Then And Now: How the Process of the Personal Project Has Changed


Dennis Racket

Sophomore Showcase: The MYP Project is a significant project for sophomore students looking to continue in the IB program in their 11th and 12th grade years. However, recently, there have been major changes made to the nature of the Personal Project, so dedicated Dubs are working hard to adapt.

The Exhibition Project is an important aspect of the beginning of the path to IB. During this Exhibition Project, many fifth graders take weeks––or even months––to find a mentor and choose an issue to be the focus of a major presentation. While this might feel like a tiresome task, this project is ultimately the crucial starting point leading into the Middle Years Program and eventually the completion of the Personal Project (which then leads students into the full IB Program). 

Although there are countless steps involved prior to entry to the IB program, there are two that are particularly vital, including the completion of the Personal Project and a minimum score of 500 on the Reading Section of the PSAT. All steps play a major role in a student’s last days in the Middle Years Program and student’s first days in the IB Diploma Program, but arguably the most critical part is the Personal Project. To help students through the completion of their Personal Projects, sophomores are assigned a teacher who guides them through the often complex aspects of the project. “It is incredibly important for students to use time-management skills, especially in order to balance long term deadlines along with more recent deadlines,” Dr. Nikia Showers said.  

This year, as students arrived back at the building after over a year away, there were many changes to the school day and curriculum. Debatably, one of the most drastic changes was how students were asked to complete their Personal Project. Last year, although doing the Personal Project was still mandatory to be able to get into the IB Program, the process of completion was vastly dissimilar. “With part of last year being virtual, it was very hard to talk to my advisor privately and that made the process somewhat more confusing for me,” said junior Ella Kaufman. “In addition, I basically had to do my whole project online because it was impossible to bring a finished product into the building.”

While consulting with advisors and finishing a product not based online proved to be challenging last year, there were some benefits to being online while completing the MYP Personal Project, including not having to present in front of an entire class and working in the quiet of home. “While there were some hard parts of being online during the MYP Project, for me it was almost better since I am more introverted,” junior Sophie Haines said.

With the start of the 2021-2022 school year, students from all grades arrived back in the building fully nonvirtual, and because of this, the process of the MYP Personal Project was altered once again. Sophomores are now asked to present their presentation in front of their entire class, but can talk in-person with their advisor and bring their final product into school. Sophomore Halle Pray said, “My project was oriented around a dress I sketched in third grade. The overall goal was to sew a dress that looked very similar to this drawing. Since my final product was a dress, it was very necessary to be able to bring it into school. Therefore, being in person has definitely helped me to complete a more high-quality product.”  

Even if the road to finishing the MYP Project has changed over the years, North Atlanta students always find a way to make their circumstance work, exhibiting what truly makes one an exceptional IB Dub!