Our Distinguished IB Program
A rigorous, internationally recognized course of study, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program is offered in over 3,900 schools in more than 140 countries across the world. In 1992, Country Day became the first school in the state of North Carolina to offer the program and continues to be the only school in the state that offers students a chance to earn the prestigious IB Diploma in an independent school setting.
Though academic rigor is at the core, IB is not just about achieving high grades—it is about developing a genuine passion for learning. Each year, about 20% of our juniors and seniors choose to direct their own learning through the challenges and personal growth presented by this unique Country Day program.
“Academics are the first priority of the IB Program, but we also stress the education of the whole child, which includes an emphasis to get out of the classroom and into the community.”
STEWART PEERY ’98, IB COORDINATOR
The IB Program at Country Day
The IB Diploma Program is designed to establish a standard for international education and cultivate the skills necessary to succeed at the university level. The two-year program provides juniors and seniors with a well-rounded curriculum, promotes international mindedness, develops research, writing, and thinking skills, and emphasizes reflection and growth. Students who successfully complete this comprehensive international curriculum are well prepared for college and are routinely accepted to top colleges and universities throughout the world.
The IB Diploma Program is best suited for students who think critically, desire rigorous academics, and are committed to personal growth both inside and outside the classroom. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to earn an internationally recognized IB Diploma in addition their Country Day diploma.
What is Required of IB Students?
The IB Program's emphasis on critical thinking, passion for learning, research skills, and writing underscores what is already occurring across the disciplines in Upper School. IB, however, does have specific requirements for a "diploma candidate."
Diploma candidates must complete course work in six IB subject areas. Course work may include papers, presentations, portfolios, and exams, and is specific to each discipline. They must also take a course called Theory of Knowledge, write a major paper based on the study of an original research question, and be regularly involved in and reflect upon extracurricular activities. To earn the IB Diploma, a student must complete all of the above and receive passing grades on all IB assessments. In completing the IB requirements, students will also complete all the Country Day graduation requirements.
- What Is IB?
- Who are IB students?
- Do IB students receive a Country Day diploma?
- Do colleges recognize the IB diploma?
- How many schools offer IB?
- What courses do IB students take?
- How do students apply to the IB program?
- How many students choose IB?
Top Third of Class—For a student to have a valuable experience in the IB Diploma Program, he or she must demonstrate academic readiness and personal values that align with the mission of IB.
Artists—IB students perform in school productions and choral and instrumental groups, participate in cultural clubs, serve as editors on publications, lead the Coffeehouse talent show, and have won Scholastic Art Awards.
Athletes—Many IB students are two-season athletes or play on year-round club teams, have earned state championships and all-state player honors, and serve as team captains.
Global citizens—IB students participate in Country Day international travel, global interest clubs, global service, and hosting of exchange students.
Engaged citizens—Inside and outside of school, IB students serve others through activities such as Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors, Refugee Center volunteers, Promising Pages interns, and First Tee tutors.
Leaders—IB students serve as leaders in student government, as club presidents, as editors of the Hook student publication, and leaders within the Diversity Awareness Forum.
Passionate—IB students are passionate about learning and personal growth. They thrive in an atmosphere of authentic, student-directed learning, and are willing to take risks, explore new ideas, and grow as an individual and a citizen of the world.
American universities and colleges fully recognize and honor the IB Diploma, and it offers the added benefit of being recognized by universities worldwide, opening additional opportunities for Country Day students. In addition, colleges may offer credit or placement for high IB scores.
Consider this quote from Marlyn McGrath, director of admissions at Harvard University: “Success in an IB program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are pleased to see the credential of the IB Diploma Program on the transcript.”
As of December 2018, there are 4,964 IB schools in 153 countries, and Country Day is proud to be the oldest IB Diploma Program school in North Carolina. Our small class sizes are essential to successfully developing the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills that the IB Program promises for students.
Below are typical course selections for IB, but there are many possibilities beyond what is listed below. Each IB student will craft an individual schedule based on their experiences, graduation requirements, and academic strengths. Visit the IB curriculum page for course descriptions and contact Stewart Peery, IB Coordinator with any scheduling questions.
Typical junior year courses include:
- IB English 11
- Precalculus or Calculus
- IB Chemistry or IB Biology
- IB World History
- French, Spanish, Latin, or Chinese (multiple levels available)
- Theory of Knowledge
- Free Period
Typical senior year courses include:
- IB English I2
- IB Math (multiple levels available; dependent on junior year)
- IB Chemistry or IB Biology (if not completed during junior year)
- IB History of the Americas or US History
- French, Spanish, Latin, or Chinese (multiple levels available)
- IB "elective" such as Visual Art, Theater, ITGS, or Psychology
- Free Period
Students interested in the IB Program apply during third quarter of their sophomore year. An admissions committee comprised of IB faculty will review student essays, transcripts, and teacher recommendations. Admissions decisions are in mid-March. Acceptance to the IB program is not binding, but all admitted students will have a conference with Stewart Peery, the IB Coordinator.
During sophomore year, many Country Day students are choosing between regular college prep, honors, AP, and IB courses for their junior and senior schedules. To enroll in the IB Program, a student must complete an application, be accepted, and register for IB courses. Annually, about twenty percent (or 20-30 students per grade) of the junior and senior classes are enrolled in the IB Program.
Country Day was the first private school in North Carolina to offer the IB Diploma Program. Our small class sizes are essential to successfully developing the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills that the IB Program promises for students.
For questions or additional information about the IB Diploma Program, please contact:
Stewart Peery '98, IB Coordinator
I feel completely prepared for college. The IB Program has taught me to always keep myself open to opportunities for discussion and debate, and it has inspired me to be a lifelong learner.
MAX KEPLEY ’14
American universities and colleges fully recognize and honor the IB Diploma, and it offers the added benefit of being recognized by universities worldwide, opening additional opportunities for Country Day students. Country Day's most recent IB Diploma recipients attend these fine institutions:
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Davidson College
- Duke University
- Yale University
- Johns Hopkins University
- University of California at Berkeley
- Middlebury College
- Hamilton College
- Institut d'Economie Scientifique et de Gestion
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Virginia Tech University
- Kenyon College
- North Carolina State University
- Elon University
- University of Richmond
- Northeastern University
- Wake Forest University
- Southern Methodist University
- Washington and Lee University
- Boston University
- Washington College
- Furman University
- University of Georgia
- University of South Carolina
- New York University
- East Carolina University
Past IB graduates have also earned prestigious merit-based scholarships, including the Morehead-Cain (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Park (NC State) scholarships.