If your school offers the IB curriculum and you’re gunning for the full diploma, you’ll need to get the Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement out of the way. Unless the policies change, CAS requires you to complete 150 hours of activities that (obviously) relate to either creativity, action, or service. These are meant to supplement the academic work you do, so an activity won’t count if it’s part of your coursework. Similarly, CAS activities are usually meant to be unpaid. Here are some examples of CAS activities:
- Working for the school arts publication
- Starting a photo essay project
- Writing and producing a children’s book and donating it to a children’s hospital
- Joining a sports team (whether in or out of school)
- Participating in an individual physical activity like yoga, running, etc.
- Hosting a fundraiser/sports festival for kids and donating the profit to a charity
- Volunteering at a local animal shelter
- Organizing a beach clean-up
- Collecting used books and donating them to a school
CAS activities can fall under one category, two categories, or all three. The amount of CAS hours you’ll receive is meant to be negotiated with your school’s CAS coordinator. Additionally, you’re meant to find individual supervisors, fill out CAS forms, and write reflections for each activity you pursue. CAS can be very tedious, but it is necessary in order for you to graduate and get your diploma. Take a look at these five tips that can help you manage CAS and finish it as early as possible.
1. Don’t get lazy with writing reflections.
Writing at least three reflections (before, during, and after your activity) will be a lot better than having to cram multiple reflections at the end of the school year when CAS is due. Write your reflections as you go through each activity so that you won’t have to struggle to remember what you did by the end of the school year.
2. Be conscious of the ‘evidence and documentation’ requirement.
CAS requires you to provide pictures and evidence of any work you’ve produced. When you’re carrying out an activity, remember to take pictures and to obtain samples of the work you’ve produced. It will be a lot more difficult to chase after other people for pictures, and everyone is so busy documenting their own progress that they’re unlikely to have taken any pictures of you.
3. Pick activities you actually enjoy, and that will benefit you later on.
CAS will be a lot harder if you don’t tailor your CAS activities to your interests. Be strategic and pick activities that won’t feel like work to you. Pick activities that you can also use in the future, like doing something that adds to your art portfolio or something (meaningful) that you can place on your resume.
4. Take advantage of school-sanctioned activities.
It can be difficult to plan activity after activity, especially when you’re balancing CAS with academics, extracurriculars, and (maybe) a life. School-sanctioned activities can count for CAS, so take advantage of the opportunities available to you at school that won’t require so much transportation or external resources.
5. Work on activities that will get you a large amount of CAS hours.
Try to pick a few meaningful activities that will help you reach the target of 150 hours quickly, rather than several small activities that only get you a few hours from each category. This will help you save time and learn how to focus on the activities that will really help you later on. You’re also less likely to have to write several reflections this way.
Try to look at CAS as something that you can use to build on your strengths and help other people while doing so. If you see it as just another graduation requirement, it will be a lot harder for you to complete, and it will definitely seem like much more of a burden. Good luck!