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The Interview – Part II – The IB Diploma and Branksome Hall Asia

Previously, we discussed how the university interview seems to be gaining more traction as a critical part of the application process for top ranked and direct entry universities. This article is an examination of how the IB program and Branksome Hall Asia help prepare our students for the Interview process.

One issue facing our students’ learning in their second language involves the fact that their written and academic English tends to outstrip their conversational and extemporaneous speaking ability. International students possess fluency, but typically lack flexibility in answering open-ended interview questions. The ability to draw interdisciplinary connections and express these clearly is a skill that helps students to shine during university interviews. The breadth provided by the IB program allows our students to have a more holistic view of the subject, which hence, allows them to think critically and respond laterally to open-ended interview questions. Top universities are looking for natural conversation and passion on a given topic or within a discipline. Students need to build fluidity in their dialogue and be able to engage openly in the conversation rather than approach it as a question/answer exchange. The IB program and the preparation students receive at Branksome Hall Asia help our students to build these skills.

The IB classroom features discussion and two-way communication between teacher and student. Every member of the class is encouraged to speak up and voice their opinion. This style of teaching produces students who are capable of original thought and who are confident in  expressing their perspectives. This student-centered teaching approach also produces students who are strong listeners and who are willing to be informed by others. However, this integrated learning process is only effective if our Branksome Hall Asia students participate in the back and forth dialogue that characterizes the IB classroom.

Oracy is the focus for Branksome Hall Asia this year. By placing such a high emphasis on our students gaining oral fluency throughout the school, students are placed, long-term, in a better position to be successful in life. A major additional benefit of this school-wide focus is that our students will be better prepared for the interview process.

Specific core programs such as the Extended Essay, the Theory of Knowledge course and CASE/CAS allow experiential opportunities to Branksome Hall Asia students to challenge their knowledge formation, extend their passion, and create formal and informal opportunities to develop flexible cognition.

Our next interview article will feature specific tips and BHA resources that are available to students and parents to help with the interview process.


By Branksome Hall Asia University Counselors