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Foreign Language advice PLEASE!

goatgirlgoatgirl 11 replies8 threads Junior Member
My HS uses foreign language in calculating class rank. This stinks because some people had languages classes available during middle school and are now done with their language requirements. My middle school didn’t have them available and now I have to do my Spanish classes during HS. The fact that they’re regular classes (with no multiplier) drags me down in the ranks because others are taking AP electives that’s have a huge multiplier. I am a strong student and have a decent shot at upper tier schools like Rice and Vanderbilt but I know colleges prefer more than two years of foreign language. I’m almost done with the two years required by my district. It’s a conundrum because if I take a third year of Spanish, just to “look good” for colleges, the regular class will definitely yank me out of my current rank of #2 (out of 790 students). In addition, the Spanish teachers at our school stink. They don’t teach well and love handing out B’s. (Not all teachers are equal, right? Bear that in mind in this case) What would you do? Take the class but lose your rank? Or hold tight to your rank and be done with Spanish? Can you think of any alternatives? Thanks for your advice.
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Replies to: Foreign Language advice PLEASE!

  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited January 27
    Consider taking Spanish classes during Summer vacation at a college or university which is affordable for you.
    edited January 27
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  • skieuropeskieurope 40797 replies7570 threads Super Moderator
    edited January 27
    colleges prefer more than two years of foreign language
    There's your answer.
    the regular class will definitely yank me out of my current rank of #2
    The impact is likely akin to a pimple on an elephant's ass.
    They don’t teach well
    Every AO's eyes will glaze over with this excuse. If needed, the expectation is that you will look for assistance outside the classroom. There are millions of internet resources.
    edited January 27
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 987 replies7 threads Member
    If your applying to colleges that expect more than 2 years of a foreign language they can easily use that to weed out acceptances no matter what your rank is.

    For the most part class rank is finalized after you apply to colleges so it isn't a big factor for college admission.

    In terms of a bad teacher - I would never tell a college admissions officer you were afraid to take a class because you might have a bad teacher or that you got a B because of a bad teacher.
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  • happy1happy1 23975 replies2404 threads Super Moderator
    You can look at section C of the common data set of schools you are interested in (google "common data set XYZ university) and see how many years of foreign language are recommended/required. IMO if you don't meet the recommendation/requirement you application will be at a disadvantage, especially for a very competitive college. I would not worry about if you are #2 or a few notches lower in class rank.

    If you don't want to continue foreign language in your HS perhaps you can seek out an accredited online class, a summer program, or a CC class (if those options are affordable to your family).
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    OP: Your class rank as Val or Sal may make a difference with respect to admission at certain schools (e.g. Georgia Tech) so you may have a valid concern with respect to losing your current "top 2 in the class" status.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 40797 replies7570 threads Super Moderator
    edited January 27
    Publisher wrote: »
    OP: Your class rank as Val or Sal may make a difference with respect to admission at certain schools (e.g. Georgia Tech) so you may have a valid concern with respect to losing your current "top 2 in the class" status.

    Assumes facts not in evidence. The OP lives in TX, so GA Tech automatic admissions policy is not applicable.
    edited January 27
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  • books4lifebooks4life 21 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Our D took 4 years of foreign language (2 years unweighted) and 2 years of chorus (both unweighted) at a very competitive high school. She knew early on that she will be out the running for top GPA and she wasn't focused on that. She had the option of taking foreign language at a community college in the summer, but opted to focus her energy on other activities instead. She ended up at a top school. I think a GPA difference of a few decimal points will not matter to colleges. Good luck.
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  • h8annahh8annah 410 replies29 threads Member
    You're going to be compared to students that went up to Level 4 or AP, even within your own school. Why would you put yourself at such a disadvantage during the college admissions process? Plus, you're likely going to have to take a language in college if you stop at Level 2 now.

    I was in a situation similar-ish. I've been top 2 and wanted to maintain the rank, but I didn't take Spanish in middle school and therefore I had only academic options. I decided to do Dual Enrollment in French. Is is possible for you to continue your language through a DE program so you can hold on to your rank and continue world langauge?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83314 replies741 threads Senior Member
    skieurope wrote: »
    The OP lives in TX,

    Living in Texas probably puts class rank first and foremost in college-bound high school students' minds (at least those aiming for the more selective Texas public universities, where class rank is used instead of GPA and can fill up much of the class with automatic admission by class rank). Seems that a lot of ugly or counterproductive class rank competition or gaming stories on these forums come out of Texas.

    What is missing from the OP's post is how far his/her rank would drop if s/he continued taking unweighted foreign language. If it is a big drop (perhaps falling out of the top 6%/10% automatic admission range), then the OP has the ugly choice between:

    A. Continue foreign language, for better preparation for college generally and for admission to most highly selective colleges other than the more selective Texas publics.
    B. Stop foreign language and take more weighted courses keep top-end class rank to maximize admission chances to the more selective Texas publics (and their more selective majors/divisions).
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10122 replies118 threads Senior Member
    I think you are in a catch 22. The schools you posted about want 4 years of FL, but then you might lose your auto admit for the TX publics.

    If you take Spanish in the summer will it be included in your GPA rank calculation?
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6525 replies1 threads Senior Member
    It would seem to me that living in Texas, knowing some Spanish would be very useful.

    My suggestion would be to work on your Spanish outside of class, and work on your Spanish over the summer. Watch TV shows in Spanish. Find opportunities to talk Spanish with native Spanish speakers. With some work you should be able to improve your grades in Spanish, and also learn something useful.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83314 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited January 28
    One other class rank concern is that if your counselor just refers to your class rank when filling in the "academic achievement" part of the school report, that magnifies the importance of class rank at many colleges.

    https://commonapp.my.salesforce.com/sfc/p/#d0000000eEna/a/0V000001Avzq/PBXzR0UOtu4hSdgTXHDH9Sk6bTeQ6w8l2NQblq_KoZ0

    Really, this looks like a lose-lose choice.
    edited January 28
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus re: your post #9 above. I agree.

    I was just using Georgia Tech as an example (why I used "eg" instead of "ie").

    The state of Texas has an interesting law which benefits valedictorians of Texas high schools with graduating classes of 50 or more:

    Texas Education Code 54.301 as revised October 26, 2019.
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  • goatgirlgoatgirl 11 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for all of your kind suggestions. Yes, being in Texas makes this choice more difficult. I honestly wish we would stop placing so much emphasis on rank because it causes students to make incredibly stupid choices just to stay high in the ranks. I think the best choice may be to keep plugging away at the rank but take Spanish in summer school or online at a CC. Ugh. Texas. Smh
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