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Well, things are getting confusing these days...

I think that maybe I am too involved in my extracurriculars that I didn't really pay attention to IB. Or partly because of my ideology. I believe that passion, creativity and individuality are much more important than test scores. This semester I continued to do well on my Alchemy project: I now have 600+ followers, several good Alchemy project publications, and several good features. (Like I got one from Chinese Academy of Sciences and recently, C&EN (chemical and engineering news)).

But my grades are dropping and I think maybe I even have the possibility to drop down honor roll (35/42). I don't know why. Many of our classmates are also having similar issues: grade dropped from 6s~7s to 5s~6s. And I am really scared when I saw that my chem grades are 6s and 7s, not 7s along the way. Every time I wrote my labs with high quality and checked the marking schemes, but I don't get those shiny marks like last semester. Maybe that I am just suitable for going to an pure art school but I am stupid enough to become an amateur chemist in G9 and try to pursue two degrees in the future. Maybe all the things that I do with my passion and my dream are worthless. Maybe I am just not suitable for a good university; they will not want me. 

Some subjects I get 5s, which I have actually have got used to (I gave myself lower standards maybe...). I have talked to teachers, but they all say that I don't need to worry. I honestly don't know what is happening. I also tried changing my attitude, but it also does not work. I want to get into the best science/visual art dual degree program but my grades are just not so well for that (for international students they ACTUALLY ONLY look at grades). I think they want me to keep my 38 from the last semester in this semester. I don't know if things will go well or not....Also, I may delete this thread before applying to schools since they will check students' social media accounts. I know they are insincere but I have to comply to them...

What can I do...

Edited by Aquilina

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It's hard to think that I am doing all the things with my passion but universities just will not care. I literally worked off myself for my enthusiasm, for being an amateur chemist. But they will not care.

They will just say 'you have no talent in doing this and what we want is the smartest and most talented students. You are just a disqualified applicant who is faking your interest in chemistry and it looks superficial. Your scientific illustrations look superficial and useless.' 3 years of happiness and tears are only transcript and test score numbers for them...maybe I am only composed of numbers for them. I have had consistent good grades but I just cannot understand what is happening in this semester. 

Every time I see others get good offers, I start getting confused about where I will end up next year. Maybe nowhere. Who knows?

Edited by Aquilina

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I can empathise. My journey through the IB brought out a lot in me that I've come to realize, primarily my passion for teaching and tutoring. Although I've done community service programs for underprivileged children in my district since 7th grade, it was since the end of 11th grade that I realised my actual passion for doing so. 

At the start of DP2, I created a program at my school that focused on peer-based learning and tutoring. I and others would hold tutoring sessions for whole grade levels and classes on different subjects e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Maths, for IB MYP, IB DP, and even iGCSE. I deeply enjoyed the time and effort spent into making lesson plans, creating presentations, devising fun pneumonics and other methods that makes learning all the more fun, interactive, and engaging. Even near mock exams and internal assessments piling up, I wouldn't falter at the rate with which I continue my best in providing these tutoring sessions and programs to anyone at my school in need of help. 

Eventually, I desired to expand this program to other schools in the region, which I have yet to be successful with. So instead, I created and designed a website (learning some interesting things e.g. coding and technical stuff along the way) dedicated to this program for peer-based learning and tutoring. It was meant to be free, anyone anywhere in the world in need of help in a particular subject (only IB currently) can simply fill in a request form and a tutor with skill in the subject can be assigned to that person, where the session will be held via Skype. Not too many people requested online sessions – there were never more than 10 online sessions held per week. But I was still happy with it – I, along with my peers, even dedicated more time to write biweekly articles on tips, strategies, and advice on tackling different aspects of the IB. I truly wished to make it the ideal learning for students, where they can enjoy engaging and interactive learning – essentially learning to learn, as an important mantra was not simply to teach content, but also how to engage with it. 

I got rejected by all my dream schools: Cornell, Brown, Penn, Yale. I emphasised my whole journey of overcoming my academic struggles and desiring to spread what I learned to others; taking something meaningful from my difficulties. Yes, I had fears that they might think I was being superficial having only started the program late in high school (granted my past experiences with other teaching-heavy programs since middle school may prove otherwise), but really, at the end of the day, **** them. It honestly doesn't matter to me whether they thought I was superficial, or wasn't truly passionate, because I know it isn't true. (Conversely, my counsellor suggested it was my really terribad grades in IB1 (talking like 25/42 here) that probably got me rejected, but that's neither here nor there.)

