Spanish 3 or AP Computer Science

My son goes to a parochial school where Religious studies is a 8 semester requirement. He is an aspiring CS major and loves programming and is pretty advanced in Python, and was hoping to do both the AP’s offered in his school(AP comp sci P and AP Java) . Given that, he is finding it hard to fit in his favorite subject computer science before senior year- he can only do this if he does Spanish1-Freshman, Spanish 2 -Sophomore, Skip Spanish in his junior and use that period for AP comp science and do a year of Spanish in his senior year. Would you recommend this approach, the only reason he would need 3 years of Spanish is because UC’s say 3 years of world language is recommended.

This is the sample schedule(see below) that the counselor sent me- could I get some advice on this to see if this the right path for CS major. The only way around this is to take community college classes for CS , which he is willing to do, but it would be great if he can do this at his HS, because AP’s are recognized outside California and community college courses are only recognized in California. Thanks!


  1. Eng 1 H

  2. Ethnic St / Wellness

  3. Alg 2 H

  4. Bio

  5. Rel St

  6. Spanish 1

  7. Resource

Summer: Geo H


  1. Eng 2 H

  2. Mod World Hist

  3. Precalc H

  4. Chem H

  5. Rel St / Fine Art

  6. Spanish 2

  7. Resource

Summer option: Physics


  1. English 3 H

  2. US Hist H

  3. AP Calc AB or BC

  4. Physics H

  5. Rel St 300

  6. Spanish 3 or Comp Sci

  7. Resource

  8. AP Lit

  9. AP Gov / Choice of History or Econ or Psychology H

  10. AP Physics

  11. Rel Studies (2 semester electives)

  12. Choice of Elective / Fine Art

  13. Choice of Elective

  14. Resource

Conventional wisdom is to not sacrifice a core course for an elective, so I’d encourage Spanish 3 and do CS as a senior.

What will your son take for math senior year?


Multivariable calculus maybe?

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For his major, and future career, I would focus on cs first because it prepares him by giving him the taste of initial cs classes, early, so he doesn’t bomb in the first year of college.

Also, despite 3 years of German and 2 years of French here in HS, guess what? Never have I ever needed that in my tech career ever since.

On the other hand, having been the self taught in tech in HS, maybe like your kid, I did get tons if requests in college by clueless fellow students, some drowning, in basic cs classes for help.

Unlike calc where mathematica, mathway, online forums etc can help you sneak by, it’s harder with CS coding.

And cs vs Spanish is a tiny factor, imo.

Can he present himself as a self aware adult in his essays, one that has the potential to do great or has already done so (e.g. In high school, I created an app for the disabled to…).

UCs have summer classes, too.

Thank you!-He is already volunteering to teach underprivileged adults coding for Job placements and has coded several applications for fun. He did a python course at UCLA past summer (for credit with transcript, He got number grade of 4.0). UC Berkeley has an ADTP course in Java programming-i think worse situation we can enroll him in that

Depending upon which schools he is targeting (mentioned UC’s), he should continue with Spanish 3 as noted by @momofboiler1. Some top schools also recommend 4 years of a Foreign Language and most schools do not expect HS students to specialize this early but fulfill all the core requirements. Any school that he applies will ask for his Senior classes to be listed or require a 1st semester transcript, so pushing the AP CS class till Senior year will be still be noted on the admission review.


Take Spanish. Coming back will be hard. CS is not required or needed to do CS in college.


Spanish 3 by a far margin. It is important to look at college graduation requirements, not just admissions recommendations. What if he wakes up one day a decides that he no longer likes CS? I normally recommend a FL through 4 years if possible because it greatly reduces the chance that a FL will be required in college.


HS Spanish 3 is a basic entrance requirement (Level 4 is preferred, or its equivalent, CC level 3) for selective 4-year universities. In addition, most colleges will have a FL graduation requirement, which he may fulfill faster with Spanish (or he could start from scratch with another FL).

CS Principles and CS-A are good classes but I’m not sure where it’d fit - perhaps if he takes 12th grade math at the CC outside of the HS day?

Instead of Physics summer after 10th grade, he should take the next more advanced CS class than the one he got an A in last summer.

