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Matching up IBDP EE Advisors & Students

As the IBDP Extended Essay (EE) Coordinator at my school one of my most important tasks is helping each student to find an appropriate advisor and then supporting both the advisors and the students throughout the process. Ensuring that every student has an appropriate advisor and that no advisors are overloaded is always a bit of a puzzle, especially with a large cohort of students. To quote Fiddler on the Roof "Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match, bind me a bind, catch me a catch!".

As part of my EE process the very first chance students have to chat with potential advisors is at the EE fair, which happens in October of Year 1 at my current school (see my blog post about the EE timeline I use here).

At this event I post all of the EE Subject Guide posters around the room (see the image below for an example), arranged by Group number (all of the Group 3 Individuals & Societies together, all of the Group 4 Sciences together etc.) and then have the teachers who teach those courses and have knowledge of those topics stand near the relevant posters. Students then wander around the room reading the different subject options and exemplar research questions and chatting with advisors about their thoughts at this early stage. While this is very early in the process it does get students to start thinking about their various options over the next few weeks in class.

One of our Science EE advisors next to the Group 4 Subject Guide posters during the EE Fair this year

About six weeks after the EE fair students make a formal request for their EE advisor. I have them submit two different advisor requests, both with the Subject area they would like to register their EE under if they work with that teacher and some ideas for their topic of investigation. This allows me to ensure that the subject area and therefore the advisor are appropriate for the student's ideas. I also explain to students that they should speak to their desired advisors in advance as making an in-person request is both appropriate and considerate. That being said, I am clear with students that I will be coordinating with teachers on the final match.

Once students have submitted their requests I begin to go through the matching process. We limit each teacher to 3 EE students, so I start with the teachers who have 3 or less students who have requested them and send them a formal email notifying them of the students and subject areas requested, then seek confirmation from the teacher that they are ok to take on those student(s). For example, this year we had two students whose first choice was Chemistry so I emailed our only IBDP Chemistry teacher who was happy to take both of those students on as EE advisess (see this email below).

Sometimes there are many students who wish to work with one teacher and this can be a trickier situation to navigate. For example, this year we had six students who all wanted to work with the same Global Politics teacher, since this was far too many I relied on the teacher to decide who they wanted to work with. After the Global Politics teacher made their choice I was able to match up the remaining students, one with their second choice of advisor and the others with another teacher who they did not request, but who I know has experience in teaching the subject from a previous school.

After a couple of weeks and dozens of emails finally all of the students have advisors, and this is always an exciting moment. At this time I send a reminder email to the advisor and students about the next upcoming due date and reminded the students that it is their responsiblity to seek out their advisor throughout the EE process. I often attach the role of the student and role of the advisor infographics I made to keep things clear for everyone. Here is an example of what that email might look like.

After then initial match-up both students and advisors will be able to attend information sessions and access resources such as the EE Format Checklist, EE feedback form and all drafts uploaded through TurnItIn which we use for both plaigarism and AI detection. I make it a habit of emailing reminders of important due dates with resources attached or linked to both students and advisors in the same email (as seen above) this encourages transparency and makes sure everyone is getting the same information.

I hope this post was helpful as you begin your IBDP Extended Essay journey.

Thanks for reading teachers, travelers and curious souls of all kinds.

The Roaming Scientist



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I'm the kind of teacher who is always trying something new, new labs, new Apps, new scaffolds and even new countries to live and teach in. I'm looking forward to share what I learn with you all through my weekly blog posts. 

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