College Options for Junior with No Foreign Language Study

Question: I’m more than halfway through my Junior year and I haven’t taken a single foreign language class. My mom wants me to go for University of Illinois or another selective school but they have a 2 year foreign language requirement. Am I basically screwed?

You’re not basically screwed but you’re potentially screwed. Many colleges, including the University of Illinois, require two years of a language other than English for admission, and often the more selective colleges expect three years (and may even prefer four).  There are colleges that don’t require any foreign language at all, but those options are rather limiting.

If you have a learning disability and did not study language because of it, it’s possible that colleges that ordinarily demand a foreign language will let you wheedle out of it. But you’ll need documentation of your disability and the support of your counselor. If you don’t have a pertinent LD diagnosis, your best bet would be to take a foreign language class over the summer (a full “year” can be crammed into eight weeks or fewer) and then continue with the second year in the fall. Alternatively, if your high school happens to be on a “block” schedule, where students take full-year classes in just one semester, you could actually squeeze in an entire language requirement in 12th grade (e.g., Spanish I in the first semester and Spanish II in the second).

Note also that at a lot of colleges (including Illinois) the study of American Sign Language will fulfill the language requirement. So if learning ASL meshes with your interests or long-term goals, that’s an option you can consider as well.

You should be able to find an appropriate summer class at a local community college or four-year college, at a public high school or prep school summer program or even online. Because the spring semester is just starting at most colleges, you might even be able to take a night or weekend class at a nearby college now, but you’d have to act fast to enroll.

So it’s not too late to meet the requirements at your top choice colleges, but don’t dawdle. If you do, you won’t just be “basically” screwed but more like totally screwed!

 Buena suerte ·  Boa sorte ·  Bona sort  ·  Bedrud  ·  Bonne chance

(posted 1/22/2018)