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Spanish Subject Test instead of High School Classes?

jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
I'm a rising junior in high school and curious about college requirements for foreign languages. I took Spanish 1 freshman year and did not enjoy the class at all (I'm mixed mexican (hispanic) and caucasian and it isn't because of the language) because the teacher makes students participate in singing and dancing for a participation grade...I was not comfortable with this so i skipped spanish 2 this year to take the next level math class...i was wondering if taking the subject test and doing reasonably well on it would substitute these classes in the eyes of higher tier colleges?
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Replies to: Spanish Subject Test instead of High School Classes?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79073 replies703 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    Unless you have been learning Spanish on your own to a proficiency higher than high school year 1, it is unlikely that you will do well enough on the subject test even for those colleges that accept a high enough subject test score in lieu of whatever level of foreign language they want to see (commonly at least equivalent to high school year 3 or 4 for the more selective colleges). Even then, many of the more selective colleges prefer to see that you take foreign language to a high level in school, unless it is just not available (e.g. if a heritage speaker of Spanish is already beyond the high school's highest level of Spanish course, and Spanish is the only available language).
    edited June 2018
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  • jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
    edited June 2018
    Thanks for the quick response! I can understand competitive colleges would want 3-4 foreign language classes. I’ve been learning Spanish since I was very young due to being constantly surrounded by people speak Spanish...and only Spanish, I communicate fairly well but the writing is what I’m worried about, my schedule is kinda tight so I was considering self studying and taking the subject test, mainly because I’m going to be done with the credits I need to graduate and want to start working on cyber security certification the beginning of my senior year (it’s only 30 credit hours) and it’s going to take up most of not all of my schedule, fitting 2 more spanishes in wouldn’t allow me to do that (the drive to the campus that offers the courses is almost two hours, I’d be there nearly all day)
    edited June 2018
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20774 replies2016 threads Super Moderator
    edited June 2018
    Your doing well on the SAT is not going to be a replacement for actual coursework, especially when you will be in the pool with students who have not only scored well but have taken 3 years of HS Spanish, AP Spanish and/or dual enrollment college course in Spanish Literature.

    Most selective schools are also not going to take dual enrollment courses or course work before you became a matriculated student.

    Make sure that working on this cyber security certificate does not make you lose your freshman status
    edited June 2018
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
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  • happy1happy1 23059 replies2279 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    Agreed. Colleges view foreign language as a core academic course. A student who has learned a language at home and can ace a standardized test does not fulfill this academic requirement .
    edited June 2018
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29813 replies177 threads Senior Member
    I am surprised that you were placed into Spanish 1. As a heritage speaker with at least conversational fluency, you probably should have started in Spanish 2 if not even higher. Since you can read English, you can read basic Spanish. It takes about two minutes to master the difference in the letters' sounds, and the spelling is all phonetic. Writing is bit more complicated because of those pesky accent marks. However, if you have a good visual memory, you may be able to sort that out fairly quickly.

    To speed up your higher-level Spanish skills, find something you like to read, and start reading that stuff in Spanish. The entire Harry Potter series is available in translation, chances are that you already know the storyline so you won't have to worry about what happens next, just which words are really Spanish and which are HP world vocabulary. You can read them aloud to your Mexican relatives and watch how the Castillian Spanish makes them laugh until they cry. ;). For listening comprehension, keep on watching your grandma's favorite telenovelas with her, but also take some time to watch the news in Spanish or Spanish-language TED talks online.

    As for whether or not you need to take Spanish (or another language) while in high school, the first thing you need to verify is how many classes are specifically required to meet the high school's foreign language graduation requirement. Our school district requires two years of FL or to complete a career preparation program with a lot of extra tech ed credits. Some school districts will waive the FL course requirement if students can demonstrate FL fluency by exam.

    Once you can meet your high school's graduation requirement, you need to verify the admissions requirements for the colleges and universities on your list. Some don't care, provided you have a full high school diploma from your state. Some require a specific minimum number of HS courses in FL. Some will waive the course requirement provided you can demonstrate a specific level of fluency by exam.

    Even if you don't need to take any FL to get into college, you still may need to take it in order to graduate. Again you will have to check each institution's policy carefully for your major. Some will require coursework no matter what and others will waive the requirement by exam.
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20774 replies2016 threads Super Moderator
    edited June 2018
    In NYS, in order to get an advanced regents diploma you need 3 years of foreign language and pass the LOTE (state exam in Languages other than english)

    If you are a native speaker, hopefully your school runs a two track Spanish curriculum- Spanish for native speakers and Spanish for non native speakers.

