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FAQ: Foreign Language


Replies to: FAQ: Foreign Language

  • 2muchquan2muchquan Registered User Posts: 2,030 Senior Member
    @SoccerMomGenie Your situation is similar to ours. My daughter's guidance counselor told her to take an independent study for Mandarin in her senior year because they do not offer AP. Her independent study will basically consist of self studying for the AP test, plus a bit more like helping the teacher in the lower levels.
  • STEM2017STEM2017 Registered User Posts: 4,073 Senior Member
    My junior S has taken 3 years of honors Latin with an A average. After this year he will have completed his language requirment for his high school. However, his guidance counselor has recommended that he complete a 4 year sequence of Latin. The counselor claims this will look better on his applications. While he has done well in all his Latin courses, he doesn't neccesarily enjoy the subject and would rather take a more enjoyable elective. So his choice is boring Latin 4 honors (he wont take AP Latin) or an interesting elective. Any opinions?
  • insanedreamerinsanedreamer Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    So his choice is boring Latin 4 honors (he wont take AP Latin) or an interesting elective. Any opinions?

    Interesting elective, since the main point of studying is to learn, and learning is best achieved when the student finds the subject enjoyable. It'll also be useful on the applications since it adds breadth. Besides, his happiness is important--and being more happy is also likely to help him perform better in other subjects.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,278 Senior Member
    @Lakritz : you can indicate "Swedish" for "Language spoken at home" in addition to English, and present a certificate of proficiency from a cultural center if you've taken one. Proficiency in several languages is always a plus. If in addition you are bicultural (have adopted Swedish cultural values, have lived in Sweden some time and navigate the differences between the two cultures) it's even better. Some colleges value this highly, such as Dickinson and Middlebury, plus of course all the Scandinavia-related colleges, of which St Olaf is the most famous (Norway), and Gustavus Adolphus (Swedish), plus Luther and Pacific Lutheran.
  • LakritzLakritz Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    @MYOS1634 Thank you for responding! I've been contemplating taking a proficiency test but didn't know if colleges would actually take a glance at it or not. I'll look into it further now! Oh yes, we are a very Swedish household. A few times a year we have Swedish celebrations (Santa Lucia, Midsummer, Easter). Unfortunately I have no lived in Sweden (though going for college is an option, free education is a strong factor...but that would eradicate the proficiency test since I would be taking the courses in English). But, we try to go at least once a year. Thank you again for your insights!

  • startingsoonstartingsoon Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Quick question about foreign language requirements ... My daughter will be a junior next year and is trying to decide between a third year of a foreign language or AP Govt. She could wait and take AP Govt during her senior year, but she absolutely LOVES politics/government/history and Is excited about the idea of taking AP Govt during an election year. Unfortunately, to fit it into her schedule, she'd need to drop her foreign language. She's not really sure where she wants to go to college, but it will probable be an LAC for political science/history with the hope to get a DC internship at some point. Which do you think would be a better choice for her?
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,278 Senior Member
    Does she have any opportunity to volunteer on a campaign of interest, perhaps in a candidate's local youth group/through a college student group/with a 'get out the youth vote' organization? That'd be WAY more interesting both for her and her admission odds, than AP Gov. And she'd still be able to take Level 3 of a foreign language (which is likely to be important at most LACs where political science is strong).
  • startingsoonstartingsoon Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Great point, MYOS1634! I think that's exactly what she'll do! Thanks!
  • bearpantherbearpanther Registered User Posts: 673 Member
    Our family is struggling with the decision on whether to continue with Spanish for my 9th grader. He is currently taking Honors Spanish 2 after taking Spanish 1 in middle school.

    He normally takes higher level classes and he has always done very well. Just brought home 3rd quarter report card with a C in Spanish. His other subject grades are all A's.

    He hates Spanish, and he cares little to do the work. The class has caused a lot of stress for him and our family because it is a constant battle to get him to put in the slightest effort for something he so strongly dislikes.

