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Take 2 or 3 years of world/foreign language?

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I am a sophomore currently choosing courses for next year. I would like to drop Spanish completely as I have completed my school's graduation requirement of 2 years so that I can double up on science classes and take AP Biology and Physics Honors. However, I have been told by my guidance counselor that many colleges would like to see at least 3 years of language. If I take Spanish next year, I would be taking Spanish 5. What should I do? #collegeapps #college #science #higher-education #guidancecounsler

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5 answers

Micaela’s Answer

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Hi Sourabh,

It is always better to have more language that less. However, keep in mind that you will most likely need to take a foreign language as part of your GE (general education) when you transfer to college. My advice is if there is something at the high school level you really want to take other than language, then take it. However, if you have space in your schedule, language doesn't hurt. You can also take it at the community college level as a high school student and it will most likely transfer over to the college of your choice. Look at the transfer options if you choose this option to make sure.

Cheers,
Mica
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Jennifer’s Answer

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Hi, Sourabh!

What a wonderful dilemna you have - languages are wonderful to know and I'm impressed with your level!

Depending on your intended major or possible career, Spanish (as is your case) could be the difference in putting you over the top. If you believe that you've maxed out your interest in the subject and want to show your proficiency in a meaningful way, you might consider taking the AP exam. Students can take the exam without taking the course, and AP testing is always the first two weeks of May. Talk to your counselor about this option.

The SAT II exams for foreign languages are another option to show proficiency and are administered throughout the year (on official testing dates). Taking the SAT II would also allow you to use your scores in the college admissions process.

Another way to show language proficiency is to take the foreign language exam when you begin university. Colleges will often offer these placement / credit exams during orientation, but can sometimes be taken at other times through the department. Please note that there's a difference between placement and credit. It is becoming more frequent these days that the tests place you into the appropriate level, but sometimes once you complete the placed course (with a C or better, for example), the university will give you credit for the completed course as well as the courses that proceed it. These credits may meet requirements for general education and/or degree program plans or may simply allow you some cushion in your semester load(s) and/or elective credits.

If there are colleges that you are interested in or are considering, I would encourage you to research their admissions requirements and recommendations to educate yourself. You don't have to know exactly where you'll be applying, but the research will give you some general knowledge especially if you know the type of institution (liberal arts, research, etc.) you see yourself attending or your possible intended major.

I will also add that you may want to also do some research regarding the science courses. Before doubling up and potentially making your upperclassman years miserable or overloading yourself, I would do some research about who wants what. If you're interested in engineering, for example, schools can be very specific about what sciences they want to see. Potential science major? perhaps pre-medical? Institutions often look for well-rounded candidates rather than "pointy" ones. Pointy candidates focus too much on a specific thing and lose sight of the forest for the trees. Doing some homework in this area would be well worth your time, in my opinion.

I commend you for asking these questions now and positioning yourself to enhance your future. Good luck!


Thank You for your help Sourabh V. Translate
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Sara’s Answer

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If you intend to live in the US, take all the Spanish your high school offers- you will find it incredibly useful in the workplace.
If you really can’t stand anymore Spanish, I recommend a semester or three of Latin, and one of Greek- it’s a very useful tool in medicine- and will accelerate your familiarity with anatomy and other field specific terminology.

Latin is the root for English, Spanish, French, Romanian, and parts of Russian! Greek is the root for many medical terms, as well as words commonly used in English.
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Michael’s Answer

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Hello Sourabh:

I was in a similar position in high school where I was deciding to take Spanish 4 or go with two AP's. I will say that after considering my options and asking the college admission department at the colleges I was planning to apply to, I decided to take the two AP courses. I definitely encourage taking the additional language course, however, the AP courses can certainly help if you do well in them. For example, the two AP courses I took allowed me to skip two college courses that most people have to take during their first year of college. Also, by taking many AP courses, I am able to graduate earlier, saving some money and getting to be able to transition to working much faster than some of my peers.

Hope this helps and I would encourage you to begin exploring what those colleges that you may want to go to look for in their application.

Michael Wojcikiewicz
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Prateek’s Answer

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Hi Sourabh,

Having an extra language in the pack always helps.
Apart from the skill you are developing in the language, it also develops how the mind receives information.

If you think you need to improve your Spanish and have some free time, you should definitely take the class.
There's always an option for another language also.
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