The important thing to takeaway is that your passions cannot be taken away by any form of external recognition or approval. Not having your dream schools accept you DOES NOT IN ANY WAY lessen the meaning and impact that you've caused, nor the passion you felt for doing what you enjoy. Honestly, I'm still super disappointed and crushed by not getting into any of the schools I hoped to get into. But I can look forward to the summer and future, where I will have the time to further develop my website, expand its reach to more students needing help, and possibly create a Youtube channel dedicated to tackling specific subjects and concepts. I can also still attain my dream of achieving an IB 45, having gone the spectrum of IB scores from a 24/42 in the beginning of the DP to a predicted 45 now, and I won't let my university decisions hinder me in any way from accomplishing this.  

Getting into a dream school is something that matters to anyone, so it's very reasonable that you're concerned about your drop in academic performance. But at the end of the day, it's your dreams and passions that carry you through life. Also, your grades + transcript are still excellent, especially for someone having accomplished so much more outside the academic field.

You should be exceedingly proud of how much you've accomplished and done at such a young age. The recognition and approval of your dream schools is understandably something that's desired, but I hope you wouldn't let it affect your passion for what you're doing now, and that YOU, keep doing what you love!

Edited by IB`ez
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27 minutes ago, IB`ez said:

I can empathise. My journey through the IB brought out a lot in me that I've come to realize, primarily my passion for teaching and tutoring. Although I've done community service programs for underprivileged children in my district since 7th grade, it was since the end of 11th grade that I realised my actual passion for doing so. 

At the start of DP2, I created a program at my school that focused on peer-based learning and tutoring. I and others would hold tutoring sessions for whole grade levels and classes on different subjects e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Maths, for IB MYP, IB DP, and even iGCSE. I deeply enjoyed the time and effort spent into making lesson plans, creating presentations, devising fun pneumonics and other methods that makes learning all the more fun, interactive, and engaging. Even near mock exams and internal assessments piling up, I wouldn't falter at the rate with which I continue my best in providing these tutoring sessions and programs to anyone at my school in need of help. 

Eventually, I desired to expand this program to other schools in the region, which I have yet to be successful with. So instead, I created and designed a website (learning some interesting things e.g. coding and technical stuff along the way) dedicated to this program for peer-based learning and tutoring. It was meant to be free, anyone anywhere in the world in need of help in a particular subject (only IB currently) can simply fill in a request form and a tutor with skill in the subject can be assigned to that person, where the session will be held via Skype. Not too many people requested online sessions – there were never more than 10 online sessions held per week. But I was still happy with it – I, along with my peers, even dedicated more time to write biweekly articles on tips, strategies, and advice on tackling different aspects of the IB. I truly wished to make it the ideal learning for students, where they can enjoy engaging and interactive learning – essentially learning to learn, as an important mantra was not simply to teach content, but also how to engage with it. 

I got rejected by all my dream schools: Cornell, Brown, Penn, Yale. I emphasised my whole journey of overcoming my academic struggles and desiring to spread what I learned to others; taking something meaningful from my difficulties. Yes, I had fears that they might think I was being superficial having only started the program late in high school (granted my past experiences with other teaching-heavy programs since middle school may prove otherwise), but really, at the end of the day, **** them. It honestly doesn't matter to me whether they thought I was superficial, or wasn't truly passionate, because I know it isn't true. (Conversely, my counsellor suggested it was my really terribad grades in IB1 (talking like 25/42 here) that probably got me rejected, but that's neither here nor there.)

The important thing to takeaway is that your passions cannot be taken away by any form of external recognition or approval. Not having your dream schools accept you DOES NOT IN ANY WAY lessen the meaning and impact that you've caused, nor the passion you felt for doing what you enjoy. Honestly, I'm still super disappointed and crushed by not getting into any of the schools I hoped to get into. But I can look forward to the summer and future, where I will have the time to further develop my website, expand its reach to more students needing help, and possibly create a Youtube channel dedicated to tackling specific subjects and concepts. I can also still attain my dream of achieving an IB 45, having gone the spectrum of IB scores from a 24/42 in the beginning of the DP to a predicted 45 now, and I won't let my university decisions hinder me in any way from accomplishing this.  