    The only way that you can get foreign language credit without actually having taken the course is if you have lived in a non-english speaking country and you are coming to school in the US for the first time after age 11 (you get 2 credits for each year after age 11 you have lived in your home country because you are immersed in the language and the culture).
    edited June 2018
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
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  • lbflbf 394 replies0 threads Member
    Does your HS have a language requirement to graduate? A lot of schools do and it is usually at a minimum 2 years, also many colleges want you to be at least to a level 3 in a language. Look at some colleges you might consider and see what their requirement is.
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  • InfoQuestMomInfoQuestMom 279 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Check with your school counselor about how you can meet your foreign language graduation requirements if there are any. Our district only has a 5 credit requirement, which you can meet with a single trimester of foreign language.
    My daughter is also a heritage speaker, although she has had less exposure than you because my husband is not a Spanish speaker and all of our relatives in the U.S. are from his side of the family. I am helping her prepare in grammar and writing in order for her to take AP Spanish at school. We are in California, here she can meet the UC and CSU systems requirements with a qualifying score in either SAT Spanish/Spanish With Listening or AP Spanish.
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  • jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
    I live in SC, foreign language isn’t required to graduate but its recommend. I told my counselor I’m a native Spanish speaker before high school started, was placed in Spanish 1 but the teacher definitely gave me and the other Hispanic kids advanced work, it wasn’t that bad but the dialect that the teacher spoke was different (from Venezuela - first teacher, Colombia - second teacher; first teacher was pregnant), from what I’m reading probably going to have to take the 2 Spanish classes left that my high school offers, no AP but there’s a dual enrollment course; the certification isn’t for transferring it’s just something I want to do, interested in the subject, I can do it on my own time though, thanks for the replies!
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  • jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
    edited June 2018
    InfoQuestMom, that’s really interesting, probably just going to get the classes over with, perhaps my couselor has an online program that i can take the classes on, I’m just not a fan of participating in the manner that the teachers currently require, I’d rather learn my textbook, I learn better that way
    edited June 2018
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29813 replies177 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    @jfuentes2 - Languages often are taught in ways that are very interactive in order to promote communication among the learners in the classroom. This communicative methodology is based on solid reasearch about the ways that humans acquire language skills. Memorizing a grammar textbook and a list of words all too often results in learners who can't communicate at all in real life situations. Granted, singing and dancing can feel very odd to someone who already knows the language, but for the true Level 1 students those can be really effective tools for getting the pronunciation and rhythm of the language into their brains. Just ask around with the adults in your family, how many of the older ones learned English from listening and singing along with The Beatles?

    Before registering for any specific Spanish class at your high school, ask for formal testing so that you can be placed correctly this time. For college admission taking three years of FL classes often is not as important as taking the 3rd year level.

    Mastering competence in more than one dialect is a good thing. You need to be able to cope with whatever regional variety of Spanish the people around you are using. Having strong skills in your other language can open a lot of doors both socially and professionally for you. Happydad was born in Cuba and lived in Venezuela, Mexico, and Ecuador as a child, and finished high school and university in Venezuela. His grandparents were from Asturias and Galicia. Feed him enough beer and he can do any of those accents.
    edited June 2018
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  • jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
    Happymomof1, i agree that learning to cope with different dialects is important, it was just hard to get used to that’s all, as far as I known I cant take classes I don’t had the prerequisites for, and for each Spanish class it’s the preceding class, ag least as far as I know, I wanted to skip geometry my freshman year but my counselor said it was impossible and even gave me a speech about rushing through life; you’re correct in that people learn languages in different ways and it can prove a better learning experience than referring solely to a textbook, but if I’m already able to communicate fairly well, I would think that I could substitute the classes with a well enough test score, but from what I’ve read this isn’t the case
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79073 replies703 threads Senior Member
    jfuentes2 wrote:
    as far as I known I cant take classes I don’t had the prerequisites for, and for each Spanish class it’s the preceding class

    Even the least clued-in counselor should know that some students with prior knowledge of a foreign language as heritage speakers or through elementary/middle school language immersion programs may need to start in a course higher than year 1 of high school foreign language (placement testing with the teachers of that language would be appropriate).

    On the other hand, skipping math courses like geometry is not really advisable, unless you took it previously in middle school where it is equivalent to the high school geometry course.
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  • jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
    Ucbalumnus, i think the problem is that you can’t get credit for a course unless you take it, and spanish classes run out after spanish 3, maybe my counselor was worried that I wouldn’t have three Spanish classes? I’m not sure, but during the summer before freshman year I started studying topics in geometry and I had seen most of it before so I didn’t think it was necessary to take it (and once I did complete it I was convinced that this was true; the teacher was cool though so that’s a plus) but there isn’t really a placement test, and the same goes for Spanish, every Hispanic student at the school takes Spanish 1, 2, then 3; the work we do is individualized so that we work on things we haven’t seen before; there’s a decent amount of book work and participation grades, but the problem the teacher has is that i think it feels like two separate classes to her and her attention is mainly focused on her non heritage speakers; all-in-all the class is named Spanish 1 or Spanish 2, but it isn’t just year one or two of Spanish, there is additional work, but not necessarily additional guidance
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  • jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
    Foreign language at my school is usually taken from 10th grade to 12th grade, but I had an elective block open in freshman year, so I took it
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79073 replies703 threads Senior Member
    Most colleges do look at level completed of a foreign language.

    Seems like if there are enough heritage speakers of Spanish in your school, it should offer a Spanish-for-heritage-speakers sequence of courses so that the teachers would not have to split their in-class time between the heritage speakers and those learning Spanish from the beginning.
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  • jfuentes2jfuentes2 8 replies1 threads New Member
    I suppose it should, think I’m gonna try and fit both Spanish’s in junior year so I can take the tech courses, thanks for the replies, again
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