Possible Hispanic Studies French Double Major at Oberlin

Looking more at my last two choices, I’ve noticed a few things that have made my final decision process much more difficult. As a Romance language based potential College of Arts and Sciences student, Colorado College seems to have the [right major](https://www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/dept/spanish/requirements/#2RomanceLanguagesSpanishMajorsecondlanguagefocusinFrenchItalianorPortuguese) for what has interested me for the past five years (see: “Romance Languages”). Oberlin does have [Hispanic Studies](https://www.oberlin.edu/hispanic-studies) and [url=<a href=“https://www.oberlin.edu/french%5DFrench%5B/url”>https://www.oberlin.edu/french]French[/url], but I assume it’s much different double majoring in something.

Also, AP credit wise, I fear that my AP credit at [url=<a href=“https://www.oberlin.edu/registrar/transfer-of-credit/ap-ib-credit%5DOberlin%5B/url”>https://www.oberlin.edu/registrar/transfer-of-credit/ap-ib-credit]Oberlin[/url] won’t be of as much value as they would be at [url=<a href=“https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/registrar/ap-and-ib-credit.html%5DCC%5B/url”>https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/registrar/ap-and-ib-credit.html]CC[/url]. For reference, I will be taking the AP English Language, AP Spanish Language, AP French Language, AP Statistics, and AP Music Theory exams next month.

I love music (and have loved it all my life) and I love all the opportunities and student organizations Oberlin has to offer, but honestly, if it won’t be the best fit for me academically, then it’s probably not the right school for me to be at.

So I guess my questions are:
-What is double majoring (exclusive to double majoring in the CAS) at Oberlin like?
-What is double majoring in two languages at Oberlin like? and
-What has been your experience with receiving AP credit once matriculating at Oberlin?

Any advice helps, if I’m being completely honest. I’m down to wire, guys.

How certain are you of the major you are talking? Are you absolutely certain the HS senior in you will not change, will not explore, in the next 1, 2, 3 years when you will have to declare your major? The reality is most students change their majors.

Also, what is your end goal in language studies? if grad school is in your plan, check out the baccalaureate origins of PhDs in various fields including foreign language and literature.


Change Carnegie Type to “Baccalaureate colleges,” and change Field to “Foreign languages and literature.” You can see what undergrad institutions recently produced how many PhDs in various fields.

@StJohnny Well, considering I’ve been formally studying Spanish and French for five years, self-teaching myself other Romantic and East Asian languages for two years, and need to at least have some general idea of how I want to spend my time in college (even if that may change), I’m just going to assume that I will at least do something significant in language study during my time at college. Also, I don’t quite know what my end goal is with my studies, but frankly I don’t believe that is wholly pertinent to the questions I initially posed.

And, for what it’s worth, it seems you may have skimmed through the greater issue I have pertaining to double majoring and AP credit.

  1. It is very easy to double major at Oberlin. Many--perhaps even a majority of students--do it.
  2. Here are the rules for AP credit at Oberlin (click on the "Scores & Credit" dropdown): https://www.oberlin.edu/registrar/transfer-of-credit/ap-ib-credit

@dave72 You aren’t addressing my concerns, Prof. Walker. My concerns aren’t whether I can double major or what the general rules are for AP credit at Oberlin. In fact, I’ve linked the exact same link you have in my original post.

My concerns are what double majoring in Hispanic Studies and French would look like, or, for that matter, what double majoring in any two CAS majors would look like. Or, which is fairly important as well, would it be worthwhile to go to Oberlin if a good portion of my AP tests won’t get credit toward the major I’m pursuing or won’t credit me at all?

You haven’t given me any sufficient evidence to critically think about my options moving forward. Rather, you’ve given me short, overly-concise statements which don’t properly advance any argument related to my initial post. Though seemingly counter-intuitive, it would better suit you to include something anecdotal in trying to argue your points above. Or, at the very least, expand your points beyond those two very terse statements.

I would like to just say that I have incredibly appreciated dave72’s contributions to this board over the years. Hearing from a faculty member was incredibly helpful as I strived to get a sense of what the student I sent off to Oberlin was likely to experience, and I would be very sorry if he felt his time and comments were not appreciated, if not universally then at least nearly so.

Hydrationiskey: you won’t always get the exact response you are seeking to every question you ask in life. Please be kind to those who take the time to listen to you even if you don’t find their answers to be exactly what you happened to be looking for. As an aside, it was certainly not obvious to me by reading your initial post that you had already linked to the AP credit rules.

You are looking to find out how your AP credit will be applied. It seems from the page you have linked to that you have nearly the entire answer to your own question: assuming you do well, you will get credit for Music Theory. The only uncertainty is whether you will get credit for English Language, and there indeed perhaps there is someone somewhere who can tell you the chances. I would recommend calling the registrar to ask how often that is approved. Or you could be more specific with your question here and see if anyone has the answer to the one piece you cannot easily answer yourself.

What I can tell you is that for the one “needs approval” AP credit my Obie was looking for, it was approved (but that was not in English). I hope that is useful.

Far more importantly than the number of AP credits you will be able to claim, is the question of whether the departments have courses you are interested in. Have you checked actual course schedules for the last 2-3 years at both your final colleges? Do you see 8-12 courses you are interested in taking and that have actually been offered recently?

And I’m not sure what more information you want about double majoring. Is not the fact that a huge percentage of Oberlin students do it some sort of indication that it is in fact possible? I know people double-majoring in similar fields and also those double-majoring in very different fields. As yours are similar, it will be easier than doing it in very different fields with little overlap in requirements, but either way it is perfectly doable.