Getting into a dream school is something that matters to anyone, so it's very reasonable that you're concerned about your drop in academic performance. But at the end of the day, it's your dreams and passions that carry you through life. Also, your grades + transcript are still excellent, especially for someone having accomplished so much more outside the academic field.

You should be exceedingly proud of how much you've accomplished and done at such a young age. The recognition and approval of your dream schools is understandably something that's desired, but I hope you wouldn't let it affect your passion for what you're doing now, and that YOU, keep doing what you love!

Your passions are really impressive! What is your website for your program? Besides, I would love to subscribe to your channel :)

I know people that been undervalued by universities; I actually seen their profiles online--near perfect test scores and lots of stellar achievements. Lots of national and international awards. But many of them turned out in lower tier schools (about 40~50 ish?). I think maybe Ivy schools are just that kind of elitist; they value smartness, talent over enthusiasm (while I am the dedicated but not talented one). If you did not do well for a bit, you would kind of be rejected.

I think maybe you and I am not that suitable for Ivy schools. We might not be our type. (Maybe I am too free-minded and disorganised?) Um...I am currently looking at academics/art programs of some lower tier schools that are the match schools of mine (they are the top 20s universities and some good LACs). These programs would be more inclusive when accepting students. I think what I will do now is to do well on second SAT and the IB DP1 final to get a good grade back. Then I can decide where I will be applying to. 

And good luck to you too :D Wish you all well on your final IB exam!

Edited by Aquilina

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16 minutes ago, Aquilina said:

Your passions are really impressive! What is your website for your program? Besides, I would love to subscribe to your channel :)

I know people that been undervalued by universities; I actually seen their profiles online--excellent test scores and lots of stellar achievements. But many of them turned out in lower tier schools (about 40~50 ish?). I think maybe Ivy schools are just that kind of elitist; they value smartness, talent over enthusiasm (while I am the dedicated but not talented one). If you did not do well for a bit, you would kind of be rejected. 

The website is studbuds.org (design-wise it could use a lot of work), and the Youtube channel hasn't been started yet – going to start planning its inception at the start of June and hopefully have it up and running by the end of the month.

Yeah, I'm definitely not the only one. I had hoped that they would overlook my shortcomings in favour of how far I've come: My journey in Chemistry was actually a metaphor I used in essays that I poured my heart and soul into– although it seemed rather trivial, I went from a 3 to a 7 in the span of a year in SL Chemistry and realising how much I've come from my struggles, I made the switch to HL Chemistry at the start of DP2. My enthusiasm and dedication to self-improvement were visible in all other aspects of my application: I worked really hard last year for the 2016 International Biomedical Olympiad in Singapore, but I only got a Bronze Medal. Yet I promised myself to push myself harder and do better the following year, and I attained the coveted Gold Medal in this year's round. Near the middle of last year, my first SAT test was an 1100/1600 with a 6/2/6 on the essay (I stupidly only started prepping SAT in the middle of the DP). Yet by January this year, I managed to attain a score of 1490 with a 7/7/7, as well as 750 and 740 on Biology & Chemistry Subject tests on the November test date– not too great, but I was satisfied given the little time I had preparing for them, and the lack of overlap between the IB Syllabi and the SAT's. Those scores were also in range for all my dream schools (except Yale), and I felt I had a great chance, especially with what I thought was a well-built resume that emphasised my passion in entrepreneurship yet further tempered with a newfound focus on communal education, as well as a recommendation from my Biology teacher that my counsellor commented was one of the best he's ever seen, even after having sent kids to Stanford and Ivies in the past. Everything seemed set, and I thought I had a great chance to get into Penn, which I felt has an educational program and structure that speaks and resonates immensely to me. 

Even with the numerous rejections I accumulated, all my achievements are still mine; multiple track records showing how far in so many things I've come. No one is defined by their acceptance to top-tier institutions, and I hope you'll find yourself at a better place than me this time next year. If not through acceptances to your dream programs, then happiness through your passions. 

Edited by IB`ez
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13 minutes ago, IB`ez said:

The website is studbuds.org (design-wise it could use a lot of work), and the Youtube channel hasn't been started yet – going to start planning its inception at the start of June and hopefully have it up and running by the end of the month.

