Southwestern Classical Academy

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should a student earn an IB Diploma?
An IB Diploma is an internationally recognized symbol of educational quality. Colleges and Universities know that IB Diploma students have taken a balanced liberal arts curriculum and are fully prepared for the challenges of college life.

What is the "Extended Essay"?
The Extended Essay is a 4,000 word academic analysis conducted by each IB Diploma candidate. It is completed between second semester of junior year and first semester of senior year. The student researches and writes on a topic of his/her choosing, and has an Extended Essay Advisor to help with the process. The link to the oficial EE guide is here.

What is "Theory of Knowledge"?
Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, is a seminar-type course that explores the links between subject areas. It is a critical thinking course that encourages students to examine their educational choices and training.

What is "CAS"?
CAS stands for Creativity-Action-Service. In order to successfully complete the IB Diploma Program, each student must document approximately 150 hours of out-of-school activities that are evenly split among creative, action, and service oriented endeavors.

What are grades 9 and 10 doing to prepare students for the IB?
FSCA’s Middle Years Program curriculum (grades 7-10) is good preparation for motivated, responsible students to participate in the IB Diploma Program. There is no required “pre-IB” sequence of courses, however, coursework in fine arts and a second language are highly recommended.

What sort of student should be interested in IB? What skills are useful or necessary to an IB Diploma candidate?
Good attendance and work habits
A broad interest in countries, cultures, beliefs and customs
A willingness to participate in discussion and to work responsibly with others
A broad range of interests beyond the classroom
Motivation and self-discipline
The ability to self-advocate

What is the difference between AP and IB?
One big difference between AP & IB is the way students are assessed. AP tests are given in May and students are assigned a grade based on a single test performance. IB students must be enrolled in an IB course and assessment is based on a combination of the teacher’s assessment of in-class performance, tests given in May and, often, a student submitted portfolio/example of work.

I want to take advantage of an off-campus program the district offers. Will that fit with IB?
The IBO requires that students complete all of the course work for their IB classes on campus, under the instruction and guidance of FSCA IB teachers. The curriculum requirements for an IB Diploma usually mean students do not have enough time to participate in off-campus options such as skill center.

Which colleges and universities recognize IB, particularly here in Michigan?
IB recognition varies widely among universities. It is always best to talk with an admissions officer because most universities are constantly updating their credit recognition standards. All of Michigan's public universities recognize and give credit for IB Diploma courses. Credits are dependent upon the level of the course and the final mark achieved.

The IB Program sounds like a lot of extra work. What are the advantages of enrolling in the IB Program?
Students with IB Diplomas, who now attend universities, report that their involvement with IB has given them the tools needed to succeed at university and to make the most of their post-secondary education. In particular, students comment on their sense of preparedness, their self-confidence, their research skills, their ability to manage their time, and their willingness to be actively engaged in their own learning. Even more importantly, they have developed a sense of the world around them, their responsibility to it, and the skills with which to embrace the complexities of life. The IBO often employs a variety of phrases to describe these traits and abilities: "learning how to learn", "life-long learners", "critical and compassionate thinkers", and, "informed participants in local and world affairs".