It is that time of year, when many final year IB students have applied to universities or other higher education institutions and are awaiting response. On top of all of the work at this point in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP), this can be very stressful! Applying to universities and other institutions is more competitive than ever, and selection is tough. The pressure is high to achieve top grades, do multiple extracurricular activities and stand out from the crowd.

My name is Emilie and I studied the IB DP from 2013 to 2015. I know first-hand how insecure all of the pressure can make you feel – it certainly made me feel that way. I did not feel like I had a “wow” factor or did anything particularly special, and my predicted grades did not really differentiate me from other students applying to the same universities. What I did not realise was that by doing the IB DP I was already differentiating myself from a lot of people. The IB DP offers a diverse and challenging education, and admissions personnel in higher education know this. On top of that, as an IB student you complete CAS and that really gives you something to talk about in your application letters. By completing CAS you will have completed extracurricular activities such as playing a sport and doing charitable work. You might not have done this if you didn’t do the IB and therefore many other students won’t have!

At the moment I am completing a one-year business internship here at Pamoja as part of my university degree. Over the past eight months I have gotten to know Pamoja and its courses very well, as I have been working in multiple departments. I have learned that Pamoja Taught students sometimes find the independence required for online learning challenging. However, by developing essential skills like self-motivation and time management, online courses are preparing you for university in a way that face-to-face classes aren’t. At university I have eight contact hours per week – the rest is spent studying independently, meaning self-motivation, discipline and time management are vital skills to have to achieve good grades. Also, most of the materials for study are online, in the form of e-books, articles, quizzes, and more. Some lectures are even delivered online now! Pamoja Taught students therefore have an advantage when going to university, as you have the necessary skills and experience to dig into the course material early and achieve the best grades possible.

Furthermore, by coming into contact with other learners from all over the world, collaborating across continents and gaining knowledge of different cultures, you’ve likely learned to work with and adapt to different people and their working styles, as well as strengthened your intercultural understanding. This will not only help at university, but also in working life where many organisations are incredibly international. What has your experience of this been? Talk about it! It’s something unique that sets you apart from other applicants. So, put any insecurities aside and have confidence in your application! You’ve got this.

Emilie Boreel is a Business Management Intern at Pamoja.


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