Yeah, I'm definitely not the only one. I had hoped that they would overlook my shortcomings in favour of how far I've come: My journey in Chemistry was actually a metaphor I used in essays that I poured my heart and soul into– although it seemed rather trivial, I went from a 3 to a 7 in the span of a year in SL Chemistry and realising how much I've come from my struggles, I made the switch to HL Chemistry. My enthusiasm and dedication to self-improvement were visible in all other aspects of my application: I worked really hard last year for the 2016 International Biomedical Olympiad in Singapore, but I only got a Bronze Medal. Yet I promised myself to push myself harder and do better the following year, and I attained the coveted Gold Medal in this year's round. Near the middle of last year, my first SAT test was an 1100/1600 with a 6/2/6 on the essay (I stupidly only started prepping SAT in the middle of the DP). Yet by January this year, I managed to attain a score of 1490 with a 7/7/7, as well as 750 and 740 on Biology & Chemistry Subject tests on the November test date– not too great, but I was satisfied given the little time I had preparing for them, and the lack of overlap between the IB Syllabi and the SAT's. Those scores were also in range for all my dream schools (except Yale), and I felt I had a great chance, especially with what I thought was a well-built resume that emphasised my passion in entrepreneurship yet further tempered with a newfound focus on communal education, as well as a recommendation from my Biology teacher that my counsellor commented was one of the best he's ever seen, even after having sent kids to Stanford and Ivies in the past. Everything seemed set, and I thought I had a great chance to get into Penn, which I felt has an educational program and structure that speaks and resonates immensely to me. 

Even with the numerous rejections I accumulated, all my achievements are still mine. No one is defined by their acceptance to top-tier institutions, and I hope you'll find yourself at a better place than me this time next year. If not through acceptances to your dream programs, then happiness through your passions. 

From your description I can see that you are a very determined and prepared student. 

Um...I got around 1450 for my first testing back in January. It was not that great. The scores were said to be intentionally lowered by the CB because of their test paper scandal. Now I am fighting for a 1520+. To be frank, 1490 is not enough for an Ivy school;but its really surprising for me to see you improve your score from 1100 to 1490. 

And about my chemistry journey: until the end of Grade 9, my dream schools for top art schools. Then I decided to go for a dual degree in the future. I managed to hear about the Chemistry World magazine and getting Linkedin Connection and collaborations with the editor (the former Nat Chem one) and picture editor of it in one year. Also managed to talk for 2 minutes to an RSC Chartered Chemist on a science fair to letting him know about me and cooperating with his team on Alchemy in a semester. Also, Alchemy is now thriving and gaining more and more attention in the international chemists' communities :D

By the way, why did you switch from SL to HL chem? Are you doing 4 HLs then?

 

Edited by Aquilina

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10 minutes ago, Aquilina said:

From your description I can see that you are a very determined and prepared student. 

Um...I got around 1450 for my first testing back in January. It was not that great. The scores were said to be intentionally lowered by the CB because of their test paper scandal. Now I am fighting for a 1520+. To be frank, 1490 is not enough for an Ivy school;but its really surprising for me to see you improve your score from 1100 to 1490. 

And about my chemistry journey: until the end of Grade 9, my dream schools for top art schools. Then I decided to go for a dual degree in the future. I managed to hear about the Chemistry World magazine and getting Linkedin Connection and collaborations with the editor (the former Nat Chem one) and picture editor of it in one year. Also managed to talk for 2 minutes to an RSC Chartered Chemist on a science fair to letting him know about me and cooperating with his team on Alchemy in a semester. Also, Alchemy is now thriving and gaining more and more attention in the international chemists' communities :D

By the way, why did you switch from SL to HL chem? Are you doing 4 HLs then?

 

Ehh, I think it's difficult to say. Statistics from the Class of 2020 Profile puts 1480-1500 as the mean SAT score for Cornell, Brown, and Penn, with Yale's mean at 1540. Even then, I know someone from another school near my area that got into Yale with a 1300, and from all accounts, is rather undistinguished in literally everything, yet got in due to his first-generation college student status. Though also, I didn't mean to impress schools with a high SAT score like a lot of the talented and genius applicants would have, but more so demonstrating the lengths and dedication I can go to in improving. A 1450 is great, and indeed you should shoot for a 1520+ since that's what you're capable of.

Clearly you're renowned and excellent at what you do, and universities will notice that. Yes the whole process will be worrying, but I believe you have a much greater shot than the majority of people. 

