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Lara Sweeney '21 Achieves Impressive IB Diploma Score

September 23, 2021


Congratulations to Lara Sweeney, a member of the class of 2021, who received a 43 point IB score, the highest score in Léman history, and an achievement only awarded to 3.2% of the students worldwide who participate in the IB Diploma Programme tests. 

We spoke with Lara, now a freshman at Loyola Marymount University, to learn more about her experience in the IB Diploma Programme at Léman and how she feels it prepared her for the challenges of university and Léman. 

How do you feel the IB prepared you for college?

The IB program equips students with many qualities that prepare them for success in college. The level of academic rigor fosters in students perseverance and determination. Above all, the IB teaches students to be well-rounded, versatile students who think critically and have the ability to analyze texts and situations. These skills are incredibly useful not only for my college classes but also to understand the world better. Lastly, there is no better preparation for college than the independence that is required and encouraged in the IB program. 

What challenges did you face in your IB classes?

Besides the intellectual challenge that is an inherent part of the IB program, the greatest challenge for myself and for many IB students is the ability to find a balance between the demands of the program and extracurricular interests. I would say it is incredibly important to not neglect social relationships because of the workload, and this can only be done by developing excellent organizational and planning skills. This past year presented a very specific challenge with the onset of the pandemic. One of the integral parts of the IB program is being able to actively participate in class discussions, which we had to learn to do in a variety of virtual ways.

What did you learn about yourself as an IB student?

Being able to make choices about which areas of study to concentrate on at higher levels allowed me to think about the subjects that I was most passionate about. Being able to focus more time and energy on areas of study that are interesting to me allowed me to fuel my work with passion and curiosity. I learned that when you do things with passion, you perform better. Doing quality work led to newfound confidence in my abilities as a student. The encouragement and guidance of my IB teachers allowed me to gain confidence and emerge as an authentic and committed learner who realized that learning for learning’s sake is an exciting and motivating notion.  

What are your aspirations in college and beyond? 

In college, I am planning to major in sociology with a pre-law track. I first became interested in the study of social problems during a class I took called Human Geography. This interest continued and was cultivated in many of my IB courses including the literature we discussed in English, the historical events we analyzed in History, and the complexities of culture we explored in Spanish. In addition, my Economics and Environmental Science teachers helped me assess various other factors that contribute to the plight of immigrants all over the world. All of these opportunities have ignited a passion in me to help the marginalized and become an immigration lawyer.  

Congratulations, Lara! We are so proud of you and sure that you'll be successful in college and beyond! 

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