Advice for choosing a language Huntsman program UPENN

I’m planning on applying ED to the huntsman program at Penn (w a second choice to wharton). Almost all of my ecs are international relations/public policy related so that should but fine but my issue is with choosing a language.

I am a native speaker in three languages (english, polish, kurdish) and have 7+ years of experience with spanish and a dabble in farsi.

although spanish is realistically the smart choice to pick (because I not only am fluent but have a tangible associates degree in the language), i have more passion in the regions in which Russian dominates. My extra curriculars are very eastern euro and middle east dominated which would kind of push for me choosing russian. And I am fluent in polish, making me already able to understand most of spoken russian.

i have three months until the ED deadline, in which i could probably learn the alphabet / read russian, but I still would have no tangible certification for russian.

would it be advisable to choose the language which would be more suitable for the regions i’m most interested in (russian) or do the one that gives me a higher chance at acceptance (spanish)?

I see no data to support this. If anything, IMO, a language like Spanish or Chinese will have a lower chance of acceptance because more applicants will have selected that language and are proficient.

If your EC’S and interests are eastern European focused, choose Russian. I have no idea how flexible they are with language proficiency, but given that Russian is rarely taught in HS and you are proficient in a cognate language should work to your benefit

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I agree with @skieurope .

I’d also mention that due to current events, there is and will continue to be a need for translators and others skilled in Russian and other eastern Euro languages and culture. IMO this would be a positive in your application and make you stand out.

Edit: I did not intend to respond to ski.

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This is a variant of a common question on CC: “I want to go to school X, but should I improve my chances of getting in by declaring I will study something different than what I truly want to study?” The answer to this question should almost always be no.

Be your authentic self, know what you want to focus on and let your passions and interests shine. In this case, think about the supplemental essays for Huntsman. I’m pretty sure they ask what your areas of interest in global affairs and business are. It will be a stronger and more honest essay if you can talk about your interest in the Russophone world, and that essay will only work if you declare Russian as your language of study for the program. It’s what you want to do, so get on a path that lets you do it.

That said, Huntsman is an uber-selective program housed at a very highly selective university. Make sure you have a balanced list of schools, and good luck!

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Russian is what you would like to study, so choose Russian.

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ah thank you so much!

Huntsman specifically accepts fluency between Spanish & Portuguese- languages with ~90 overlap. Russian & Polish overlap by rather less- under 50% iirc, more like German & English. My suggestion is that you go use Duolingo / Rosetta Stone (or similar- I just know that those 2 align with the CEFR levels). IF you can get to B1 in Russian by ED day, go ahead and apply for Russian. IF not, I would apply for Polish or Kurdish, not Spanish for the reason that @skieurope said: it is likely to be the most common. If you are living and going to school in the US (ie, through English), even if you are a native Polish/Kurdish speaker your written / professional Polish/Kurdish is unlikely to be up to the level of (say) being able to write a policy analysis paper.

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Those aren’t options. The options are Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

Penn has classes for that.

I doubt that any HS student, in any language including English, can write an effective policy paper. :grin:

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Good catch

Ha! you notice I did not specify “effective”!

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Sounds good. I would apply to Polish/Kurdish if I could but, alas, they don’t accept those.

even if you are a native Polish/Kurdish speaker your written / professional Polish/Kurdish is unlikely to be up to the level of (say) being able to write a policy analysis paper.

that’s actually kind of funny you mentioned this because I have done one in Polish before. is it effective? probably not, but it was a decent paper. but yeah kurdish, I would not be able to, but then again, most Kurds probably could not considering the history of the language.

Russian & Polish overlap by rather less- under 50% iirc, more like German & English.

wait is this actually true? Because I can hold full conversations with my Russian friend (her speaking Russian, me in Polish) and we can understand each other. But I was never able to do that w my German friend. That’s actually super interesting!