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IB Classes and Rigor of Curriculum

LabGlintLabGlint Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
Here’s my situation: I’m currently a rising senior at an IB school where all of the students are forced to enroll in the full IB program and become diploma candidates. In my sophomore year, I was obsessed with GPA and maintaining a 4.0 because for whatever reason I thought that having a 4.0 was important for getting into a good school. I decided that if I were to take HL math, it would be too difficult for me to maintain good grades while keeping my social life/ sanity intact. Because of this, I decided to join the SL math track. Furthermore, I only elected to take 6 IB subjects instead of the maximum of 7 allowed at my school. Recently, to my dismay, I found out that the counselor would only check the box for “most rigorous courses offered” on our applications if we took either math HL or 7 IB subjects. The counselor said that colleges recognize the difficulty of the IB program, but I wonder what they will think if think of my not taking a seventh IB or HL math. Although I have maintained my 4.0 so far, I’m still worried because I have read a number of posts saying that colleges strongly dislike applicants who did not take the most rigorous courses offered.

My goal is HYPS, and I have very good objective stats and solid extracurricular activities, which I will post if they are relevant to the discussion. However, there are at least five other students at my school who have similar objective stats and extracurricular activities; they don’t have 4.0 GPAs, but their GPAs are still pretty solid at around 3.9, and they are also taking courses that would give them the distinction of “most rigorous courses offered”.

So basically, my question is this: How screwed am I? To what extent will my lack of a seventh IB/ HL math negatively affect my admissions chances? How will I stack up against students in the AP program? Will colleges directly compare me with the other students at my school, see they challenged themselves more, and then choose them over me?
Post edited by LabGlint on

Replies to: IB Classes and Rigor of Curriculum

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,552 Senior Member
    Why not take HL math? If it is even available to you (most students, in IB programs or otherwise, do not reach calculus which HL math includes), then you are advanced in math and presumably good at math.
  • LabGlintLabGlint Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Last year, I guess the horror stories about IB got to me, and I was too caught up with maintaining GPA, so I didn't take HL math. I'm just wondering to what extent that decision will hurt me now.
  • Mom2MMom2M Registered User Posts: 2,083 Senior Member
    Can you add a 7th IB course in Senior year (SL)? Are you taking TOK?

    D is a full IB Diploma Candidate. She took 3 HL, 3SL plus TOK for her diploma. Senior year she decided to add ArtSL (partly to fulfill the VPA requirement at the Univ of Cal schools, partly because she liked it). That course will count towards a certificate.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,552 Senior Member
    Can you just take IB HL your senior year?

    It is odd that you shied away from IB HL math if you reached calculus level as a junior in high school (two grade levels ahead). Students that good in math typically do all they can to take the most rigorous math available to them (and still often find the courses to be easy A compared to other courses they take).
  • LabGlintLabGlint Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I pretty certain my school will not allow me to add another IB course for my senior year. And yes, I am currently taking TOK. We take one semester of TOK junior year and one semester senior year.

    Also, ucbalumnus, unfortunately I can't just take HL math in my senior year because it's a two year course. I have to take SL2 next year.
  • missmbvmissmbv Registered User Posts: 242 Junior Member
    There's not much you can do about it now. If you want to amp up the rigor, self-study for some AP tests, take a bonus online or college class, or do a summer program. If you're not a math person, then it shouldn't matter too much. What do you plan on majoring in?
  • LabGlintLabGlint Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I'm planning on majoring in business or law.
  • BallerBryantBallerBryant Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    If you can't change your curriculum right now, there is no point stressing over it; you have to simply move on. I would suggest making this summer count by doing research, a summer program, etc. Despite the easier curriculum, maintaining a 4.0 in an IB school is impressive, as any curriculum at such a school will be difficult. I am sure you are only one of few people in your school that has such a GPA at this point. I agree with missmbv, as if you are not planning to major in a math related field, the lack of an advanced math class should not inhibit your college admissions to a great extent.
  • LabGlintLabGlint Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    So the box on the common app with rigor of curriculum will not affect admissions too much even if the "most rigorous courses offered" box is not checked?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,552 Senior Member
    It depends on the college and whether they use the check box or make their own evaluation of whether you took a highly rigorous schedule from what was available at your high school.

    Law is not an undergraduate major. You can be pre-law in any major; law school admission focuses heavily on LSAT and GPA.

    Business majors typically have to take a year of calculus; IB HL math would likely cover that, but IB SL math would not.
  • vienneselightsvienneselights Registered User Posts: 411 Member
    I'm pretty sure my SL friends did some sort of differentiation/integration thing at some point

    I'm with OP on this one. HL math is calculus, but it is so much more than calculus. I literally knew half the course of college Lin Al through IB. So many people crash and burn in math that OP did well to avoid it.

    Don't worry about taking on a 7 subject. If you're applying to MIT or majoring in Econ or Physics, I would be concerned at the lack of HL math, but otherwise, no one cares.
  • swim2daendswim2daend Registered User Posts: 2,497 Senior Member
    Why does everyone get scared of HL math? True, the exam sucks. The curve usually makes up for it. The topics themselves are easy... I miss IB after being in college.
  • 2PathsMom2PathsMom Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    I don't understand what your college counselor is thinking. This person does not understand the program. He or she needs educating regarding the IB program. IB students cannot take 7 HL classes. Students who take four have to petition Geneva for permission. Frequently and probably dependent upon the classes requested this is denied. 7HL classes would NEVER be approved. You need to take this to a higher level or to your advisor or have a parent intervene. Also the IB program does not view one HL class including math as of greater difficulty than another HL class. The purpose of HL classes is to allow students to study with a greater intensity a subject that they are interested in. All of the IB classes are challenging.
  • KSAMomKSAMom Registered User Posts: 101 Junior Member
    "Recently, to my dismay, I found out that the counselor would only check the box for “most rigorous courses offered” on our applications if we took either math HL or 7 IB subjects."

    I think you need to challenge the counselor on this point, or ask a parent to do so. It was the counselor or IB Coordinator's job to advise you on this point when you first selected your courses, in Grade 10 or early Grade 11. If this remains the case, however, don't worry too much. Your strong grades & ECs can make up for the lack of a check mark.
  • rokr32rokr32 Registered User Posts: 398 Member
    I took HL Math because of what vienneselights said (I'm thinking about applying to MIT as i'm legacy and I want to major in Econ).

    Yet, I'm only doing 3 HL and not 4 HLs. However, I wanted to be sure that the counselor would also tick the "most rigorous course available," even if taking 3 HLs and not 4 like some other kids.
This discussion has been closed.