How important is it that I graduate high school?

<p>I'm currently a junior IB student. At my school, IB students are granted many special privileges, such as bypassing certain (useless) graduation requirements. AP/IB courses are weighted 5.0 while these requirement courses are 4.0s.</p>

<p>I'm thinking about quitting the IB program due to scheduling conflicts: I'm determined to be in choir (I sing competitively), but if I stay in IB, IB Math SL (the ONLY IB math we have...and a class I have to take) is offered in exactly the same period as choir. There is no way to move either class.*</p>

<p>So....I'm valedictorian right now, and I'd like to keep it that way for college apps. To stay valedictorian, however, I must take all weighted courses, besides choir, next year--in other words, I can't take those required 4.0s if I want to keep my rank.</p>

<ul>
<li><p>At top-tier colleges (Ivy, Stanford, Duke, Williams, etc.), how important is having a high school diploma? </p></li>
<li><p>Could not graduating high school affect me when I'm applying for jobs, etc.?</p></li>
<li><p>How bad does it look to quit IB halfway through the programme?</p></li>
</ul>

<p>*Interestingly, two IB students (there are only 14 of us...2/14 is rather significant) want to take choir, and the other one (besides me) actually plans to major in vocal music. Realistically, IB Math SL could be moved to the afternoons so that we could keep choir, but that would affect 1 IB student who plays basketball. The IB coordinator has chosen to make 2 of us quit choir instead of making that 1 person quit basketball. It's as if he knows the basketball person would be willing to quit IB, but he mistakenly believes we choir nerds aren't.</p>

<p>Wow, are you asking about leaving high school altogether? I have not checked the top-tier schools but I think it's a safe bet you are going to need that hs diploma. You may be able to get away with a GED with some schools, however I don't think this is going to be competitive at a top-tier school.</p>

<p>-Yes, graduating from hs will affect you from applying for certain jobs. Not that this is your goal, but you can't even enlist in the Armed Forces without it.</p>

<p>-It depends on what program you move to and how well you preform there. Do you have a fine arts program available to you? If so, and your career goal is in this area then it may not be a terrible thing. Your frustration appears to be with the conflict with Choir. Are you considering quitting hs simply because of Choir? I'm sure there is a program where you can participate in Choir.</p>

<p>You really need to step back and see what your long term goals are. This can be difficult even for the most mature teens. Maybe a talk with your GC would help. If your conflict with choir can not be worked out, can you find a program that will integrate your desire to sing? Is this something you are going to pursue in college, and as a career? Is there something beyond this particular frustration that is bringing you to consider leaving the IB program or hs?</p>

<p>Think before you do anyting! Talk to a knowledgeable adult. Consider calling an adcom from one of the colleges you mentioned. This is a big step.</p>

<p>Good luck!!</p>

<p>And what are you going to do in college, when a course you'd really like to take conflicts with a course required for your major? Will you be back in 4 years asking "will not having a degree affect me"?</p>

<p>Seriously though, while you don't have to have a high school diploma for many of the top tier schools, not having one is a giant red flag. You're going to need an incredibly good reason why you don't have one, and "I didn't feel like taking all the graduation requirements because I wanted to be ranked 1" is a horrible reason.</p>

<p>Typically if you have not met requirements to graduate then you also have not met any universities admission requirements. You definately will need your diploma, if you feel that you have already taken higher level courses that are not being counted towards your school requirements then you need to have a meeting with your counselor. Many high honor students like yourself with outstanding academics will be applying to top tier universities with a completed high school diploma... this already puts your at a disadvantage. I can not recall any recent students entering school of Ivy cablier with no diploma. Reguardless graduating from high school with your high academics will set you in the right direction for a good school whether its a Ivy League school, or a few schools in the Big Ten/East, Pac Ten etc...</p>

<p>Are you planning on pursuing music in college? If NOT, then you're an idiot for even thinking about this (just saying how it is). A HS diploma isn't required for most colleges, but is a MAJOR problem if you don't have one, especially for the top-tier schools. </p>

<p>If you are planning on pursuing music, then it's a difficult decision, but I'd definitely drop choir and graduate. Seriously now, choir can't be THAT big of a deal to the point where you're thinking about forgoing a HS diploma, can it?</p>

<p>Anyways, either way, unless someone's paying you a million dollars to not graduate HS, get that diploma, and go to college. Simple as that.</p>

