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Improve College Admission With Another Year Of Foreign Language

Having additional years of foreign language on your transcript can be a huge plus when you’re ready for the college admission process! Admissions counselors are going to look at your high school transcript and scrutinize every last detail – don’t you think it’s a good idea to go a step beyond the minimum graduation requirements and stand out from the rest?

More high schools across the country have increased graduation standards to include four years of math, science, English, and history; however, foreign language requirements in my part of the country remain at two years. Admissions officers can quickly spot “serious students” from those who are merely satisfying requirements by looking at foreign language courses.

Competitive universities are looking for students who take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them (translate:  third, fourth, and fifth years of language).  For example, Stanford University’s recommended program for applicants includes three years of foreign language,  (, citing the value in developing reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.  Colleges look favorably on those students who opt to challenge themselves in higher-level language electives.  (We all know 3rd, 4th, and 5th year are more academically challenging than the intro courses.)

The benefits of additional courses in foreign language go beyond the college admissions office. The United States has become a melting pot of different ethnicities and cultures. Sure beginner language courses that are required for graduation will teach you the bare basics, but wouldn’t you like to communicate more than just your need for the restroom or directions?

Most of today’s big businesses prefer employees with additional language skills to ensure optimal customer service for all clients. Some may even put your resume to the top of the pile if they see you are bilingual or have taken advanced language classes.

Investing your time in additional foreign language classes can double your income in certain industries such as sales, marketing and restaurant management. Of course at times, it may seem like that 45 minute off-period is worth it but think ahead and think smart – 45 minutes off now or an extra $45,000 per year after college? That makes the answer a lot easier, doesn’t it?

Remember, any college admission counselor is going to read your transcript before they meet you – much like an employer would view your resume before granting you an interview. Make sure that your transcript is the very best representation of you possible. It may be the only chance you get. What better way to impress your potential university than showing them you mastered a different language in four years – without ever traveling abroad! It is the power of a foreign language that could place your college admission application at the top of the class!

Have any Questions or Comments?

2 comments on “Improve College Admission With Another Year Of Foreign Language

Such an interesting point of view on this. I actually speak 6 languages and was a language major in college/grad school. As a tutor I see students struggling everyday with the hs language requirement. I agree with this post in that languages are important in our global society, however I do not feel that all students are equally capable of mastery.
Check out our short blog post from a while back on a similar topic.


Yes, students have different levels of mastery. The core issue in my area is that students and parents view the graduation requirement of 2 years language as the standard and fail to recognize that more language may be required in college. Taking a third or fourth year of language can be a huge plus when it comes to college admissions.


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