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Articles / Applying to College / Will Dropping Spanish for Student Government Hurt Admission Chances?

April 26, 2018

Will Dropping Spanish for Student Government Hurt Admission Chances?

Question: If I replace Honors Spanish 3 with a class required to be part of the student government, will it hurt my chances to get into a top college? If so, what if I were to continue to learn Spanish elsewhere?

The more selective colleges expect three years of the same language and usually prefer four. So if you were to drop Spanish 3 in favor of the student government class, then it would most likely affect your college outcomes (not an automatic deal-breaker, but certainly a tick in the “negative" column).


However, if you continue Spanish outside of school (online, at a community college, etc.), this should be acceptable to your colleges. But ... your outside course would have to be as rigorous as an upper-level in-school class. Thus, something like “Conversational Spanish" at summer camp wouldn't cut it. And admission officials at the snootier, most selective colleges would even look down their noses at a summer-long home-stay in a Spanish-speaking country. Although you'd surely be speaking more Spanish there than you might in an entire year in a classroom, admission committees are seeking students who have used their language skills to explore the literature and history of a culture, which might not happen during a summer trip, even if you can sling the slang like a native!

If you select an out-of-school Spanish option, be sure to use the “Additional Information" section of your applications to explain why you had to do so. The admission folks will understand and will appreciate the initiative you took to stick with Spanish.

¡Buena suerte!

*****

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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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