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10 months ago
Admissions Advice

What if the courses at your school aren't usual?

So I'm in 9th grade at an IB high school (in the USA). Essentially, you are in the MYP (middle years programme) until 11th grade, where you are put into the DP (Diploma Programme) and complete that in 11th and 12th. We can't choose which classes we take, because it has to follow the MYP course progression.

9th

Honors Math (Either Geometry or Alg. II. I tested out of Geo but decided not to do Alg II, so I'm in Geo right now)

Honors Physics

English

Health

Arts (choir, visual arts, etc. Im in Orchestra)

US History

Language (I'm in Spanish 3)

10th

Honors Math

Honors Chemistry

English

Arts

Econ

History

Language

11th

Language

DP Arts

DP Science (chemistry, earth, bio, or physics)

DP TOK (a specifically IB class)

DP History

DP Math

12th

Same as 11th

So yeah, basically I feel like the course progression is not rigorous enough! Will colleges think I'm not ready for college courses? Also, just a note- we are the top school in Michigan, and the honors courses are the level of AP, and the DP is like AP x2. Please respond! Also, one more thing- I've been considering testing out of 10th grade chem (self studying) so I can take DP Chem next year. We only have 2 months to self study 23 units. Is it worth it? I'm not outstanding at science, so should I just focus on ec's and such instead in these coming months? Thanks!

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3 answers

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10 months ago

Many schools on both IB and AP tracks operate this way (where you take your most advanced courses in your junior and senior years). My high school, for example, didn't let me take any AP classes as a freshman, and I could only take one as a sophomore! So long as you're taking honors courses from the start and stay on track to get the IB diploma, your course load will look plenty rigorous to any college admissions officer. This would be true at any school, and if your high school is as elite as you say, then it will be especially true for you. Admissions will know your school and know that students who graduate from it are prepared for college.

In terms of testing out of chemistry, it could go either way. Focusing on chemistry or on your extracurriculars for the next two months of your freshman year probably won't make a big different in college admissions (9th grade is generally the least important year of high school for admissions considerations anyway). If you feel you can master the material in two months and that you'll be ready for DP chem, then there's nothing wrong with going for it. If you're worried that DP chem might be a significant challenge for you without taking honors chemistry first, then I'd probably stick with the regular progression.

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10 months ago

As someone else said, IB is considered like AP in college admissions. IB will be seen as rigorous and as challenging yourself. As for the chemistry, find a good book and stick with it. I don't know if you can study it all, but that's up to you. A good high school career is a mix of challenging classes, tests and ecs so discarding one to focus on the other isn't good.

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10 months ago

So to answer all of your questions:

So yeah, basically I feel like the course progression is not rigorous enough! Will colleges think I'm not ready for college courses?

Any sort of IB program is super rigorous and will be seen as a boon.

Also, just a note- we are the top school in Michigan, and the honors courses are the level of AP, and the DP is like AP x2. Please respond!

Schools should take into account your school when determining your academic rigor and ability. But it can hurt as a 3.9 GPA who’s a top student at an underfunded school is perceived differently than a 3.9 GPA at a top school.

Also, one more thing- I've been considering testing out of 10th grade chem (self studying) so I can take DP Chem next year. We only have 2 months to self study 23 units. Is it worth it? I'm not outstanding at science, so should I just focus on ec's and such instead in these coming months? Thanks!

I’d really only consider this if you want to major in STEM or go into a medical field. If so taking a DP would be advantageous but ultimately it is up to you if you think it’s the best course for you. As for self studying it’s going to be difficult but not impossible IMO. Essentially ask yourself is the benefits worth the trade offs and the time spent on it.

Personally I would say no but I’m not you and don’t have have me speak for you.

Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!

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