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My guidance counselor suggested that I take at-least 3 years of my foreign language. I am trying to go to a good pre-med college, and she told me that many want to see at-least 3 years. What is the best option for me?

I am going into 11th grade and have had trouble deciding my foreign language. I am doubling science courses and am not that good at language. I also want to continue my passion for Computer Science. college higher-education guidancecounsler pre-med language


Instead of taking my 3rd year of foreign language I was thinking of taking AP Computer Science. Would this be a good decision? And would it affect my chances of getting into certain colleges if I take only 2 years of world language? Nishk S.

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Paige’s Answer

As someone in tech with a passion for learning languages: there's more of an overlap between computer science and languages than you think! Learning a language requires a lot of patten recognition, and challenges the way that you structure your thoughts, both of which are important cognitive skills in CS and science generally. There's also a huge opportunity space currently in the intersection of technology and language (think teaching voice assistants to recognize speech patterns, translation software, etc.)

Some languages are also more closely "related" to one another than other languages. For native English speakers, for example, it's generally easier to learn Spanish or French than say, Russian or Cantonese. You may want to choose one that is traditionally easier to acquire, unless you feel a strong pull or motivation to study a particular language. Its also worth mentioning that some schools offer a wide variety of language choices . For instance, ASL (American Sign Language) is offered by some schools in the U.S. and may count towards the language requirement (though I would certainly double check this with your counselor).

Ultimately, many of these skills are obtainable and applicable regardless of what language you choose, so the most important part would be to choose one that you find at least vaguely interesting. If you're considering medical school, it may also be worth thinking about what patients you may eventually be interested in working with, and choosing a language that could help you to communicate more effectively in the field.
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Ariane’s Answer

Having an understanding of a foreign language is very important to be able to work with and interact with a multitude of people from different communities. If there is a familial language that your family or neighbors speak and you can practice with someone at home I'd suggest going with that!

Other great languages to explore are from countries that you have an affinity for their culture. Love mexican food, learn to order your food in spanish, enjoy classical music or opera, learn french or italian or german. Pick something you'll care about practicing and you'll enjoy using even at an elementary level.
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Dave’s Answer

A Computer Sciences degree can help you get a job practically anywhere in the world. Is there a country that interests you? If so, you'll probably be more motivated to study that language. Maybe you'll even want to take a gap year and do some traveling to that place and be able to really practice while you check it out - so make this more a fun project then a "I have to do this 'cause they told me to" problem! Do you know someone from an interesting place with whom you might be able to practice? Languages are more fun to learn if you have a chance to use what you're learning.
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Leah’s Answer

The Concordia Language Villages offer High School Credit and college credit, and are shorter programs in the summer, this can help you reach 3 years, and provide you the time to complete other courses in college and high school. Consider also a study abroad program or international outreach program to help you differentiate.
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Estelle’s Answer

If the foreign language will be beneficial to you in the workplace, then completing the 3 years is useful. If it is Latin, for example, then finishing all 3 years will not affect your medical school application. I took Latin in high school and Spanish in college. The Latin is good for expanding my vocabulary, but the Spanish has been invaluable in my work. Hope this is useful!
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Richard’s Answer

Depends on what specialty in medicine you are considering.

Spanish is invaluable for patient communication here in Texas. But if you are considering a "behind-the-scenes" specialty like radiology, then computer science could be more useful.
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Giselle’s Answer

I'll be honest, I think being proficient in a Foreign language is a great thing, but in practice I found with myself and with speaking to others that if your heart was not in it, and if you don't have opportunity to practice the language regularly, you won't retain the information.

For me, my heart was not in it, and 2 years of Spanish just did not stick; I had too much else on my 'plate' to really practice it. I knew others who really enjoyed learning Spanish and went so far as to visit Spanish speaking countries to get better at it, so it's possible! However, I think the extra Computer Science classes would be of better value.

Regarding your question about would it affect your chances of getting into certain colleges if you take only 2 years - that really depends on the college's you are interested in. In my area, 2 years of foreign language was sufficient, but I suggest reviewing the requirements of college's you've got an eye on before making a decision. Keep in mind that you have some time to decide, so try not to stress about it too much :)

Good luck!

Hey, thanks that really helped me and yea I have started to research about some colleges. Nishk S.

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Megan’s Answer

I would say go with the language you feel would be most beneficial in your profession. Just do the best you can do with it. A lot of colleges do want to see the 3 years of foreign language.
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Rachel’s Answer

I majored in Spanish literature and had no trouble with my med school applications. You do need to complete the pre-med requirements, preferably with A’s. These include at least a year of biology, 1 year inorganic chemistry, 1 year organic chemistry + labs, physics, calculus, and biochemistry. Your junior year, you will need to take an MCAT study course prior to taking the MCAT. With a solid GPA and MCAT score, you should be a competitive applicant.
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