February 7, 2020
Year 13, or senior year as it is called in the United States, is a confusing, emotional time. It is regarded as the final year of childhood, the final year of being home with parents for most. Without question, this final year of mandatory school is special in many ways, and there are many advantages which come with seniority at schools all over the world, including ISL, but also the high school which I attended in the US for two years. At ISL, Year 13s get a spacious student lounge, whilst US high school seniors get student parking spots. Seniors in the US also get to enjoy the famous night known as prom, but this is counterbalanced at ISL by the incredible graduation day in which Year 13s not only have a ceremony but also an evening gala. So, where do you get the most advantages as a senior student: at ISL or at a typical American high school? Face-off below…
Student lounge vs. student parking spots
The first important point to settle this debate: spaces available for students on school facilities. ISL boasts a student-friendly lounge, where both studying and catching up on sleep can be achieved. Usually, tables for studying are filled with students during free periods whilst the beanbags lined up next to the wall are mainly used in the morning before homeroom. In general, the lounge is a very advantageous space as it is reserved for Year 13s and even has the oft-used ping pong table in order to procrastinate as much as needed. On the other hand, student parking spots in US high schools are very frequent. Entire parking lots will be dedicated for seniors, who usually all have their own car. This is a massive plus for students: no need to worry about finding parking around campus, and complete freedom from Mom, Dad and public transportation as well. More than this, parking spots on campus are usually reserved one semester or year at a time, meaning that you will always have somewhere to put your car, no matter if you are late to school. Verdict: American high schools take this one, as the advantages of guaranteed parking on a daily basis is just too good to be denied.
ISL graduation day vs. Prom
The graduation day at ISL is top notch stuff. There is absolutely no doubt about that. First, the day starts off with a massive ceremony at the EPFL’s Swiss Convention Center, a beautiful venue for a ceremony which is planned to the millimeter by students, teachers, and parents alike. To top it off, the day ends with a gala at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, one of the most sought-after venues in the region. There, guests get to enjoy dinner, dancing, and pictures all at once to commemorate two years of the Diploma Programme but also the years leading up to it. American high schools, as much as they value graduation, are mostly known for prom. Often shown in movies and TV shows, prom is a staple of the American high school experience. Prom has it all: dinner, dancing, flamboyant dresses and slick suits, and even a celebrity appearance in some cases. The only caveat? The venue is decided solely by the year group’s ability to raise money in the three years of high school leading up to the event, meaning that if you are part of a year group which has absolutely no class spirit, you’re in for a not-so-memorable prom. Verdict: ISL takes this one, simply due to the significance of graduation, the outstanding planning which goes into it and the impressive venues which students get to enjoy for an entire day in June.
Skipping the lunch line vs. massive prank day
To choose a winner, small details make a massive difference. As a Year 13 at ISL, you get to skip the high school lunch queue and go into the North Campus cafeteria with middle schoolers, meaning you get your warm meal so much faster. Might not seem huge, but trust me, once you’ve done it once, you cannot imagine going back. American high schools, on their side, are notorious for their high-quality prank days, where many regular school rules are thrown out the window and seniors get to cause absolute chaos for an entire day: to younger students and teachers equally.
Verdict: ISL. Why? Because getting a quick lunch just makes your day that much better, and ISL Year 13s get to carry out some pranks as well, despite the rather low amount of freedom they are given compared to American high school seniors.
Final winners: ISL Year 13s