Almost 400 years after its founding school opened in London, Dulwich College Singapore arrived in the form of a state-of-the-art green campus in 2014. With a reputation for excellence, Dulwich international students have a proven track record of gaining places at top universities around the world – including Oxford and Cambridge in the UK and Ivy League colleges across the US. For many, the heart of this success is through the outstanding results achieved through the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). We find out more from Head of Senior School DR JEFF AITKEN and some aspiring students.
Why do you think the IB Diploma is spoken of in such high regard by many educators, parents, and students?
The International Baccalaureate Diploma is an academically rigorous two-year educational programme for 16-to-18-year-olds and has developed a reputation for focusing on holistic education, critical thinking and global perspectives. By encouraging students to develop intellectually, emotionally, ethically as well as academically, the IBDP differs from other education credentials such as A-Levels in the UK or the HSC in Australia. This said, it’s no wonder universities tend to admit IB students at a higher rate than their non-IB counterparts!
How does the environment at Dulwich College (Singapore) help support students doing the IB Diploma?
As an academically selective school, the standards at Dulwich are high, but the emphasis is very much on a rich, wellrounded education. The educational environment is designed to support this holistic learning philosophy by nurturing the intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of students. The campus is reflective of this through its commitment to sustainability, open and collaborative learning spaces and shared values of community and culture. Students also have access to over 300 co-curricular activities, giving them the opportunity to identify and nurture their passions.
More specifically, what is the IB Centre and how does it work?
The dedicated IB Centre includes collaborative study areas, a common room, a kitchen and quiet study spaces alongside a university counselling suite and pastoral support offices. Supporting students on their journey is a strong and committed faculty and a dedicated university counselling team, who not only help them make informed choices about their future options based on their strengths and preferences, but also have excellent working relationships with the admissions departments of universities around the world. They also work hand in hand with the Dulwich parent community to create an exceptional learning environment for all students. The emphasis is very much on a “student-first” approach allowing students to follow their own personal pathway and choose options suited to them.
And is it useful that Dulwich College Singapore is part of an international network of schools? What kind of experiences does this expose them to?
Absolutely! Being part of a network allows Dulwich students to work together across schools, leveraging talent and resources to put on events, forge internal and external relationships and share experiences. This exposes students to rich and varied experiences that individual schools couldn’t offer on their own. By virtue of Dulwich College International’s relationships with leading educational and artistic institutions, students perform soliloquies under the tutelage of actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, sing with the Vienna Boys’ Choir and work with the innovative musicians from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. They also take an active part in group sporting, artistic, intellectual and leadership events, such as the Diversity series, the Dulwich Festival of Music, the Science Art Photo Competition, the Shakespeare Festival, the Dulwich Games, the Shackleton Lectures and the Student Leadership Conference.
2020 was a tough year for finishing students everywhere. How did those at Dulwich College perform?
We’re incredibly proud of our 2020 graduates! The first cohort of Year 13 students achieved an IB average of 37 (out of 45 points), against a world average of 29. What’s more, every student secured their first choice of university for September 2020, and their choice of studies reflected a broad spectrum of interests. Fields within the social sciences included law, economics, history and Chinese; the STEM field included computer science, medicine and health sciences; and the creative industries field included music, interior design and fashion design.
What’s new at Dulwich College for 2021?
We’re on a mission to help students visualise their personal pathway so that they can confidently pursue the career path of their choice. The pursuit of academic excellence is complemented with ground-breaking programmes in music, performing arts and sport. 2021 will see the launch of Ignite!, a new Exceptional Performance Development Programme, which is designed to support students who are committed to a career in these areas, to see the world of possibilities within their reach.
A word from Dulwich College students
“Going into the IB, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in university, which was something that caused a lot of stress for me. But with the help of my university counsellor, I was able to finally come to the decision to do medicine. Despite the late decision, my counsellor helped me to map out an appropriate and strategic pathway, helping me with any worries I had about the process. I have since received two interview offers as well as an offer for biomedical sciences.” Shinyi, Year 13
“Being able to do so many different courses has taught me a wide range of skills, whether it comes to critical thinking or the intricacies of writing different types of research papers. I’m sure I will be thankful for all these skills in my university years. Having come to the final stages of CAS (Community Action Service), I can now also see how much it has benefitted me as it ensured that I was strengthening non-academic abilities that I might have otherwise overlooked.” Doga, Year 13
This article first appeared in the April 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!