Value of French classes

<p>School starts next week and we're having second thoughts about taking French all the way through HS. Considering taking Computer Science instead. My son will be a Jr and has taken French since pre-K. He could have 5 French credits if he continues. He's a high B student w/ little to no effort. Says he can be an A student now that he's motivated (took until his Jr yr). All his AP's and honors classes will be math/science. Is there any validity to the thought that colleges look favorably at taking a language all the way through - even if he ends up in a science or engineering program rather than an LAC?</p>

<p>Why go through all the hard, boring work of mastering the nuts and bolts of a language, only to drop it once you've reached the point where you can use it to communicate interesting ideas and read worthwhile literature? </p>

<p>How can you be sure that a HS junior is for certain destined for a STEM future? </p>

<p>Many more selective colleges recommend (but do not require) four years of the same language in HS.</p>

<p>Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using CC App</p>

<p>I agree - seems to me these next 2 yrs could be interesting/fun. My husband is really frustrated with his B's and thinks he should instead take something where he has a better chance of making A's. His schedule is loaded this yr, and this could possibly be the only class where he can "relax" and still make a decent grade. I am a proponent for him staying in French, but wanted to get other opinions. Thanks!</p>

<p>You say he's been taking French since pre-K and will soon be a Junior. Does this mean he's already fluent in French and would only be taking the course primarily to have it on his transcript for college apps? Is he already at a point where you think he could pass a French AP language test?</p>

<p>If he's more interested in taking a CS class then that's what he should take. I think it would likely be more useful to him in the long run than yet another French course and especially useful if he's considering even the possibility of pursuing a computer science/engineering/science area in college. Even if he doesn't pursue a STEM course the CS course would likely prove more useful than yet another French course if he's already had French his whole life.</p>

<p>But the above is looking at it from a practical knowledge perspective - I don't know if less than 3 years of a foreign language in HS would hurt him or not - it depends on the college and possibly even the major. I also don't know how they'd look upon 2 years of HS French plus passing the AP French exam as opposed to 3-4 years of HS French.</p>

<p>Is there a way to do both?</p>

<p>Learn French, Just saying, ITER is in southern France. ITER is a giant Tokamak. Computer science, you can learn that by getting a beginner's programming book and practicing.</p>

<p>
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Computer science, you can learn that by getting a beginner's programming book and practicing.

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This isn't true at all or else CS degrees wouldn't take years to achieve. You must not understand the subject.</p>

<p>I think a CS course would be far more useful and practical than another French course for someone with even a little bit of interest in it but I understand that you want to know the impact on admissions.</p>

<p>Most selective colleges want to see at least three years of French and many prefer four. I don't know what level French it says on his transcript, but he should not consider dropping it if he just finished French 2. My kids had French starting in K too, but they ended up in the same place as those who didn't taking 1st year language in two years of middle school and doing the second year as high school freshmen. My younger son was advised to take through Latin 4 in high school so that he was taking three years in high school.</p>

<p>My son taught himself computer programming and went straight to the AP course, don't know if that's an option for your son.</p>

<p>Check the admissions requirements of some of the schools that he's considering.</p>

<p>mother 22- check the websites of the colleges that you think your son may want to apply to. Many colleges recommend at least 3 years of the same language. Also, many colleges require proficiency in a language as part of the curriculum so having 3-4 years under his belt may be helpful there.</p>

<p>Finally, some colleges will exempt a student from language requirements if they have taken 3 years in high school or if they have a minimum score on an SAT subject test in the language. So for all those reasons, I'd say stick with French one more year and have him sign up for the French SAT II test in May or June.</p>

<p>Not fluent in French. He is considering the AP French exam, Math I, and Chemistry (2nd time) in October. Math II to come later. He can't fit both French and CS in his schedule - he already has the required English/History, AP Calc, Honors Physics, AP Stat, and his required Humanities elective. Sr yr is no better in terms of fitting in CS. He's been "attending" the on-line Harvard CS lectures. Maybe studying on his own is the way to go for this year, and if it's something HE really wants then dropping French his Sr yr in favor of CS class.</p>

<p>Sir, ucsd<em>ucla</em>dad, while I do know what you are saying, but I would have to disagree with you. The typical computer science in highschool does not go beyond the basics. I had already taught myself before going into my class. I never intended to say the whole computer science, but the high school class.</p>

<p>david, you're spot on. I made a good living for years as a consulting programmer and data modeler. Completely self-taught; never had a CS course in my life. </p>

<p>Nowadays, you do need the credential; it was not so in the 90s. But at the level of material you'd get in a HS course, you're right, you can pick it up yourself. </p>

<p>Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using CC App</p>

<p>Can he take CS and self-study AP French instead? It would look better for college applications -- shows his versatility in STEM subjects AND foreign language.</p>

<p>
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The typical computer science in highschool does not go beyond the basics.

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</p>

<p>Neither does a high school language class. The closest you'll get to 'literature' is Le Petit Prince in AP, or an abridged book.</p>

<p>For my son, I think he'd do better to self-study CS and take French in class. Another option is to take CS in the summer at Georgia Tech. I think they have summer programs for HS students that include CS.</p>

<p>^I read Le Petit Prince in first year French in high school, by third year we were reading Lettres de mon Moulin which is a real book and not written for kids.</p>

<p>
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I had already taught myself before going into my class.

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I can say the same thing about a language such as French - a lot of people are able to self-teach themselves a language and can self-teach themselves many other subjects as well. That's not the really the point. It's a matter of exposing oneself to various subjects that are offered in HS and some people do better when taking a formal class at an introductory level.</p>

<p>I think the student's own interest area s/b a factor in the course choice.</p>

<p>The real concern of the OP's though, appears to be the perception of college admissions people to what's on the transcript. I agree with the other posters that you need to check the particular college and many colleges state they like to see at least 3 years of the language.</p>

<p>Lots of HS don't even offer CS courses so I doubt not having a CS course on the transcript will have any negative on his admissions. The other courses you mention can give him the benefits of formal exposure to CS if he wants that and he could still take French.</p>

<p>Mathmom, your French classes sound interesting -- I wish mine had done the same! My run-ins with upper level language courses at school were unlucky. Most people have more fun with that than I did.</p>

<p>UCSD_dad is right. The emphasis on foreign language in college admissions is over-rated, from a student's perspective. A lot of my classmates took a language for 4-5 years, only to place into the 101 level at college.</p>

<p>Well, I can argue, even though both classes are very Elementary, it would be harder to become competent in French than in Computer Science. While there are resources just under his nose for Computer Science (computer, internet, books, his brain), getting resources for French would be harder. In order to be competent in a language, one needs exposure, there are plenty of exposure for computer science, but not much for French. One must learn to speak, read, comprehend, write French while as in Computer Science, one only needs to learn to think. Syntax is a minor thing in Computer Science.</p>

<p>Our HS guidance couselor has mentioned 3 credits. He already has 3, 1 from 2 yrs in MS and then 2 from HS. We'll look at the requirements / recommendations for the schools he is considering. Problem is he's all over the place at this point. Maybe he should have it narrowed down more by now. I don't have an older child, so this is my first time with the college search thing.</p>

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He already has 3, 1 from 2 yrs in MS and then 2 from HS.

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</p>

<p>He's set! However, some colleges (William and Mary in particular) waive your language requirement in college if you took 4 years or have 600+ on the SAT II.</p>