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Articles / Applying to College / Must Soph in Spanish 4 Continue Language Study?

Must Soph in Spanish 4 Continue Language Study?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Feb. 4, 2013

Question: My daughter is an honors sophomore student. She is planning on taking her AP coursework next year. Currently my daughter is in Spanish 4 and has been on this accelerated track since middle school. My confusion lies in the idea that she is already ahead of many of her peers and is in a senior level class. If colleges require three to four years of a continuous language, hasn't she already attained that? She could have easily switched languages freshman year and not have challenged herself. She can take Spanish 5/6 next year or could start a two year run of another language. My daughter would prefer the latter. Her guidance department is split on the idea that colleges will view her only as taking two years of Spanish instead of four. As a college administrator, what is your opinion?

For starters, let's set the record straight. This "Dean" has never been an official dean of anything, and never a "college administrator," unless you count being an admission counselor and part-time writer of college propaganda (where I occasionally and unofficially created a little college policy along the way.)


However, as a long-time admissions consultant and also as a parent, I can assure you that, if your daughter completes Spanish 4, it will count as four years of foreign language study. My son is in almost the exact same boat. He is a sophomore in Spanish 4. Due to some uncommon scheduling practices at our local high school, he will not be able to fit more Spanish into his schedule next year. Like your daughter, he is also hoping to start new language in the fall. So his Spanish "career" (such as it is) will end this spring. Although he's just in 10th grade and he started Spanish in middle school (getting high school credit for it), colleges will view him as a student who took four years of the same language.

Admittedly, I've been known to give some "Do as I say, not as I do" counsel over the years. ;-) But, in this case, I'm using my own child as living proof that I stand by the advice I'm doling out!

(posted 2/4/2013)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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