    He has little idea of what he wants to study in college, though his favorite classes are usually History, Math, and English. He has not started thinking about specific colleges, either.

    He very reluctantly registered for Spanish 3 next year (I initially encouraged it due to what I read here even with all the fighting), and he is already dreading it. My instinct now is that we would all be much happier if he dropped it and did something else with that period.

    Realistically, what opportunities is he truly losing by quitting language after 2 years?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,172 Senior Member
    Realistically, what opportunities is he truly losing by quitting language after 2 years?

    You probably need to look up several colleges to see what their foreign language admission and graduation requirements are. Consider a few of the following types of colleges:

    * In-state public universities from the flagship to the less selective local ones.
    * Popular private universities among students in your area, from a range of selectivity levels.
    * If out-of-state public universities are affordable, some of the more likely ones.

    Remember that foreign language graduation requirements may be higher than admission requirements; taking a higher level in high school may allow taking fewer foreign language courses at a college with a foreign language graduation requirement, due to starting in a higher level course.

    Is it Spanish in particular that he dislikes, or is he likely to dislike a different foreign language (which he can reach level 3 in if he starts next year)?
  • bearpantherbearpanther Registered User Posts: 673 Member
    Thanks @ucbalumnus, I think it is Spanish specifically he dislikes. Unfortunately his only other option at his school is French, which I think would be very similar (though he could go back to level 1 and start fresh, I suppose). He does have some interest in other languages, like Russian, Latin, and Japanese, and I can see him taking language classes in college. He has even self taught himself the Russian alphabet.

    However, we live in a pretty rural area and I don't see him enrolling in an online language class or community college now just to get the credits in.

    I really think, looking back, that he should have been in regular Spanish 2. Going from the slow teaching pace of Spanish 1 over 2 years in middle school into a situation where the class is 90% taught in Spanish I think was too much. I don't think he has retained much of anything he was supposed to learn this year and I think the low test scores are indicative of that.

    I will look at a few types schools as you recommended, both for admission and graduation requirements.

    I already checked out my alma mater, and they require 3 and recommend 4. Does that mean an otherwise stellar (hypothetical) application gets tossed in the garbage because a box isn't ticked? Like, don't even bother applying without 3 years of Spanish?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,172 Senior Member
    If it says "required", that presumably means do not bother to apply if you do not have it. Sometimes, there may be alternative means of fulfilling such a requirement (e.g. SAT subject scores, AP scores, or college courses in a foreign language, though they obviously require sufficient knowledge of a foreign language).

    If it says "recommended" or "expected", that presumably means that applications without it are accepted, but chance of admission is likely to be degraded.
  • bearpantherbearpanther Registered User Posts: 673 Member
    I spoke to his guidance counselor today, She said she'd had quite a few students who dropped language after 2 years for a variety of reasons and not a single one had been shut out of college---that they had all managed to get into "good schools".

    She did concede that "top schools" would have an issue with it but on the whole, said it was better for him to focus on classes he liked and did well in than stress over a 3rd year of Spanish.

    She did say he could start French next year if he wanted and he would still have time to get to French 3.
  • MomofmrbMomofmrb Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    My son dropped French after sophomore year because he was interested in other classes. It did not affect his college applications at all, because by the time he was done he'd finished "French 3' (thanks to 8th grade French counting). I'd check with the school websites of the colleges your child cares about, but for my guy, it didn't matter.
  • bloxJacketbloxJacket Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    I would personally recommend that people take a foreign language in highschool PERIOD. No debate. Our country is become so culturally-mixed that races are all intermingled and differing that learning a new language is a prime away to get through with your life in the future with ease. Personally, when applying to college I'll be bringing into the table my Spanish (4 years: Spanish 1, 2, 3, and A.P. Spanish Lang) and Russian (2nd native language: russian-immigrant parents). Although I know three languages, I'll still be minoring in Russian and Spanish in my university, along with probably learning a language like Dutch (hey there... don't judge! I LOVE Amsterdam in the Netherlands... Don't judge! haha).

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