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4 HLs?

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Hello

This is sort of a multi-faceted question, but I think it fits in this sub-forum. I'm starting IB2 next week, and have been consulting with my coordinator about possibly switching from History SL to HL. This would give me 4 HLs and 2SLs. I would still be in the SL class, and do independent study on the regional (Americas) topics. The only reason I am planning on doing this is for university-app boosting. I'm currently predicted a 7 at SL, and since I'm applying to Harvard, I want to present myself as accepting a very tough course load (4 HLs as opposed to 3), and having 3 7s at HL as opposed to 2. Anyways, my questions are whether 4 HLs are appreciably more difficult to handle than 3, especially considering that some of it is independent. Also, is it worth the extra time and the possibility of getting a lower final? Do universities really care about this, or am I wasting my time?

Thanks in advance for your advice

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Hello :D

To answer your question, yes, having 4 HLs will mean the course will be a lot more difficult, especially since you'll have to learn much of the stuff yourself. I think it really depends on what you want to study. If you're planning on studying law or something History-related, then having HL History would be a definite bonus. However, I warn you, taking this risk means that you might not achieve a very high IB total and this would be potentially detrimental to your Harvard application. Especially since you've only decided to take this change in IB-2. Speak to your teachers about it to see whether you're up for the challenge.

Good luck, I hope this helps :D

Oh, and browse around the site as there are other threads about 4 HLs, so you'll get more info. :)

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Seeing as you've already got rid of a subject a year early, I actually don't think it would be entirely unmanageable - after all, with extra subjects or even just more difficult subjects, it's more or less 100% about time. On the other hand [although I obviously am not an admissions person at Harvard xP], I don't think it would really make much of a difference to your application. I'm just going off what Oxbridge [the British Harvard] say, but doing extra subjects on top of what you're studying already doesn't set you out just on the merit of hard work. It's about quality, not quantity, as they say. It's better to use your extra time for something which really will make a difference (something unusual, or worthwhile, or relevant to what you want to study) than it is for taking extra regular lessons.

Doing 4 HLs won't harm you (except for the extra effort, which is slightly mitigated by the fact you'd already be down to 5 subjects), but from the knowledge I have, I don't think it would really have much of a significant effect on whether or not you'd be admitted to a good University. I don't know what other people think, but I know for sure people here are told that it's not about how many or how much you do, it's about what it is, and some people who take 6 A Levels will get overlooked, for instance, against candidates who only did 3 but have lots of other more unique traits going for them. Especially if ultimately you're still all interviewed.

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My knowledge of Harvard's stance on IB is almost shallow, but I can say that the college recognizes that students who have completed the IB program tend to have very strong work ethics and can probably handle the difficulty of college courses because they can manage their time efficiently [or manage it well enough to get by]. I don't think that switching to Hist HL will do much unless, like Taigan said, you are interested in that field, and you bring up your interest in one of the essays or in your interview. I don't think it's worth it, personally. I don't know how to weave such a well-crafted essay that somewhat subtly points out that you've taken an extra HL in an area that you enjoy because you might be wasting the essay talking about school when you could show another side of you that isn't apparent elsewhere. Now if you're fairly certain you'll get into Harvard or you think that you have a pretty good chance, then switching to HL might give you credits, whereas the SL might not. This is where you would need to check with the website. Harvard

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It seems doable to me, especially as you've finished one subject already. If it gets too hard, you can always switch something else down.

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