Switching Languages for jr year - what would top colleges think?

<p>Hi, so basically I've taken Spanish for two years. I'm in the IB program in canada (if that matters at all), and I'm not sure if this is at every school but in junior year we take the 11th and 12th grade classes, then take the IB exam for it, since we have two semesters.</p>

<p>The spanish teacher is very lazy, and simply reads from the textbook. Most students score a 5/7 for the IB exam, and only proficient learners who self study a lot manage to do any better. I'm not very interested in spanish, and want to switch to mandarin. I speak mandarin well enough to catch up, although my reading/writing skills are lacking. Next year (junior year) I'll be taking the 11th and 12th grade courses.</p>

<p>I believe these would be considered 2/2 credits, and most unis strongly recommend 4 years of FL. I want to apply to Ivy league or other top schools in the states. Would it be taken into consideration that I took the IB exam, as well as an 11th/12th grade class instead of a beginner class? It means I'll still be pretty fluent in it.</p>

<p>You will be fine. Go ahead and take Mandarin.</p>

<p>If you speak it well enough, you're probably a natural speaker. If you are, and your last name shows it, then top colleges wouldn't really like it as much because you already know the language.</p>

<p>Many universities consider the level of language taken (beginning course would be level 1, the next year would be level 2, etc.; some students go straight to level 2, 3, or 4 without taking the previous levels because of previous language knowledge). Which level of Spanish did you complete, and which level of Mandarin will you jump into? Did you take any French, since you are in Canada?</p>

<p>Some universities accept sufficiently high scores on SAT Subject, AP, or IB tests in the language even if the applicant does not have language courses on his/her high school transcript. This is presumably used mainly by native or near-native speakers of the language.</p>

<p>Top Colleges like to see you continue to take the same foreign language all four years of high school. Not only does this show minor fluency in a foreign language, but it also reflects the student's consistent character.</p>

<p>Spanish for two years, I guess Spanish 2 (our school doesn't specify.. there aren't really choices) But Mandarin I'm jumping to 3 then? I'm just worried about the consistency like Post 5 said..</p>

<p>Is Mandarin the language your parents/family speak? Do you have any Chinese ancestry? It's not very impressive to take a language you already know because of ancestry associations.</p>

<p>Ah. Unfortunately yes.</p>

<p>My GC told us that we had to have at least 3 yrs of the same language. You should suck it up for another year. Challenge yourself to go beyond what the teacher does and kick but on the IB exam; this is how you show colleges your stuff!!</p>

<p>I think yours is actually an interesting situation. I'm sorry you're in this situation, because the really good option is off the table, but I find choosing a second-best option interesting.</p>

<p>Best, of course, would be to study Spanish for three or more years, learn it well and do well on the IB. I assume you're sure this is not going to happen.</p>

<p>So, is it better to continue taking Spanish and get a mediocre score, or to switch to Mandarin, in which you feel you can catch up because you're a heritage speaker?</p>

<p>I think it's better to take Mandarin. I assume this is true of Canadian universities, too, but American colleges and universities have room on their applications for applicants to explain parts of their applications that they think warrant explaining. This seems to me like exactly such a case. You simply say, "I started high school taking Spanish, but by my sophomore year I could tell that the Spanish program in my school was lackluster. The teaching was not dynamic, and Spanish students tended to earn mediocre scores on standardized tests. For this reason I switched from Spanish to Mandarin at the start of my junior year."</p>

<p>If you're planning to start Mandarin with your classmates in an 11/12 class, as opposed to starting over at the beginning, I don't think you'll have a problem with colleges' foreign language requirements. They care more about proficiency than the number of days your backside was in contact with the seat. </p>

<p>I wouldn't worry about being a heritage speaker. You're taking this unusual step now to make your high school education better. Switching to Mandarin will be better for you than staying in Spanish. Switching to--I don't know--Russian or German and jumping in at the 11/12 level isn't an option, right? You're doing the best you can in the situation you're in. Don't worry about the things you can't do anything about.</p>

<p>Thanks, that's quite reassuring since I took quite an effort in June to adjust my schedule. Had a bunch of classes to move around and I'm pretty sure f I go back to Spanish it wouldn't even work... Hopefully admissions will understand more then since I'm no starting over at a beginners level!</p>

<p>My son took two years of French (grades 9 and 10) and then switched into Spanish for IB in grades 11 and 12. </p>

<p>Switching languages had no impact on his admission to 10 colleges and universities.</p>