Preparing for College

IB Diploma or Beloved Extracurriculars?

Question: I am a junior currently shooting for the full IB diploma. Our school recently switched from a block schedule with 8 classes to a regular schedule that only allows 7. I am involved in both band (I play the flute, and won best at site and superior ratings at State Solo/Ensemble Festival two consecutive years and have been accepted to the top All-State band) and choir (involved in Chambers Singers, heavily interested in barbershop and am currently starting and directing a barbershop quartet). However, there are only 7 class slots on my schedule, and the IB diploma takes up six. Is it better to sacrifice some extra-curricular involvement that I really care about or to forsake the IB diploma in favor of certificates? What would elite admission committees value most?

It sounds like you have many accomplishments under your belt and a tough choice to make ahead. It’s hard to give good, and even responsible advice without knowing a lot more about you, your school, your goals, etc. However, with this disclaimer firmly in place, this is what we’d recommend:

Stick with your full IB diploma. College admission officials always get a spring in their steps and a smile on their faces when they see it on an application.

Now, it seems that you have to choose between band and choir, right? Our suggestion is that you pick the band for that remaining school schedule slot (and stick to the State band, too) and then see if you can get yourself into a barbershop quartet outside of school, especially one in which you will be the only high school participant among a group of older adults. Admission officials especially like it when students tackle intergenerational pursuits and stretch their horizons beyond their high school and peers. Again, accept this advice with the understanding that we may not be seeing the big picture completely clearly.