Language Requirements

Our rising senior recently toured a local university. It has the exact major she wants and since it’s local, it’s in our price range. Also, she has some learning disabilities and it is listed as being in the top 20 in the country for services. Admission into the fine art program is separate but the student must then be admitted into the University and must pass the academic requirements which include 2 years of language. When we originally signed off on bypassing languages in HS, the team assured us it probably would not interfere with her college admission. Our question is, should she say something on her application or will the transcript speak for itself? Thanks in advance.

If a foreign language is not specifically rquired for admission at this university, and is not specifically required for admission to the particular major, and is not normally required for graduation from the high school, there is no explaining to be done. However, if there is explaining to be done, it is done by the guidance counselor in the counselor letter.

My concern for your child would be the university’s graduation requirement of two years of foreign language. What options are there? Can that requirement be waived? If it can’t be waived, what options are available for fulfilling it? Presumably your child has learned English, so the language-learning apparatus of her brain is functional. The trick will be finding appropriate language instruction so that she can master another language to the level that the university requires. Different LDs require different work-arounds. But if she learned one language, yes she absolutely can learn a second one if she has access to the instruction that is appropriate for her specific situation.

Thanks, at least two years of foreign language is a requirement for admission to this University (not to admission for the Fine Art school but you must be admitted to the University after being approved by the Fine Art school)… The fine art department looks at portfolios and if they give their recommendation to the University, the University then decides if the student meets the academic requirements. She has everything except for the foreign language. She had taken languages in middle school but needed resource time in HS and took mainstream classes and worked hard for a B- average. She will have great recommendations from her teachers who see her stay after school every single day for tutors. She wants to take language again and is upset that she wasn’t able to in HS…

Did she retain enough of whatever foreign language knowledge from middle school to be able to take the high school second year course as a senior?

I don’t think the transcript would speak for itself because the transcript would not note the disability that caused your D to not take foreign language. I imagine a college would want to understand why they should waive that requirement for your D.

I would have your D contact the Admissions office at the college to discuss (if there is a good guidance counselor she could work with him/her to do this in the fall). Find out exactly what has to be documented and how they want it to be done – that way Admissions can understand why there is a need to waive the foreign language requirement for admissions.

I would also discuss with your guidance counselor if your child’s disability and why it impacted his/her ability to take foreign language should be mentioned as part of his/her letter of recommendation to colleges. That is a personal choice.

That’s an interesting thought…well she took Spanish in our grade school since they start teaching it there…and then she switched to French in the middle of middle school so I’m not sure…wondering if they would accept one year?

Check with the college if completion of level 2 or higher counts as “2 years” for it’s purposes. Of course, she needs to have retained enough of her French or Spanish skills to be able to take French or Spanish 2 or higher. She may want to ask the French and Spanish teachers about what level she should take.

Would she have retained enough French to enter French 2? She could review over the summer if you think she’s up to it and if her GC would agree to sign her up for French 2.
Typically, when universities say “2 years”, they mean “through level 2”, so that if she reviewed her middle school French and perhaps some French grammar/vocabulary now, took French 2 senior year, and got a C in it, she’d meet the University admissions requirements. (And for admissions purpose all she’d need is “French 2” on her transcript and no F by graduation.)

I think you are getting some pretty unrealistic expectations. I don’t know of anyone who would remember anything from a middle school language course three years later. It will be much harder for your daughter if she’s already dealing with LDs. Additionally, many universities want you to pass a university level language course. One year of a college language typically covers two to three years of a high school course. I think her best option is to be excused from the college language requirement just as she was excused from the high school one.

Pick up an SAT II or a CLEP exam prep book at the library, and have her take the French and Spanish practice tests. That will help her see whether it is worth it to ask for placement into French or Spanish 2 in high school.

She should speak directly with the people in the design program. She is not the first design applicant to need special assistance in navigating the admission process at that university.