right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We've updated the Topics page of our website to better organize and share our expert content. Read more about it here.

Do colleges care about things like going from Physics HL to SL on transcript

durbandurban 39 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited August 18 in College Admissions
So I am planning to study Computer Science in the United States and I have heard that Physics HL is not super 'necessary' and dropping down to Physics SL will suffice as long as I STILL have Math HL which is much more important. I know maybe there's a slight help in being competitive in admissions, but from what I've heard not really.

I am going to be a senior in high school and we've completed most of the SL syllabus in Physics last school-year, so now all the SL students have study halla which is helpful

My only concerns for dropping down to SL are
1. I've heard colleges notice, but to what extent would they care when my proposed major will be Computer Science? Is this only for extremely selective colleges?
2. Maybe I'm making a big mistake. Maybe being in Physics HL is as necessary as being in Math HL for CS. Like if I was applying for CS and I didn't have Physics HL, but INSTEAD SL would that be a shock/deal breaker whether its for more or less selective unis?
(please don't just say "Oh, no class is necessary for a major". That's not entirely true I feel.
and please don't say Physics HL will help me later on in my CS career.. I am focusing on the scope of college admissions here and I don't know to what extent I will be doing CS in the future... so please don't make those your replies )

I am wondering what's better: Slogging myself in Physics HL when its not going to help me as much (this is what I assume) VS being in the Physics SL study hall where maybe I can prepare for Math HL, study for SATs and maybe SAT Physics/Math subject test, and continue perhaps even honing my already acquired physics SL knowledge.

NOTE: Also after completing all the Physics SL syllabus this year I am a predicted 6.9... the only reason I'm not a 7 is because I messed up an HL topic.. So basically if I drop down to Physics SL I have a good chance of 7. If I drop down to HL.. who knows.
NOTE: Don't worry about what class I will bump up if I am am bumping down Physics from HL to SL. I've got it covered there if it is agreed that I should bump down to Physics SL.

So.. the answers I am looking for are:
1. Are the statements and thoughts I have elaborated true?
2. In conclusion, shall I go from Physics HL to SL then based on this.
edited August 18
15 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Do colleges care about things like going from Physics HL to SL on transcript

  • durbandurban 39 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    perhaps this is in the wrong forum? i dont think u need to be familar with ib to really answer the question.. just u.s college admissions
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41787 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What matters is what your HLs and SLs would be if you switched. Can you list that and expected/predicted score?
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7000 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Generally speaking, schools are looking for course rigor. Dropping a level in a STEM course could raise some eyebrows, especially for schools where CS is in the college of engineering and you'll need three semesters of physics.
    · Reply · Share
  • FrmrPtonAO91FrmrPtonAO91 2 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Like so many questions, "it depends" on the context. Selective colleges would indeed care about how many HL's you have vs. SL's. I assume that you will maintain at least 3 HL courses in the five solid academic core areas (Math, English, History or Social Science, Language, or Physical Science)? And CS can be housed in engineering schools or in the arts and sciences parts of the universities, and CS degrees can be BA's for less STEMy types, or BS or BSEs for stronger STEM types, so those may have different expectations for admission . . . . It also sounds as though you may be applying from abroad, as a non-US citizen or Permanent Resident, which ramps up the competitiveness for CS admissions. (Last year saw a big bump in CS applications overall, which resulted in some tough admission realities for international CS applicants.) I think some more information might be helpful in answering your question. What colleges are you thinking about? Have you checked their websites for requirements for freshman admission to your desired school within the universities?
    · Reply · Share
  • durbandurban 39 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 18
    @FrmrPtonAO91 @momofsenior1 @MYOS1634
    Thank you for your answers. Yes, I am an international student.

    I am leaning towards applying in BA for many of my CS colleges. I'm looking at colleges like RIT, URochester, Santa Clara, NYU, Rutgers in targets/high-targets.
    Also may do some Business Management / Finance /Econ at unis like Babson, Bentley, Purdue, U Minnesota.

    Do you really think its going raise eyebrows in STEM departments if I do a BS in CS.. if I've done the whole SL course which itself is not easy and has the same fundamentals needed for physics classes when being a CS major. How does this change with me doing a BA instead?

    My current classes are w/ predicted grades
    7 in Econ HL
    6.9 (as said above) in Physics HL... plan to drop this to SL and then i'm very sure it will be and stay 7.
    5 in Math HL.. hoping to make this 6 before applications

    7 in ITGS (information technology in global societies) SL.. I would plan to make this HL and my score would still stay 7 because currently excelling in this class.
    English Lang & Lit SL
    French SL
    These two are going to be either 5 or 6... course grading is much more subjective

    I feel working on improving my SAT score and Math HL predicted grade is more important than this, no? These other 2 things will help in my competitiveness as an applicant.
    edited August 18
    · Reply · Share
  • airway1airway1 711 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    HL you get credits but SL you don’t for IB so it really depends if you want to pick up some credits
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41787 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ok, your plan sounds fine for the majors and universities you're interested in.
    A BA in CS will not require physics and the SL background will be handy.
    And moving math to a 6 is more important, yes.
    · Reply · Share
  • oldfortoldfort 22899 replies290 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My kid was a humanities major and her private college counselor told her it was ok for her to do math SL and physics SL, but not for other humanities courses. I agree with @momsofsenior1 about dropping to physics SL when you are going to major in CS.
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41787 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    UMN has an excellent CS BA BTW.
    Bringing math HL to 6 should have priority over physics - if there's any worry about your level take the physics subject test and score 750+.
    Look into WPI, Lafayette, Northeastern. Allegheny and st Olaf would be good "less reachy" picks (although you'd likely find math hard at St Olaf). Why not apply "out of the box", ie., Macalester, UCincinnati (co-op)...?
    · Reply · Share
  • durbandurban 39 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @MYOS1634 What do you mean "apply out of the box"?
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41787 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Apply to universities located in cities where it'll be easy to have internships/experience but aren't overwhelmed with students applying for CS, especially if they aren't super well known for CS *in your country*.
    · Reply · Share
  • durbandurban 39 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 19
    @MYOS1634 @oldfort @airway1 @FrmrPtonAO91 @momofsenior1
    However, if I decided to do a BS in CS (mainly if they don't offer a BA) then should I DEFINITELY not drop from Physics HL to SL? Or does the same still apply that getting a math to a 6 is more important.
    edited August 19
    · Reply · Share
  • durbandurban 39 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @MYOS1634 Only problem is... which colleges arent overwhelmed with CS applicants.. seems like all of them! Also, I'm going to expand your advice to out of my country and more like asia just because im from japan and no one applies from there but im definitely competing against lots of internationals, etc
    · Reply · Share
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41787 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Alas for you, lots of Japanese students apply to US colleges.
    BTW, all the recommendations above assume you're full pay (= your parents can pay all the cost, or nearly all of it).
    All colleges are overwhelmed with CS applicants but not all colleges are similarly overwhelmed and not all are overwhelmed with Asian applicants.
    Look into the Informatics programs - UCincinnati's program is a hidden gem, not easy to find but very well designed. Penn State's IST also doesn't require physics and has several options, more or less math&programming heavy.
    They would be good matches if not near safeties for a 36-38 as long as you get a 6 in math.
    · Reply · Share
  • durbandurban 39 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @MYOS1634 I wonder if there is a way to find out which colleges are less overwhelmed than others... any advice or do you know any others?? Thank you for the information for informatics.. anything on CS and which colleges are less overwhelmed for CS?
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity