Celina Davis
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I’m starting IB in September it since I’m going to a new school my subjects are still not finalized. I want to study either engineering or law and I will be applying to both the US and UK, mainly to top universities. I’m thinking about maths AA, physics, English A Lang&lit, and economics for HL and music and Chinese A for SL. I don’t think it is required, but is it better if I do English HL for law application? I also had a look at the economics paper and SL and HL only differ by one paper which is mostly calculations which is my strong suit so I thought I’d do HL. Maths and physics HL are required for engineering and they are my strongest subjects. I’ve also already pre-learned the respective AS courses before I decided to do IB.

My school doesn’t recommend doing 4 HLs but since maths and physics HL required and doing economics HL would probably be an advantage over SL (personally speaking) I feel like English HL would contend for a stronger law application. Has anyone here ever done 4 HLs? How did you find it? Is it true that it doesn’t give you any advantage in university applications at all? Thanks so much.
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zoe-steph
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I don't know if this'll be any help, but I did four HLs for a while. I started school last September, and kept four HLs until January this year. Mine were English, French, Maths and Economics, because I really wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to do Economics in uni. Then I realised that, no, I really, really didn't want to do Economics, and dropped maths.

Until I dropped it, I actually managed okay. Like you said, the difference between SL and HL in Econ isn't big, so might as well go for that. The easiness of HL English depends on whether you've got the knack for it, but like you said, it's good to have for a law degree. Physics and Maths would be noticeably more difficult at HL but if you've already done the AS course, you have an advantage there.

My advice would be (if your school allows it) to keep all four HLs while you decide where your interests lie. Contact some universities and ask their law departments and engineering departments what their advice on your subjects are, and see for yourself what managing four HLs are like. If it's not worth it, drop one and make life easy for yourself. But if you find that you're managing okay, just keep them.

I'd say that the major point to decide if you're doing four HLs would be halfway through DP1, maybe even a bit longer depending on your school. Dropping from HL to SL shouldn't be a problem (it's trying to jump from SL to HL that would be hard)

I have no idea about advantages when it comes to uni applications, but I wouldn't recommend doing four HLs just because of that.

Hope this was somewhat useful. Good luck with the IB!
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VanillaCream
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hey, I've been doing 4 HLs for a while as well. mine were Biology, Chemistry, Geography and English B, honestly, only because our school requires us to take English B HL, I need Biology and Chemistry since I want to study medicine and Geography was always one of my favourite subjects. around January-February, I decided to drop geography though. this wasn't mainly due to the workload, but because I realized I don't enjoy the HL extension of Geography so much and wasn't really keen on learning these things.
when it comes to workload, I don't think it was significantly harder, maybe it would be around final exams as there would be more content to study, but definitely not undoable, so I think if I liked those HL extension topics, I would stay at Geography HL.
the truth is that for the UK unis, it doesn't give you advantage besides: admission office people thinking 'oh wow, they must be very clever/well organized/etc. to have had 4 HLs instead of 3 (kind of a joke here haha, but they might think so) and you get an offer for uni for example as 40 points in IB and 766 in HL (assuming the specific grades in specific subjects are not defined, e.g. 7 in HL Maths), then you might kind of choose the 3 best grades, so e.g. if you studied Maths, Physics and English at HL and got 666 and your offer was 766, you missed it, but if you were also studying Economics and got 7666 (with the 7 in Economics), you got in, assuming, as I said, that no specific grades were required in specific subjects.
for the USA though, HL subjects count as credits for the university (you don't have to take some classes), I'm pretty sure SL subjects don't, so here it would be an advantage as you can potentially get credits for all your 4 HL subjects.

regarding English, I think it's generally better if you do English HL for law, not only in the admission process, but also on the whole course thanks to the skills you learn.

if you have any more questions, feel free to ask!
Last edited by VanillaCream; 1 month ago
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