How a Tailored Study Programme is Helping Aiglonians Follow their Passion Pathway
When Pew Research asked parents to share their aspirations for their children, the overwhelming majority — 98% — said one of their top priorities was for them to end up in a career that they enjoy. That makes sense. To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, a huge amount of our life is spent at work, so we had better be doing something we’re passionate about.
For many young people, it will be a long time before they know what those passions are. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), which most Aiglonians study, lends itself perfectly to that, since it covers a real range of subjects, including two languages, mathematics, science and the arts. Students have time to continue exploring their different areas of interest without needing to specialise too early on.
But for a smaller group of students, their passions are very clear, even from a young age. That’s where the Aiglon High School Diploma programme comes in. This High School Diploma is accredited by the USA-based New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), attesting to its high quality and integrity — allows students to focus on subjects that otherwise would not be available on the IB Diploma track. “It allows students to not be tied to the strict requirements of the IB Diploma, and instead develop other areas that they might be passionate about and excel in,” explains Patience Fanella-Koch, Director of University Advising at Aiglon College.
Ms Fanella-Koch and her four-person team of advisers offer personalised guidance to help students understand where their strengths and passions lie, and what that might mean for university applications and future careers. “We create long-term relationships with students as they grow, and we help them figure out who they are, and what they want to do with that discovery going forward.”
For some students, that might involve focusing on languages. “We’ve had natural linguists in the past who wanted to study three or even four languages,” explains Ms Fanella-Koch. “That just wouldn’t be possible with the IB Diploma.” For others, the time freed up by not having to take all the IB classes has allowed them to double down on subjects they already know they will continue once they graduate from Aiglon. “We’ve had talented musicians who have followed the Aiglon High School Diploma programme because it gave them more time to focus on their talent,” says Ms Fanella-Koch.
All graduating students are awarded the NEASC-accredited Aiglon High School Diploma. “We’ve had students who have been passionate about subjects like hospitality and business studies,” says Ms Fanella-Koch. “The High School Diploma track gives them time in their schedule to focus on things that will help them excel in their given choice of study.”
For example, students who have shown an interest in audiovisual studies have been given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience alongside professionals working in that field. “They can do things to build their portfolios, to build their résumés and build their experiences, so that they stand out when it comes time to apply to their chosen universities,” points out Ms Fanella-Koch.
And stand out they do. In recent years, students who graduated from the Aiglon High School Diploma programme have been accepted into some of the leading universities for their areas of interest: the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, one of the world’s top universities for the study of hospitality and business management; Bucknell University, one of America’s top liberal arts colleges; and University of the Arts London and Berklee College of Music, to name a few.
Ultimately, the Aiglon High School Diploma programme is about helping Aiglonians be the best person they can be, regardless of where their passions lie, says Ms Fanella-Koch. “It allows us to create tailored programmes that develop students’ existing skills and work to their passions.”
- Aiglon High School Diploma
- IB Diploma
- International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
- Patience Fanella-Koch