EE, ToK and CAS

The Extended Essay (EE): Every IB diploma candidate writes an extended essay which is an individual research paper of up to 4000 words. Though initially an imposing challenge, the student is guided through the process beginning in the Spring of their 11th grade year - selecting a topic and choosing an advisor. The student then researches the paper over the summer. At the start of their senior year, they then turn in an outline, followed by a first then final draft. The extended essay allows the student to prove that they are capable of doing independent research and capable of communicating ideas and information in a logical and coherent manner. This process prepares the IB student for the individual research projects that will be required of them in college, and also is a piece of concrete evidence recommending the student to selective colleges.

Theory of Knowledge (ToK): Like the extended essay, sometimes ToK is referred to as 'extra credit' since students don't sit for a test in May of their senior year; however, this perception is incorrect! To receive an IB Diploma, the candidate must pass ToK. Still, ToK can be thought of as 'extra credit' in that points in ToK can 'make up' for a lower test score, and, on the high end can be the points that lead to college credit for the diploma itself as many universities require 30 points all told to receive additional college credits for being awarded the IB diploma. Philosophically, ToK is at the heart of the IB curriculum because it unites the disparate 6 subjects of the diploma into one integrated whole. Also, in college recommendations, ToK can be used to exemplify how IB students go above and beyond normal requirements as its components include an externally assessed essay based on ToK's interdisciplinary curriculum, an individual or small group presentation to the class (replaces state culminating project requirement), and a self-evaluation report.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS): The CAS component of the IB diploma asks the student to show that they are well-rounded individuals. The creativity component asks the student to develop his creative side; action requires the student to recognize the importance of her physical well-being; lastly, the service aspect helps the student to recognize that he needs to give back to his community even as he has benefited from it. Though the suggested 270 hour, 18-month commitment to CAS may at first seem daunting, it should be noted that all non-IB school related activities may be included in CAS as well as non-school related CAS activities. Additionally, CAS also helps to differentiate the IB student to selective colleges as this provision sets her apart from non-IB applicants. Though no points are awarded for this obligation, it nonetheless needs to be fulfilled to receive the IB diploma.