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Best IB Standard Level science for social science college applicant?

chromium0818chromium0818 Registered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
Hello CC,

My school offers Biology, Chemistry, and Physics SL as IB Group 4 options. I am aspiring for Ivy League colleges to pursue a social science-oriented major. Which science option would be the best for me (in terms of maximizing admission chances/putting forward a great résumé), considering the intent is to maximize both GPA and course rigor? Thank you!

Replies to: Best IB Standard Level science for social science college applicant?

  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,963 Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    The colleges won't care which of these three you do. Pick the one you like best and that you will do best in.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,215 Senior Member
    Check whether your school offers ESS as it'd be the most logical.
    Otherwise, it doesn't matter. Ask upper classmates depending on classes you took before and difficulty.
  • chromium0818chromium0818 Registered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    Thanks. However, would ESS be acceptable for Ivy Leagues? I know that a certain consulting group advises against it.
  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,963 Senior Member
    Have you already taken Bio, Chem and Physics in high school?
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,215 Senior Member
    Yes, ESS would be acceptable for a future social science major. In addition, admissions never hinge on one class. Obviously my answer would be different if you wanted to major in stem or be pre-med, but in your case you need strong IB classes in social science and Humanities so your HLs should focus on those subjects (if you're thinking of an economics major, Math SL or even HL). ESS exists as a bridge between science and social science. It's a stronger course than APES.
    All in all, IB is IB. There's no such thing as 'weak' IB.
    You do need to have taken biology and chemistry in 9-10th grade and, if you took bio in 8th, physics also. Those don't have to be AP.
  • chromium0818chromium0818 Registered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    The school requires "Integrated Science" (all three in an integrated fashion) in freshman/sophomore years.
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama Registered User Posts: 2,041 Senior Member
    Its a good idea to be exposed to biology to be able to read a newspaper, but chemistry is also key if you hope to get into any policy oriented work. Also if you will apply to U of Chicago, you will actually need to take a REAL science class, so it might be nice to be exposed to science as a high school student. If you don't understand any science, you cannot read the New York Times and understand it. I would take both biology and chemistry and challenge yourself, as if you are really hoping to succeed in college, you really need to be bright enough to pass IB chem and bio. Its just memorizing terminology and a little bit of mathematics, its really not that hard. And if you never take any science in your education, you are missing a key aspect of knowledge that is needed to read a newspaper.

    Do NOT take watered down sciences. As how can that make you stand out for a top college? It simply will not.
    Taking a hard liberal arts curriculum is key to being an informed person, and you might as well challenge yourself. Science is not that different than social science, except for physics which is conceptually a bit harder, because it applies mathematics to the world around you. If you want a challenge though, choose physics. The kids in there may be ahead of you in math.

    If you really want to become say an economist, you need a full undergraduate bachelors degree in mathematics for any good program Harvard PhD programs only accept mathematics undergrad MAJORS, with minor in econ. Undergrad economics is not really economics, its more of a political science type of major at most easier liberal arts colleges and most big public colleges, so beware of an economics undergrad major if you want a real job at the end!
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 39,215 Senior Member
    ^ I very strongly disagree.
    First, this student has already taken biology, chemistry, and physics. They have what top colleges expect and saying they 'need to be exposed to science' is inaccurate since they already have been.
    Second, ESS IS a science class. It's a science class that specifically does what you're talking about - it teaches the science you need to know in order to be an informed citizen. It is also specifically tied to social sciences and designed for students planning to become social science majors so I makes sense
    Third, economics majors get jobs - yes, plain economics majors with no more math than calculus1. They do need a math background if they want to get into a PhD major and work in academia but regular economics majors don't.
    Finally, taking HLs unrelated to your purported interests is counterproductive. IB ensures students have a broad knowledge base with no gaps (even SL classes are complex) as well as in-depth understanding in three different subjects. Colleges know there's no 'weak' IB candidate. Generally speaking, students won't stand out because they chose, say, chemistry and not ESS. That's not how it works. Standing out doesn't depend on what class. (NEVER take a class because you think it will 'impress' an adcom, because it won't.) Standing out means good essays, EC's etc.
    Btw, there needs to be consistency, in relation to the profile the student wants to have: are we seeing a student with a broad background and interests in social science? Ready for engineering? Interested in Humanities? etc.
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