Where Music & IB Take You

Christmas is a great season to celebrate love, togetherness and good news!  During the Christmas holidays, Mr. Gavin Johnson, BIBS Shunyi MSHS Principal, brought to the BIBS senior management team a piece of excellent news.  Our David Xu, a BIBS G12 student, has been offered admission to Berklee College of Music which is a premier world’s music college  conservatory in the United States.


This is definitely great news for David, who has been with Beanstalk since grade one, as well as for all the school management and teachers who knew David well.  They all send their congratulations!

We are sharing with you below David’s perspective and experience of the university process from his previous presentation at school.

Q:What, in your opinion, is/are critical to college applications?

David Xu : I personally believe that my two-year IBDP program has been instrumental in preparing me well for college admission and future studies.  The Diploma Programme (DP) develops both the breadth and depth of knowledge of its students.  If you choose your DP subjects well, it will help your college applications immensely.  Take myself for instance, I have a passion for music so I chose to study DP high level music which involves musical perception and both creating and solo performing.  It is quite challenging and the extended essay which is an independent and self-directed piece of research also takes quite some efforts and time to prepare.  But I believe it will all be time well spent as I build my capabilities and readiness for college along the way.  Many college admission officers actually kicked off their interviews with me by asking the question of “are you an IB student?”  And my answer “yes” would always make them happy.  This is because they have confidence in IB students for the qualities and capabilities they have developed with an IB education.  So in terms of college application and DP course selection, my advice for the younger students is that you need to know your passions first and make preparations accordingly and also as early as possible.

Q:The IB qualities you mentioned that the college admission officers particularly like, what are they?

David Xu:The DP program contains three core elements and six subject groups.  But that is not all.  There are many other important aspects of learning involved.  For example, Approaches to learning (ATL) develop skills that have relevance across the curriculum that help us “learn how to learn”. They provide us a solid foundation for learning independently and collaboratively and for becoming self-regulated, intrinsically motivated learners.  These skills help us to communicate with others, dare to try new things, manage our life and studies well, and build our leadership and confidence.  The IB education is not just about academic studies.  It provides us the opportunities to grow as a whole person and is therefore globally recognized by universities for the holistic and rigorous education it provides.

Q:Any advice for younger students in terms of college application? 

David Xu:DP is a very challenging program with its academic rigor and holistic approach.  But my experience told me that the school would try its best to accommodate our reasonable requests and schedules.  When I had some really serious schedule conflict once, I talked to my teachers to ask for a grace period of one day or two so that I could balance between a paper delivery deadline and a college admission interview.  That helped me a lot in achieving my goals.  The school also provided us many other counseling assistance and guidance.  The school will take care of all the recommendation letters and student transcripts.  There were also constant updates and timely reminders to help us stay on track with our college applications.  So if you follow all the school instructions and make preparations accordingly, things will turn out to be much easier and smooth.

Q:In your particular case, how is your school helping you to become who you are now?

David Xu: BIBS provides us a wide range of afterschool activity choices.  I have been a huge fan of football and a member of the school football team.  At school, I enjoy going to football matches with other international school teams.  In addition to football, there are so many more sports choices out there for student to enjoy and stay health.  We have good facilities as well as good coaches both internally and externally.  My school also helped me to find opportunities to hone my music and performing skills.  I attended annual music festivals with my band.  I played at hotels and international schools for school events.  These performing opportunities were all brought to me by our school.  The school and teachers help us grow by providing what we really need.


As for my passion for music, I went for DP high level music at grade 11 and I was the only student in the whole grade that chose that subject. In other schools, you need at least three or four students to start a certain subject.  But my school knows how I have been eager to cultivate my musicianship and want to excel in music as a career.  So they found me a very good musician teacher and I actually had one to one music tutoring at school.  This prepared me well for all my future studies and interviews.  My family and I are so grateful for what the school has done for me.


My experience proves that BIBS is a school that cherishes and nurtures students’ individuality and holistic growth.  If you can find your passion and work hard here, everyone can shine.