Summer Plans and College Admissions

Question: I am a sophomore in high school and am confused about summer plans. I enjoy the classics and am considering taking a Latin III summer class, which will give me five years of Latin and three of Greek in high school. I would rather take this class than do something else just for the sake of college admissions. How will admission committees view this?

Without a doubt you should pursue your passion for Latin this summer. We never recommend that a student make choices based only on how they may look on college applications, but— inter nos—we will point out that some selections are wiser than others in that respect.

Latin—and especially Greek—are languages that don’t crop up on college applications as often as several others do, and your in-depth study of them will certainly catch an admission officer’s eye.

However, unless your summer class is an intensive program that lasts much of each day for most of your vacation time, you’ll probably want to have another activity on your curriculum vitae, too. Ideally, this would be something that would underscore your interest in the study of the classics. For instance, is there a museum in your area that would welcome you as an unpaid intern (or, better yet, a paid one)? Would you have the guts to contact a classics prof at a local college and ask if he or she would like a part-time but eager (and free!) research assistant (be sure to say, “No task too menial for me!” Besides, it never hurts to learn your way around a library or even a copy machine before you head to college.)

Admission officials are very interested in applicants who have made a real commitment to some academic or extracurricular undertaking. While simply enrolling in that summer class would certainly fall under the “commitment” rubric, by fleshing it out with yet another venture that’s related to your work in Latin (or Greek), you’d really be speaking their language ad extremum.