The Extended Essay is an integral part of the IB Diploma Programme and extremely highly valued by University Admissions Officers worldwide. Students engage in an independent research project and write up their findings in a 4000-word essay, complete with academic citations and references. They choose a specific area of focus, usually from within their DP subjects, but beyond the confines of the syllabus. They formulate a thought-provoking research question, commence with a literature review and then produce an academic essay with their own findings, observations and conclusions.
When students reflect on their research process and achievements, they usually acknowledge how much the Extended Essay has taught them with regard to conducting independent academic work, accessing scholarly information, referencing their sources and managing their time. University Counsellors regularly acknowledge the Extended Essay as an ideal preparation for university and cite the transferable skills acquired in the process as a major point of difference that sets IB students apart from other applicants.
At H.I.S., students are robustly supported throughout the process. They attend induction sessions and presentations about the expectations of the project and the necessary research and referencing skills, given by the Extended Essay Coordinator and the School Librarian, and they are allocated a personal Supervisor with subject expertise in their chosen field to guide them through the various stages of the project. Inevitably, this process is not without its trials and tribulations, but the sense of pride and achievement the students feel on overcoming these and completing their first substantial academic assignment is often a promising foreshadowing of future academic successes.