Spanish "4"

My daughter took her Spanish 4 as AP Spanish as a soph. She didn’t sign up for the next AP Spanish course bc the teacher has never taught it before. Would her “4AP” count as her “4 years of language” many competitive colleges require?

In general, an AP foreign language course would be considered to be equivalent to high school year 4 or higher foreign language.

Most colleges will look at the highest level completed of foreign language, but there may be a few that want to see however many actual years of foreign language courses (or until the student completes the highest level available).

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If she completed AP Spanish she should be fine.
You can always confirm with her guidance counselor.

I have yet to find a college that does not accept AP Spanish 4 as completion of 4 years of foreign language. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist but my kids applied to top schools and it was never an issue.

One thing the schools do look at is what you chose to take instead of foreign language. If you finished Spanish as a sophomore, did you take extra AP math/science/history or did you go home early?

University of Delaware if AP were taken as a freshman. They require 2 years in HS. But I am unaware of any college that does not accept AP as a soph as meeting their requirements. And I have personally asked this question of many colleges with a 3-4 year requirement.


The only reason she didn’t take it was bc she wasn’t confident in the teacher and there wasn’t an alternative. She’s taking other APs and dual credit UT Austin Onramps Physics with continuing volleyball and newspaper asst. editor (will be editor sr yr)

I agree. There are several schools that want at least 50% of your foreign language to be in HS. So three years in junior high and 1 year in HS wouldn’t cut it.

thanks for asking for me! LOL. The wording is always so confusing.

That’s good to hear. D22 finished Spanish 4 this year as a junior, and our school actually doesn’t offer AP Spanish 5 (even though it’s listed on the school profile) b/c there is rarely enough interest to create a reasonably-sized class. I had assumed completion of AP Span 4 would fulfill any requirements, but a rep from the UVa alum assoc. indicated that UVa generally expects 4 calendar years of study and might wonder why Span 5 wasn’t taken when it’s available per the profile. We can obviously explain the situation, but it was eye-opening that a fourth-level of foreign language might ever be insufficient.

Doing things like volleyball and newspaper are important but top schools would like to see a rigorous course (AP Spanish) replaced with another rigorous course. For example, one of my kids doubled up in AP science courses junior and senior year.

I suppose we’ll also have to call specific universities. It’s not listed as 4 or 5, just AP. One is more language while the other more literature. Might possibly take it Sr year depending on how well she did on it this time. The lit is more time consuming apparently so she didn’t want also to have that w physics and taking ACT/SAT.

This is something the counselor should communicate with the college. Did your daughter take her first year of Spanish in 8th grade? If so, that usually counts as the first of four years.

I would be a little cautious if you are hearing from a rep from the alumni association as opposed to someone from admissions. You might call admissions and ask them. I can’t find where UVA asks for 4 years of foreign language on their website. Do you have a link to that?

Per Section C of common data set, the actual requirement for UVa is 2 yrs, but 4 yrs is “recommended.” I didn’t get the sense that a fourth calendar year of HS study was a hard-and-fast rule, but rather what Admissions would expect to see from a competitive applicant. It’s also possible that alumni assoc. is wrong about this, as you say.

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I haven’t contacted any yet but will when the time comes. (our counselors are mostly useless, sadly)

This was my initial question. The blurring of w t f the 4 years means. Seems like one AP will suffice but will definitely call schools she’ll apply to to clarify and confirm.

Same - there are now only 9 guidance counselors for 3000+ students at our HS, so we are on our own. At the end of the day, I have to think that Skieurope is right - surely completion of fourth-level Spanish clears whatever bar there is for virtually all schools. My kid would literally have to invent her own independent study course to go any further, which I guess might be possible but can’t be the baseline expectation.

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Most colleges just say “4 [or whatever number of] years” of foreign language without any explanation or clarification of whether they really mean “completion of high school year 4 or equivalent” (i.e. achievement to the specified level) or “4 years of high school foreign language courses” (i.e. amount of class time spent).

However, it does appear to be a general understanding that AP level foreign language is high school year 4 or higher.

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