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Articles / Applying to College / Will Junior Year with No Foreign Language Hurt Admission Chances?

Will Junior Year with No Foreign Language Hurt Admission Chances?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | July 9, 2015

Question: My daughter is a rising junior. She took Honors Spanish 2 in her freshman year from school and Honors Spanish 3 in her sophomore year from gifted learning links online, offered by Northwestern. If she does not take any foreign language in Junior year but takes AP Spanish in senior year, will that hurt her application? Does she have to take SAT Spanish to bridge the 1 year gap?

If your daughter takes her junior year off before starting AP Spanish as a senior, it will have no negative impact on her college verdicts whatsoever. The admission folks will focus on the fact that she chose the highest level of Spanish available to her at her high school and not on the fact that she took no language at all in 11th grade.

Thus “The Dean’s” only concern is that your daughter is ready for the potential rigors of an AP class after studying Spanish online as a sophomore and then taking no Spanish as a junior. When school starts in the fall, it would be wise for her to meet with the AP Spanish teacher that she will likely have the next year (or with the head of her high school’s Spanish department) to get an overview of the AP curriculum, to confirm that she’s covered the necessary prerequisite materials, and to ask for suggestions on how to keep her language skills –both spoken and written–fresh during the hiatus.

If she is considering taking an SAT Subject Test in Spanish, she should try a practice test at home (available through books or online) to get a sense of where she stands before committing to the real deal.


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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