3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Question Rigorous Course Load

I'm an international student and my school offers around 13 IB Classes, but I only took 2 that were oriented to what I'd like to study (medicine). I would like to apply to top colleges, but I don't know if they'll think I didn't try enough. My overall grades have a 97, but I don't know if they'll think I got them because I didn't challenge myself enough.


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1 answer

3 years ago[edited]

I'm guessing you probably opted for Bio and Chemistry only.

Since you are interested in Medical School in the US and applying to Top Colleges I will be honest and say that that to get into both you need to show evidence of being a great person and well-rounded student academically, not just cherry-picking the subjects that interest you. If you want to apply to an Ivy or Elite college and be successful most of them expect you to do the following:

1.) Take the most challenging coursework available to you through your school. If other students from your school are applying to the same colleges, the admissions officers will be reading their transcripts as well and comparing them to yours. If they see that someone has earned an IB Diploma and completed 6 IBS with an average test score of 6.5, now that will look superior to you who completed 2 IBs. Also, they (AOs) have the school profile so they will know that you took 2/13 while the other person(s) from your school, or district took advantage of the curriculum available to them.

2.) Show evidence of intellectual vitality or intellectual curiosity. What this means is that you have to show that you are life long learner and are interested in pursuing other topics outside of what is available in your high school. Perhaps you have such evidence as in writing original research papers, or doing internships, or studying college-level courses on your own. If you do not have proof of being somewhat of an academician, that will hurt your chances of being admitted to a top college.

3.) Schools like Harvard and Stanford have minimum high requirements and although they vary slightly from school to school here is what Harvard expects;

4 years of English

4 years of a Foreign Language (other than your native tongue)

4 years of Maths

4 years of Science (including 2 lab sciences and 1 advanced one)

3 years of History including (US History and European History)

Frequent practice in the writing of expository prose (this is something NEW they added for 2021-22, this means you have to be very good writer skilled at expressing and articulating ideas and arguments in essays -are descriptive essays, process essays, comparison essays, cause/effect essays and problem/solution essays)

I recommend that you consider taking more IB classes not because you like the subject but because it looks like you have other interests and course rigor besides the ones you have picked. Any of these 9 would be useful on your college application and better yet it would look best if you earned an IB Diploma.

History -HL

Language A: Literature -HL

Language A: language and literature, HL

Psychology: HL

Social and cultural anthropology: HL

Physics: HL

Mathematics: analysis and approaches HL

Mathematics: applications and interpretation HL

Sports, exercise, and health science HL

Some Medical schools would argue that it is important for a pre-med college student to have great liberal arts knowledge of many things, not just Bio-Science related subjects.

I'm copying and pasting what Harvard says about having "a well rounded education

A good high school education should do more than prepare you for the next level of education or for later employment—it should prepare you to take advantage of future learning opportunities of all kinds. You should gain particular skills and information, as well as a broad perspective on the world and its possibilities.

By taking the most academically demanding courses you can find, you can improve both your chance of admission to a selective college and your performance during the first years of college.

In developing the advice in this section, we have relied on empirical evidence, specifically, the secondary school preparation of our own students who have succeeded at Harvard. Because the content of courses may vary from high school to high school, we have tried to identify important knowledge, skills, or habits of thought, rather than naming specific courses.

Of course, we will take your individual situation into account. Just as each student has different talents and interests that need to be developed, schools vary considerably in their particular strengths. You may encounter unique circumstances, such as resource limitations or the opportunity to learn from a great teacher."

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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