to enroll in the accelerated 3-year Global Scholars Program. “I chose American University because I felt that this institution was best placed and equipped to ensure that I am prepared to handle the large issues of the future revolving around nations and security.”
The IB challenged me to consider international perspectives and account for differences in thinking.
While completing his degree, Justin has studied abroad twice, first in the UK and then in Russia. “The IB challenged me to consider international perspectives and account for differences in thinking,” said Justin. “My first experience at Cambridge University in the UK exposed me to a wide range of critical thinking. I took this one step further when I studied at Moscow State University for International Relations in Russia. At both these institutions, the importance of international mindedness and diplomacy stood center field in the lessons.” With all of these experiences combined, Justin found himself at the Pentagon interning for the US Department of Defense. There, he was able to observe diplomacy from a security perspective and interact with partners from the Baltic region and members of the EU Parliament.
The IB Diploma Programme (DP) really pushed me to balance my life … I know how to prioritize and spend time on things that matter. I live life more now, because I never feel like I’m just wasting time.
In addition to the international mindedness of the DP, Justin also attributes much of his university success to the programme. While it can be challenging to perform well academically while also maintaining extracurricular activities and social life in high school, these pressures prepared him for university life. “The IB Diploma programme really pushed me to balance my life,” said Parker. “I know how to prioritize and spend time on things that matter. I live life more now, because I never feel like I’m just wasting time.”
Contributing author Kari Lorentson is writing about the experience of IB graduates at universities around the world. Lorentson studies at American University and previously attended Fishers High School. Contact her at email@example.com.