The intensive, exhausting and exciting process of the IB Extended Essay

From investigating Nigerian feminist fashion to American waste reduction, from the Mexican Revolution and peasant land-reform movements to nihilistic film, Great River senior IB Diploma candidates are curious people! 

IB Diploma candidates from the Class of 2019 finally completed their IB Extended Essays (4,000-word argumentative research essay on a topic of their choice with the support of a GRS mentor) on December 21, delivering the final essays to their mentors on a silver platter. 

Earlier in the autumn, faculty mentors and senior IB Diploma candidates shared tea and cookies as they talked through feedback on drafts of the essays. Alumni regularly report to us that the Extended Essay process prepared them for college writing. As a graduate from last year wrote, "The extended essay is the most valuable skill you will have going into college. I have already written similar style essays and knowing how to approach the writing process has been very helpful."


On January 9 IB Diploma candidates from the classes of 2019 and 2020 gathered to celebrate and share wisdom about the extended essay at the 75/25 party. (Senior IB Diploma candidates are 75% finished with their pursuit of the IB Diploma, while juniors are 25% completed.)

Read the draft questions from this year's seniors' Extended Essays:

  • ISIS and social media: how terrorists use the internet to their advantage — To what extent does social media help groups with little influence to increase both their hard and soft power? 

  • How effective is humanitarian intervention? 

  • To what extent is there a correlation between agrarian revolution and capitalist modernization in 20th century Mexico? 

  • How can Americans reduce their annual waste output? 

  • To what extent has nihilistic film and television affected the film industry? 

  • How does the depiction of the 'other' in narrative military propaganda film function as validation for both the motivation of the main character as well as the films central ideology? 

  • What role do economic philanthropists play in the feminist fashion movement in Nigeria? 

  • How and in what ways do underground subcultures of music influence mainstream music and music culture?