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Hello everyone,

I am currently in my final months of IB1. I'm taking four HLs as of now. After receiving my mid-term report card, I realised that I was getting less than flattering grades for one of my HLs (while the others were going well). Ever since, I've been contemplating about dropping that particular HL to an SL, but I'm wondering if such a thing will decrease my chances of getting into a top US college (e.g. does it show me in a bad light). I know that top colleges want you to take a hard course load, and thus, will dropping to 3 HLs somehow show that I'm not a capable student for taking up a challenge?

Thank you for your advice in advance!

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If taking 3 HLs can get you a higher grade to reflect your potentials than 4 HLs, it will be even beneficial for applying universities. 

Edited by inriya

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I totally agree with inriya.

To add:

IB is already tough at its minimum requirement of 3 HLs and 3 SLs. Getting through is incredibly impressive!

I'm not sure about your school, but in my school no one takes 4 HLs. Still, we have students who get to Ivy League, Stanford, UC Berkeley, etc. every year. They score 44-45...

On the idealistic side, you can keep the HL if it's very relevant and important to you. Bad grades can be explained in a way that reflects your positive characteristics, like persistence and risk-taking; it's risky but I still got shortlisted for an interview with horrible grades.  It shows that colleges understand. (Pretty sure it was the stammers in my interview, not the grades that got me rejected.)

On the practical side, I must emphasise that IB is tough. Drop the HL down. Do well. No one penalises an IB student who just wants to be kind to himself and get some more sleep.

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Our counselor tells us that taking four HLs doesn't help much for applying to US universities, and that it isn't worth the added stress. So I suggest that you drop the HL you're performing poorly on and focus on getting the highest grades possible.

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