<p>The whole "we don't require a HS diploma" thing is relevant for juniors who are applying in their 3rd year because they have exhausted the courses available. If you apply to a top school without a real reason for not having a HS diploma, you'll be in a deep hole.</p>

<p>Your post doesn't indicate just exactly which "useless" graduation requirements you can skip by completing an IB, so it isn't clear to me whether or not you actually will fail to graduate by dropping out of the IB program. You need to resolve that question first.</p>

<p>That said, no one who really counts is going to care if you are no longer valedictorian because you chose to pursue vocal music instead of IB math. Especially if you are a competitive vocalist who truly should be in choir in the first place. Your counselor can write about this in his/her letter of recommendation - something along the line of "ZE2008 is not valedictorian this year only because he/she faced a conflict between continuing in the IB program and continuing in vocal music." Every admissions officer in the country knows that students all too often are forced to choose between course A and course B, or program A and program B because of scheduling limitations in their schools.</p>

<p>As to the schedule conflict itself, have the PARENTS talked to the school about this or just you kids? With an entire summer to reorganize the schedule and/or find optional courses, it may yet be possible to come up with a more satisfactory solution.</p>

<p>If singing is more important to you than your education (you don't want to graduate high school because of choir) then maybe the top-tier colleges that you listed aren't the right schools for you.</p>

<p>Before you do a lot of stuff as an admitted student they require that you will graduate.</p>

<p>can't you join a choir group in your community?</p>

<p>The types of colleges you mention: while being val is nice, it's not a necessity by any means. What is urgent is that applicants show that they are scholars and have fantastic academic potential and ability to affect the college community.</p>

<p>Is your choral group more important than showing that you are this type of academician? Chasing the title of "valedictorian" is not very important to be frank.</p>

<p>Just for general information, I would like to say: It is possible to get into some very good schools without graduating from your high school. I have a friend who got into Harvey Mudd, Reed, Haverford and Hampshire, among others, after his junior year (didn't apply to Ivies as far as I know). He did, however, get the equivalent of a GED for someone underage. </p>

<p>More importantly, however, was that he had compelling reasons to want to go earlier that were based on the lack of intellectual rigor at his school and having exhausted most course options, and he apparently impressed the adcoms with his maturity in his interviews. Wanting to quit to stay Val is not a good reason, and even if you are otherwise very mature, that's going to make you seem significantly less so. And there is no way they are going to buy that you've exhausted your options (or that your school isn't that rigorous), when you still have half an IB program to complete. </p>

<p>Also, it's not like he quit going to high school and then applied, which is what you'd have to do at this point. He applied while he was a junior. I think that looks a lot better than just stopping going to school. </p>

<p>Another things to consider is that your Val status would take a MAJOR back-seat to your not-having-graduated status, and would therefore not even really be that helpful.</p>

<p>I think you should do choir, and make sure your guidance counselor understands the situation and writes about it. Also, if you figure out that your top choice has ED, you might be able to apply before first semester grades come out and you loose Val status. But honestly, that won't make THAT big a difference -- I bet, depending on how good you are, that the singing will probably make you stand out more than Val status.</p>

<p>You're not valedictorian right now. You're ranked #1. You don't get valedictorian status until close to graduation. And you certainly won't be valedictorian if you don't graduate.</p>

<p>I believe my first post was rather misleading. </p>

<p>I intend to stay for senior year, but not complete the necessary requirements to actually graduate; instead, I would take 6 AP courses, along with choir. The "useless" graduation requirements I'm referring to consist mainly of regular economics (which, to me, seems a little bit ridiculous when I'm self-studying AP micro and macro), as well as a practical arts credit (essentially, this is computer applications). This isn't about "wanting to quit to stay Val"; I'm not quitting, just not graduating after 4 years (then again, I guess that's equivalent to quitting). More so, though, this is about not losing my rank by college application time just because I had to take non-weighted economics and practical arts courses.</p>

<p>My real concern may have been whether colleges would rescind their admissions after discovering that I hadn't graduated, but after reading these responses, that seems a bit like a null question to ask at this point.</p>

<p>Anyways, thank you to everyone who replied. Your responses have offered a very different perspective, especially because when I asked my friends who are currently in the Ivy League, most of them seemed to think the HS diploma irrelevant.</p>

