Strengths -- very efficient and effective in teaching the IB, studious academic culture, very motivated teachers and students, lots of camaraderie between students, lots of help where needed from teachers and peers, good amount of support for non-native English speakers, around 4-5 hours of classes everyday allowed for students to pursue lots of extracurriculars. Weaknesses -- the curriculum moves very fast, making it even more difficult for non-native English speakers, there is a lot of focus on the IB and I believe this takes away from giving UWC values the attention they deserve. At Pearson, there is a constant battle of sentiments amongst the student body regarding the amount of focus we put collectively on academics. On one hand, some students are adamant about the UWC experience being for UWC rather than being sucked away by the IB; and on the other hand, some students have more at stake academically and need to focus on the IB. This speaks to the differences in privilege we come from -- for some students, doing well academically is the only way to bring themselves and their families out of poverty, while for others, it is a privilege. Generally speaking, there is respect between these two viewpoints, but the pressure to spend more time socializing and learning from each other is definitely more present at UWC than it would be at other IB schools. That said, students at Pearson are always helping each other study, reviewing each other's work, and supporting each other in any way possible. There is a great deal of camaraderie in the academic life at Pearson.
UWC offers the International Baccalaureate program and as such provides an education second to none. Students study with kids from all over the world so it helps them to get a better perspective of our global village and how each of them can use their individual skills and talents to make the world a healthier and more sustainable place to live. The school provides career councillors to help students recognize the areas they excel in and are inspired by. Students who graduate from UWC are accepted into renowned universities and colleges.
The IB put everyone under a tremendous amount of stress and compromised some of the school's principles, I believe. The students are very high-achieving, which is both motivating and difficult for students to compete. The real difference became clear when certain students were aiming to get into American colleges and needed top scores. A clear division came about between those for whom academics were a priority and those for whom it wasn't. Personally, I was only able to attend the university I did because I received a UWC scholarship. Therefore, I can attribute most of my development to my experience at UWC.