I switched from SL to HL Chemistry since I enjoyed the course a lot, and wanted more. I guess I could have taken 4 HLs but since my dream is to attain a 45, and the additional HL subject doesn't mean much, I moved English A down to SL, which was previously HL. 

Edit: Sounds really interesting that Alchemy is gaining a lot of traction – you could be the pioneer of a brand new revolution in Chemistry! :D 

Edited by IB`ez

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5 minutes ago, IB`ez said:

Ehh, I think it's difficult to say. Statistics from the Class of 2020 Profile puts 1480-1500 as the mean SAT score for Cornell, Brown, and Penn, with Yale's mean at 1540. Even then, I know someone from another school near my area that got into Yale with a 1300, and from all accounts, is rather undistinguished in literally everything, yet got in due to his first-generation college student status. 1450 is great, and indeed you should shoot for a 1520+ since that's what you're capable of.

Clearly you're renowned and excellent at what you do, and universities will notice that. Yes the whole process will be worrying, but I believe you have a much greater shot than the majority of people. 

I switched from SL to HL Chemistry since I enjoyed the course a lot, and wanted more. I could have taken 4 HLs but since I coveted a perfect IB score more, and the additional HL subject doesn't mean much, I moved English A down to SL, which was previously HL. 

By the way: I am somehow curious about the number of the students in your HL chemistry class. There is only one HL student in our grade. 

Edited by Aquilina

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7 minutes ago, Aquilina said:

By the way: I am somehow curious about the number of the students in your HL chemistry class. There is only one HL student in our grade. 

There are 10 Chemistry students in all in my cohort, with 4 (including me) taking HL.

Proportion-wise, it's similar too for the juniors at DP1; about 6 people out of 12 or 14 take HL. It's actually last year that there was only one HL Chemistry student out of approx. 13 in the May 2016 cohort, and was the first ever student from my school to get a 7 for Chemistry. 

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53 minutes ago, Aquilina said:

I think maybe you and I am not that suitable for Ivy schools. We might not be our type. (Maybe I am too free-minded and disorganised?) Um...I am currently looking at academics/art programs of some lower tier schools that are the match schools of mine (they are the top 20s universities and some good LACs). These programs would be more inclusive when accepting students. I think what I will do now is to do well on second SAT and the IB DP1 final to get a good grade back. Then I can decide where I will be applying to. 

And good luck to you too :D Wish you all well on your final IB exam!

Yeah, perhaps they're not for us. But who knows, again, I honestly think that you'd be a superstar applicant when applying to those schools. 

Thanks a lot, and best of luck to you on your IB1 finals as well! You'll get the grades you want – believe in yourself!

Edited by IB`ez
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6 minutes ago, IB`ez said:

There are 10 Chemistry students in all in my cohort, with 4 (including me) taking HL.

Proportion-wise, it's similar too for the juniors at DP1; about 6 people out of 12 or 14 take HL. It's actually last year that there was only one HL Chemistry student out of approx. 13 in the May 2016 cohort, and was the first ever student from my school to get a 7 for Chemistry. 

Complete different experience here. We only have 3 chem students in our grade. Every time when we have classes, it would be very much like a round table discourse. The course also proceeds much faster than usual classes, and there are not many group activities. (We once had a separate SL and HL activity for the Periodicity Unit, imagine it) And the idea of 'HL classmates' does not exist here.

Exams experiences are also um...interesting because the exam time of standard and higher level is not the same. And the one-on-one tea-drinking HL period. 

What are your experiences in a class that is not large or small?

Edited by Aquilina
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7 hours ago, Aquilina said:

Complete different experience here. We only have 3 chem students in our grade. Every time when we have classes, it would be very much like a round table discourse. The course also proceeds much faster than usual classes, and there are not many group activities. (We once had a separate SL and HL activity for the Periodicity Unit, imagine it) And the idea of 'HL classmates' does not exist here.

Exams experiences are also um...interesting because the exam time of standard and higher level is not the same. And the one-on-one tea-drinking HL period. 

What are your experiences in a class that is not large or small?

lol I'd like a tea-drinking period.

My classes pretty generic – once my teacher's done teaching SL content, she would just split the class and have the SL students work on IAs whilst she covers HL content. Students at my school are relatively individualistic and don't really ask for help from others, so I pretty also went through the topics on my own and rarely studied chemistry with1 a friend.

I generally like how science HL exams have more questions, allowing bigger room for mistakes. 

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