<p>I think I'll stay in the IB programme and simply give up choir. I'm sure there are other worthy things I can do with the time this will free up.</p>

<p>Actually, there is one other option.</p>

<p>I could hypothetically ask to be moved to a lower choir (which would hurt...I made the choir I've been dreaming about for the past seven years). If this lower choir doesn't conflict with some other required IB course, then I could a) graduate, b) stay in IB, c) stay in choir and be allowed to compete, and d) likely still be valedictorian.</p>

<p>Part of why this has been such a hard choice (and why I've been contemplating such drastic measures) is because I've been singing for seven years now. Not to sound arrogant, but to be completely frank, I believe (as does my voice teacher) that I'm good enough to rank at the state level.</p>

<p>Does that add any more insight to my situation?</p>

<p>By the way, regarding career aspirations, music is not anywhere on my list. I want to double-major in philosophy and economics, then go on to law school.</p>

<p>Your admissions offer is contingent upon your successful graduation from high school. </p>

<p>You'll want to a). graduate, maintain course rigor by b). staying in IB</p>

<p>Less important is c). valedictorian and unfortunately d). choir given your options. You can always do choir in college are part of student groups.</p>

<p>Just some very general information for you. I've had a son attend Dartmouth and a daughter Princeton without a high school diploma or GED. In my daughter's case, she was in the last class to apply to Princeton ED. My son was also admitted to Amherst, Williams, Johns Hopkins, Carleton and Haverford. These were home schooled kids. In no case were the schools they applied to interested in a diploma (in which case we would have printed out one on the computer) or GED.
The only advantage my daughter had over my son in the admissions process, I'm guessing, is that she had a deep involvement in ballet- maybe parallel to yours in singing?
I think schools are looking for passion and depth in one skill, generally. Let's face it. The HYPs of the world take about one in six val applicants. How are you supposed to stick out?
Generally, following your passion is almost never a mistake. I mean beyond the college admissions calculus, as well. I am a great critic of college admissions generally, but in this case I think they are ready to get it right.
Your friends in the Ivy League who think being a high school graduate is irrelevant are of course correct.</p>

<p>Where did you get the idea that because they don't require a high school diploma, the diploma is therefore completely irrelevant?</p>

<p>Being a passionate and unique applicant is certainly a huge plus (and needed if you want to stand a good shot at getting in). But if you don't show that you're capable of handling the work, you're not going to get in, and high school is the standard way of showing this. Your kids got accepted DESPITE the fact that they were homeschooled, because they demonstrated academic preparation in some way other than a graded transcript.</p>

<p>And if anything, his situation would be worse. If you were homeschooled, then okay, that's cool, and besides you may not have had a choice in the matter. Failing to graduate from a high school you attended because you didn't want to take the graduation requirements is a whole other story.</p>

<p>First off, I'm female. :) Not that any of you would know that from my username.</p>

<p>Secondly, I've already concluded that not graduating high school is likely not the best idea, considering the amount of overwhelmingly negative feedback I've been receiving--and not just from CCers.</p>

<p>What do you think of my switching into a lower choir, though? I would be able to (this corresponds the list Gryffon made) : a) graduate, b) stay in IB, c) likely remain valedictorian, and d) obviously, stay in choir. </p>

<p>Also, another user mentioned joining a community choir (an option I am currently looking into). The main drawback to this, though, is that I wouldn't be able to compete in All-Region and All-State.</p>

<p>@amarkov - I definitely understand your point about demonstrating academic preparedness. However, don't you think quitting IB and then taking all those easy required courses senior year (especially after 6 AP/IB and 1 honors junior year) does just the opposite? I mean, sure, I'd graduate, but it also appears as if I chose an easy senior year. </p>

<p>I'm just curious about your line of thought, since I'm not quitting IB anymore. (Or, more accurately, my parents won't let me.)</p>

<p>This is a "College Admissions" thread.
IMO, at elite schools, meeting a checklist is not likely to get you admitted. Almost everybody meets the checklist, or close enough that it isn't a distinguishing characteristic.
I agree that demonstrating ability is important, for which a few hours of standardized tests will do.
Again, I am very critical of elite college admissions. But I think that colleges are ready to identify those few young people who take risks and excel at something or other, and I don't mean getting straight "A" s in the high school math curriculum.</p>