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Does someone need Math HL to apply to a prestigious university?

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Just wondering. For instance, if someone wanted to apply to Harvard for Pre Med, will taking Maths Hl be necessary?

Sample schedule:

IB Math HL

IB Chem HL

IB Bio HL

IB English HL (no English sl)

IB Spanish 3 SL

IB History of Americas SL

 

A Junior at my school is doing a schedule like this. Is such a schedule ever even needed for Harvard or any really prestigious university? He claims that he wants to get the max college credit possible, and max out his chances of getting in. I'm just wondering if such a schedule is necessary. I know for a fact that this guy is most likely going to be valedictorian. 

Edited by Stressed12

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I worked for a summer at my University's admissions department for a summer and ended up spending a lot of time with them. From what I understand when a place like Harvard, Columbia or even any other top tier school looks at your IB subject choice and grades, they do take into account how hard a subject can be. For example they're aware of how hard Math HL is compared to the Math standard in the US. So yeah, technically speaking Math HL looks good, and this is the important part, provided you get a good grade in that along with decent performance in other subjects. reflects well on you

My advice? If Math HL is tough just drop to SL. I also see your taking 4 HLs which is a terrible decision (Hey if you can handle the workload, good for you). But to answer your question its absolutely not necessary. Universities look at the whole person, not just their subject choices. I've heard this from the mouth of plenty of Admissions officers, nobody wants a shut-in, constantly studying type of person.

Look, as long as you perform well in the subjects of your choosing consistently (again, yes Math SL as well), have strong and diverse extra curricular activities, write a good Common app essay + whatever else the college wants, I don't see why you won't be able to get in.

Hope this helps.

 

 

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To reiterate what @Dosco said, while the so-called "Strength of Schedule" is important in the college decision process, it is not imperative. My school doesn't offer Math HL, but it does offer AP Calc. BC. I know plenty of people who got into Ivy Leagues with Math SL, yet didn't take BC or AB. My friend and I (both in IB) got denied, and we took BC (myself being in a weird situation where I was taking Math SL and BC concurrently, all other AP Calc students have to finish Math SL and test in their Junior year). 

Edited by TheNintendoChip
Clarification

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Math HL is not required by any prestigious uni. I think that Ivy League and other prestigious institutions just love that fact that a students get the IB diploma and does fairly well. What I have noticed is that the schools do not just want students who are all about school because they have had those students for ages. They want students who are able to be excellent at school but also show individuality and passion. They want a student who is unique because they want a diverse student body and not students who are like robots. They are trying to break from the mold that they have always had.

My advice is that while having that schedule shows your strength as a student, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, and other prestigious institutions wont care as much if you are only showing one side of who you are a member of society and did not pursue your personal, non-academic passions. Expand on your interests. Im not saying join school clubs because anyone can do that. I am saying that you need to make a difference. Impact your community. Make a name for yourself. 

P.S. Top colleges like Harvard and Columbia usually don't even take AP or IB credit so if he is only doing it for college credit than he is out of luck. Taking that schedule will not strengthen or weaken his chances because they are always looking for something new and unique.  

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Short answer is no. Maths HL is not a prerequisite for pre med at Harvard, it is not necessary. I would advise you to pick subjects which are prerequisites and once you've met the subject requirements pick subjects to your strengths. If you want to wow the admissions tutors taking Maths HL in itself is nothing "WOW".  Maths HL in itself will not be anything automatically impressive or necessary. 

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@Merril889Not trying to make a straw-man out of this, but Oxford for example, require Math HL for many programs. Agree with your views on make a name. 
@Stressed12 Whoever wants to apply for Harvard-Pre-med should do what everyone else suggested, to become a better individual rather than purely for admission to a renowned undergraduate program. Understand that reason why schools like Harvard wants these people is that they want graduates to take up risks and challenges, rather than to rely upon the Harvard identity to ensure a life of job security. Math HL aside, the decision to take 4 HLs is not really recommended unless you can ensure that your 4HL/2SL combination can score a higher mark than 3/3 even split, unless of course a 3/3 split does not fulfill prerequisites. Also, few really excellent extracurriculars are generally better than a dozen dull or plain ones. 

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@kw0573 I agree with everything you have to say but the thing is that the US institutions do not require students to take the IB or AP for that matter to even be thought of as a candidate. They simply recommend it. 

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