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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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What's the effect of eliminating honors classes from my schedule?

Hi peers, I need a bit of advice. Currently, I'm debating whether to drop some honors classes for next year to focus on extracurriculars and reduce stress. Will eliminating honors classes from my junior year schedule be a red flag for admissions officers, or is a balanced profile more important?

8 months ago

It's understandable you're looking to create a balanced schedule for yourself. While maintaining a rigorous course load is important, especially if you're aiming for highly selective colleges, it is also critical to manage stress and commit to meaningful extracurricular activities. Junior year grades are particularly influential in the college admissions process, so it's essential to perform well and not be overwhelmed.

Keep in mind that colleges appreciate students who challenge themselves academically, but they also understand personal well-being is paramount. Eliminating some honors classes may be seen as decreasing your academic rigour, which can impact how an admissions officer views your application. That said, if you're replacing those classes with dedicated time for extracurricular activities in which you have a real interest and can achieve significant impact or leadership (Tiers 1-3 of extracurricular activities), that can still reflect positively on your dedication and time management skills.

As an example, if you're dropping an honors science class but are continuing with other rigorous courses and are using the extra time to conduct independent research or lead an academic team, that's a narrative you can articulate in your applications. Ultimately, the key is to strike a balance that allows you to excel both inside and outside the classroom. Keeping a few honors classes might be a good compromise to show academic challenge while also ensuring you have the time to be genuinely involved in your extracurricular interests.

8 months ago

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