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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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What’s the deal with IB SL vs HL—does college admissions prefer one over the other?

Junior year is hitting hard and I'm trying to plan out my courses for next year. I’ve got the option to take some IB classes at either Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL). Do colleges care which one you pick? Is HL seen as much better?

7 months ago

Absolutely, it's a great question to consider as you plan your senior year courses. Generally speaking, colleges do take note of the level of rigor in your coursework, and Higher Level (HL) courses are considered more challenging than Standard Level (SL). Therefore, HL courses can be viewed more favorably by college admissions, as they show your ability to tackle college-level material.

If you're aiming for highly selective colleges, it's beneficial to have HL classes in your schedule, especially in your areas of interest or intended major. However, it's also important to maintain a balanced workload that you can handle without becoming overwhelmed. If you choose HL courses, make sure you're doing so in subjects that you're passionate about and that align with your academic and career goals.

A mix of HL and SL classes that demonstrates both depth and breadth in your studies can be a winning combination. Keep in mind that your overall performance in the IB Programme, including your grades and your scores on the IB exams, will play a role in admissions decisions. Best of luck in your decision-making process!

7 months ago

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