I used to be a straight-A student and now my grades are sitting at a B- average. GPA wasn't high enough to be inducted into NHS, and I'm getting worried about being admitted to a decent school at all (decent being one of my targets- which, ideally, would be like a decent public state university). I'm currently a second-semester sophmore and trying to prep for classes in Junior year but I think I've signed up for more than I can handle. ATM, my unweighted GPA is a 3.36 and my weighted is a 3.78. (I totally bombed my Chemistry 2nd-quarter grade last semester- a 73%).
Currently in the IB program, and my classes are not easy. I'm taking AP Macroecon, AP US History, and AP Lang & Comp this year.
Next year in addition to my IB classes (Bio 1 Hl, Pre-cal BC, TOK, and Spanish 5) I'll be doing AP Physics, AP Euro History, and AP Lit & Comp.
I'm extremely active in all of my EC's and have a good number of volunteer hours (74 as of rn, but getting way more over spring break).
So basically, my question is this: How do I manage an insane IB workload and keep up my grades (I would prefer for my unweighted GPA to be a 3.7+, but don't know how that's possible now)?
Also, do colleges actually take into consideration a difficult courseload and mediocre grades as compared to a super easy courseload and high grades? Should I be prioritizing my ECs or focusing on grades? Because honestly I think I might leave some of my clubs, but I feel like that would look bad on my application.
Short answer, you'll be fine.
Longer answer, it depends on how prestigious a college you're looking for. It's unlikely you'll get into an ivy, if you're looking for a step down you'll also probably be fine. GPAs are probably the most important things for college applications, but just like a house needs walls, you'd be upset if you didn't have a bathroom. What that means is that GPA is important but you need everything else. You have difficult coursework that you're doing fine in, depending on how you do with the AP exams.
Colleges will look at your coursework, and a B- average in IB/AP's will do you just fine as long as you don't go for crazy competitive colleges. If you can't handle all those classes and you want to drop one that will give a quantitative bonus to your current scores (Dropping an advanced class and averaging a B+) you absolutely should. You're a sophomore with multiple advanced classes, even the more prestigious public universities would be ecstatic with 4-5 AP/IB's as long as you get at least a 3 on the exams.
Long short answer, you'll do fine. Focus on your GPA, it's more important than curriculars.
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