Q:

I have been accepted into the International Baccalaureate program at the local high school. I really do not want to be in it, because I don't believe that it will allow me to be involved in as many extracurricular activities as I would like. Also, I don't feel that I am motivated enough to be in this program. Another thing that I don't like about the program is the fact that you barely get to pick any of your classes.

My mother, on the other hand, loves the idea of my being in this program and says I have no say so in the matter. Would you please give me some advice about what I should do? - Struggling

A:

Students who are forced into a program at school are not likely to do as well as those who really want to be in it. Don't be too quick, however, to make your decision until you know exactly what the program is like and what it can offer you.

The International Baccalaureate program is a demanding two-year curriculum for very motivated students aged 16 to 19. It was originally established in 1968 so students moving from one country to another would have a common curriculum. Many high schools in this country now have this program, which leads to the well-respected IB diploma for those who show that they have met set standards.

Admittedly, the IB program is challenging; however, it is excellent preparation for college and will give you the opportunity to earn college credit for these classes. In the state of Florida, where you live, there is the additional bonus of access to college scholarships. Be sure to consider these benefits.

You should talk to teachers and students in the IB program, go online to the program Web site at www.ibo.org, and look at program materials. Your concern about not being able to be as involved as you would like in extracurricular activities might not be realistic, because the creativity/action/service/ component requires 150 hours of a wide range of activities. Also, the IB courses might be very similar to those you would choose to prepare for college, and some electives may be taken within the program.

Since you and your mother are currently disagreeing about your participation in this program, get your counselor to serve as a negotiator. The program might not be right for you if it doesn't focus on your interests.