Guessing that numbers 8-14 are his senior year classes?
He should try, if possible, to take:
AP English Lang or Lit, History or Psychology or Econ H, AP Physics 1, Discrete Math/MVC (from a local CC → freeing a space for AP CS A or P), Rel Studies, and Art/Music (if he’s not completed this for his A-G reqs - could be graphic design I think).
It doesn’t look like there’s much leeway there.
(check whether his HS’s honors classes are recognized by UCs)

Thanks! The counselor confirmed it is UC honors qualified. I think we have two options. Either move math to CC or if the CC allows him to take CS classes that are transferable to UC that will work too. The CS department chair of CS told me that he is more than ready for 111b Fundamental of Java but also warned me that unlike AP’s , CC classes might not transfer so seamlessly to OOS schools? Is this true?
I checked UC Scout and they do allow sophomore to take their AP CompSci P which is in a language he is really strong at and it would not add that much workload and AP’s are easily transferrable to OOS schools as well and he can take an AP exam and submit his scores(hopefully it is a good score ;))- Taking those AP compsci classes in his junior/sophomore year can help elevate his UC GPA. Thoughts? Advice? He is the first one to go to college here in this country, so we are all working as a family to figure this system out :)-

Back where I grew up-you declare your majors in 10th grade and only focus on those classes- no social science, no fine arts-if you want to be a doctor-you take Biology,Physics, Chemistry-If you want to be an engineer, you take Maths,Physics,Chemistry and if you are unsure-you take all 4! LOL!-But I like this system way better-much more well rounded!

Yes. Depends on the university, but true far more often than not

So, 2 things. First, this will be entirely dependent on the university. Second, even if they give credit, it is possible he can’t apply it to his major. In fact, especially for CSP, he likely won’t be able to count it for his major. He may just end up with elective credit

That said, there’s something to be said for gaining knowledge in HS as a foundation for college without the expectation of college credit. A CS major can be started from scratch. However, CS courses at a CC may be more beneficial for him from a foundational aspect, even if he ultimately gets no college credit.

Regardless, I’m on the side of taking Spanish 3 junior year. It makes zero sense from a retention perspective to skip a year.


If he continues with Spanish, will he be able to take AP Spanish in senior year? An AP foreign language score may be worth more to him than an AP CS score, especially if he plans to do a CS related major (in which case AP CS may not be worth anything).

You can look at AP credit policies for different universities and compare. This is what my son did when he was deciding whether to take the 4th year of Latin.

Frosh/soph level CS courses in general vary across colleges’ CS departments, so transferability for subject credit of AP scores and college courses taken while in high school should not be relied on. Even among California public universities, transferability of California community college CS courses for subject credit varies, as you can see on .

In other words, take CS courses out of interest, and consider any transfer subject credit to be an unexpected bonus.

If math beyond AP calculus is to be taken, it is best done as a college course, since there is at least a chance of transferability, unlike if it is a high school course. Discrete math and linear algebra tend to be more applicable to CS than multivariable calculus, although the latter may also be required for engineering-based CS major programs.


Thanks-I did go through the Assist website . UC Transfer Course Agreement says that “111b Fundamentals of Java” is transferable. So that might be a good option for him to do in Junior year in CC. It is a 16 week course. Thanks for that tip on Linear Algebra- his HS does offer that 12th grade, so he can look into it.

Would he be allowed to take AP CSP as an elective, IN ADDITION to Spanish 3?
(AP CSP is considered an elective whereas Spanish 3 is a core class, even if the AP class, like honors-approved and CC classes, do add to the UC GPA)
For Senior year, do look into his taking Discrete Math+Linear Algebra.
Also, look at all majors that relate to CS: computing, informatics, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, computer engineering, software engineering… since the “thresholds” for admission may be extremely different. “straight CS” currently is the most competitive major to get into so he needs to be mentally ready to be flexible wrt the major’s “name” and ultimately have a broad college list.

Unless the school decides to offer the AP CS class in what they call the “X” period( it is free time for the kids) there was no space in his schedule Spanish 3 and AP CSP. Fingers crossed that they offer CSP in the X period-then all problems solved,

Definitely will look into linear algebra. I really did not know there were so many majors in CS that are offered- does this mean he would get into Letters and Sciences and major in one of these instead of EECS?

Being UC or CSU transferable does not necessarily mean that each UC or CSU campus will accept it as equivalent to one of its own CS courses. It is possible that it may only transfer a general elective credit. Use to find out if the course matches a course at each UC or CSU of interest.

I see-i need to go into the agreements with each UC- quick question , does thsi mean that if he did Fundamentals in Java , and a particular UC does not give credit for it, they will not count it in his GPA calculation?

For frosh admissions, it will be counted as a college course for the purpose of a-g requirements and GPA calculation (transferable college courses get +1 honors points, up to the limit for the capped version of the GPA).

However, the distinction that I am making here is that, once the student goes to college at a UC or CSU, the college course may or may not count for subject credit to fulfill a requirement or prerequisite. If it does not, it would only count toward general elective credit.

For example, at , selection the community college, then select a UC or CSU. The select either a major (to check specific prerequisites for a specific major) or department (to check all lower division courses in the department). For example, for CCSF to UCB in the CS department, the subject credit is listed at Welcome to ASSIST . Note that very few CS courses from CCSF are accepted for CS course subject credit at UCB. Any other transferred CS courses from CCSF will be considered only a general electives at UCB.

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Aaaah-I get you now-I did notice that for UCLA, only C++ was considered as transferrable not Java

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