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Articles / Applying to College / One Year of Foreign Language?

One Year of Foreign Language?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | May 28, 2014

Question: My daughter only has 1 year of Language. Her HS phased out the Spanish class, so she took arts and college prep classes instead. Now with only 1 year of language, can she get into admissions, or should she attempt to take a night class to get Spanish 101 at our community college? What are the options?

There are colleges that will admit your daughter with just one year of foreign language. Some of these will be schools that don’t require foreign language at all and others will be places that ordinarily do but will waive the requirement because your daughter got shafted when her school eliminated Spanish before she could complete two years. (She and her school counselor would have to write an explanatory letter and hope for the best.)

However, “The Dean’s” advice would be for you to encourage your daughter to take a night class next fall (or a summer class now) in order to make sure that she completes two years of foreign language. (There are also some very fun study-abroad summer programs, but these can be pricey and would have to include an intensive classroom component in order to count as actual language study and not just vacation!)


By applying with only one year of foreign language on her transcript, your daughter will definitely be limiting her options. The more selective colleges are typically looking for three or even four years and would consider two years to be the bare minimum.

 

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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