Thanks, oberlin_dad. Just in case it wasn’t obvious: I wasn’t trying to make an argument, just providing information that it wasn’t clear to me the OP understood. There’s no judgment call involved in whether or not students will earn AP credit in English: if they earn a 5 on the test, they will; if not, they won’t.

@hydrationiskey I can’t speak to AP credit but my kid declared a double major plus a related concentration in her second year. So far she’s on track to complete all of the requirements. My advice to you is to do some research about what courses have been offered historically in French and Spanish (or Portuguese and/or Italian if you intend to pick those up as well), see how regularly they are offered, and evaluate if the depth is sufficient given that you have five years of HS Spanish and French under your belt. I would also recommend that you call the French and Spanish departments or email the department heads about what a Romance languages curriculum might look like given your background and interests. If your interests extend to comp lit, linguistics, and translation, the course offerings are varied and interesting.

Anecdotally, a walk through the student blogs (including older posts of students that have since graduated) can give you an idea of how different students have managed double majors in different disciplines.

@oberlin_dad @dave72 That didn’t really help me, if I’m being honest. My concern wasn’t at all directed to my AP Music Theory or AP English Language exams. If anything, it was directed to my AP Statistics exam, which does not appear in that list. Or possibly my AP French Language exam which does not credit my potential Hispanic Studies French double major. I’ve worked extraordinarily hard in both my Statistics and French classes and for me not to get some sort of credit for them would be a major disappointment.

@hydrationiskey: If Colorado College will award you more credit for your AP accomplishments, would you be in a position to graduate early ? If so, an undergraduate degree earned in 3 years at CC plus a one year masters degree earned elsewhere is an attractive option to consider.

@Publisher Not necessarily, I believe.

And because there’s been issue with centering the thread in a meaningful direction, I’ve synthesized all the appropriate information below:

English Language: 1 unit
Spanish Language, 4, 5: 1 unit, placement to SPN305
French Language, 4: 1 unit, placement to FRN305
French Language, 5: 2 unit, placement to FRN306
Music Theory: See department
Statistics: 1 unit, placement out of MA117

In short, all 5 scores on APs: 4 units of an 8 unit year, 5 units with a score of 5 in AP French, a possible additional unit in Music Theory, credit towards Romance Languages major

English Language, 5: 1 class, placement to ENG600, credit toward graduation only
Spanish Language, 5: 1 class, placement to SPN305, credit toward major and graduation
French Language, 4, 5: 1 class, placement to FREN300, credit toward graduation only
Music Theory 4, 5: 1 class, placement to MUTH 001, credit toward graduation only
Statistics: No information available

In short, all 5 scores on APs: 12 credits of an 24 credit year, credit towards Hispanic Studies major, no credit towards French major

If I understand correctly, you will be given one half year of academic credit & standing at CC upon enrollment due to AP credit. If so, then you may be able to graduate in three years from Colorado College if you earn adequate credits during summer study abroad or summer study at Middlebury College’s language school.

To be come fluent, one needs to study a foreign language year round for all of one’s undergraduate study.

I do not recall if you shared your career goals, but most likely you will need & benefit from earning a masters degree in your languages or, for example, in education. From my viewpoint, this makes graduating from an LAC in three years, rather than in the traditional four years, attractive.

CC has a block plan that means your language study is on/ off – all or nothing. When you’re studying French (say) that’s all you’re doing, and when you’re not, you’re not at all. For some learners and some topics, that might make sense, but languages are quintessentially cumulative and most students benefit from steady exposure.

Both colleges offer the major in comparative literature, which is often a good solution for students who want to pursue more than one language. It requires high-level language ability without the high level of credits in the language departments.

@LadyMeowMeow : Apparently Colorado College addresses that concern via living learning communities / houses focused on language & by special courses. But, I agree with your post & my primary concern about CC’s block plan focuses on the study of languages.

Hi @hydrationiskey – Oberlin does not give credit for AP Statistics; the list online is comprehensive and anything not on it doesn’t get AP credit. That seems to be the case for AP Stats at a lot of schools in the Northeast as well for some reason, although not all.

I’m not sure the credit towards major should be a big issue – anything that will relieve you from a non-major course means you have more time to work towards your double-major. I took a look through the requirements and realized that the French and Hispanic Studies major requirements don’t overlap as much as I thought. However, despite that you’d still be able to get both majors in using only half of the 32 classes you can typically take in a college career, leaving you lots of room for electives and other general requirements.

Have you found the course requirements online yet? All the major’s requirements can be found at http://catalog.oberlin.edu/content.php?catoid=40&navoid=1448 and then drilling down.

Undoubtedly you would end up traveling to a French and/or Spanish speaking country and most if not all of those courses, assuming they are conducted in the language of the country, would probably count towards your major.

Hi again! I’ve told you studying language in CC is not a great experience, and actually a little terrible since the Block Plan. However, you seem like ignore my suggestion for you and consider CC is your better choice. That’s OK, choosing which college to study is your thing, not mine or my friend who has transfered out of CC. I think you have been a little lean towards CC through your post, and I respect your choice. Just don’t complain about why nobody told you the terrible language studying experience when you made college decision after you start to study at CC. Because there are someone told you and you don’t believe me. Fine, remember don’t regret your decision.

@Nicckkkkkk I was leaning Oberlin, but there were things about it that weren’t right for me. I thought about your suggestion and had Oberlin been a bit of a better fit for me in other ways, I would have gone there. And I can always transfer if it gets too bad. But I do want you to be aware that your suggestion was one of the biggest ones I thought about when making this decision.

You made your decision - now don’t look back, go forward. Make the most of the opportunities there.

“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” - Blaise Pascal.