Decisions, Decisions: The Art of DP Course Selection

Big decisions can cause serious stress in our lives. Even small decisions – an invitation to a party, say – and our minds teem with hesitation: Should I go? Who will be there? Is there a dress code? What do I bring? 

We want details – details are important in decision-making! The more we know, the more assured we become. The more assured we are, the easier the decision becomes: RSVP 'yes' or RSVP 'no'.

The transition from the Middle Years Programme (MYP) into the Diploma Programme (DP) is no party, but it comes with the same reluctance. It's a period marked by equal-parts anticipation, hesitation, and a whole lot of questions: HL or SL? Diploma or Course? Which second language would I like to explore? Biology, Chemistry, or Physics? All the while, the parallel probe into universities, programs, and career paths produces its own unique set of deliberation and doubt.

What's the difference between an IB Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) Course?

Both SL and HL courses are considered honours level courses with a difference in scope and depth of subject.

In HL courses students are expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding, and skills on the course subject. As well, HL courses involve more hours of instruction and study, which is why the number of HL courses one student can take is limited.

Some Post-Secondary Institutions and programs offer university credit when a high grade level is achieved in an HL course.

Truth is, we'll probably never have all our questions answered or be entirely sure about our decisions. What we can do, however, is learn as much as possible: research our options, ask ourselves hard questions, and be honest in our answers. Talk to people – a lot of people! – and explore. Get those details.

Each Grade 10 student will take part in information sessions, one-on-one family meetings, and individual advisories. Students get to know their counsellor, and their counsellor them, forming a relationship with the person who will support, encourage, and push them for the next two years.

Meadowridge students making the transition from the MYP to DP, and from DP to university do just that. Our post-secondary program is designed for students to challenge what they think they know, acquire what they might want to know, and add to what they don't yet know.

It all begins with a research project in Grade 10.
Guided by our post-secondary team, students look into universities and university programs from around the world. It's not about finding the closest university, or the most popular, or the one a distant cousin attended. It's about finding the right fit, and the right fit is different for every student. So students conduct an in-depth study, going beyond the basics, beyond the namesake or location or program. They consider every detail: what's the weather like? Would I be happy in year-round rain? What about class sizes? food offerings? student housing?

Grade 10 students take part in the annual Course Selection 'Speed Dating' activity


Read more about the Grade 10 Course Selection 'Speed Dating'

Roadmap to University Article Screenshot

Read the article

Then it goes further.
Students work backwards, listing what courses they'd need to take, and what grades they'd need to earn, to get into each university. "This helps keeps things in perspective," our post-secondary counsellors explain When students are in the bustle of the DP, they have a destination to drive them and a roadmap to reference.

Each Grade 10 student will take part in teacher talks, learning about each course from the teacher who teaches it. Students learn about unit structures, assessment information, and the difference between Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL) courses... and they'll also just talk. "The teacher talks are where the flavour of the course comes out," our counsellors share, "students can really get to know the teacher and their style."

Finally, each Grade 10 student will take part in course selection 'speed dating', an activity that pairs up peers for 'real talk'. Students meet with DP students, students in Grades 11 and 12, to find out what the DP is really like. They can ask anything, and they'll get an honest answer.

By the time the DP course selection rolls around, students have a lot less doubt.
Coming into adulthood and making exciting, challenging choices can be, as Mrs. White puts simply, "Scary." But it doesn't need to be. Our post-secondary team is making sure of that.

It's all in the details.


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