When kids enter high school they think of all the math, science, history and English classes they will be required to take. These are, after all, the basic classes that high school students must take to graduate. However, there are also some other classes that are required for graduation and one of them is the foreign language. Although not all high school requirements are the same, the majority of them demand that students take at least 2 semesters of a foreign language. For instance, one semester would be Spanish I while the other would be Spanish II, which is a more in-depth study of the language. Aside from needing foreign language credits for graduation, they are also helpful for being admitted into a good college. Most colleges look for a student’s participation in foreign language courses and this plays a role in their decision to admit you to their university or not.
Some colleges are okay with just two semesters of a foreign language, but you may find that there are some colleges that list it as preferable that you have at least two years of foreign language classes. Either way, no matter how long you have taken a foreign language course, it definitely ups your chances of getting into the school of your choice. Here’s a good tip for you; if a college prefers that you have two years of foreign language education but you only have a few semesters, you can take a college AP language exam. If you can score at least a 4 on the exam this is proof positive that you are well-educated in the language of your choice and this will help the college to make their decision. But again, the requirements all depend on the college. For instance, Harvard University has a language requirement of four years, UCLA requires two years but recommends at least three, and Georgia Tech requires two years. Knowing all of this, I am sure that if you are college bound you will be doing all that you can to get as many years in a foreign language as possible. If you do choose to do four years, keep in mind that they do not have to be all in the same language. However, it is smart to take at least 2 years of one language and 2 of another so that you can become proficient as possible in each language you choose to learn. Now, how do you know what language or languages to choose? Read on for some advice on this topic.
The first and most important thing about choosing the best foreign language course(s) to take is interest. Even if everyone is telling you that you should take Italian, don’t do it unless you think it is something you would find interesting. If a language is not interesting to you then your chances of doing well with it are not good. Having said that, the most popular languages to take in American high schools are Spanish, French, and Latin.
If you can only take one foreign language (and you find that it is interesting or think it will become fun for you) Spanish should be it. The reason is that this is the language that is fast becoming the most important one to a successful career, no matter what career it is. Spanish is already the second most popular language in the United States next to English, and according to the ASLA (Association of Spanish Language Academies), over 10% of the entire world will be fluent in Spanish by the year 2050. The Hispanic market in America has become a powerful force, so knowing Spanish is a great benefit no matter who you are or what you plan to do.
French is widely known as the language of love. Like all of the other romance languages, French actually comes from Latin which was Rome’s official language before its fall from power. French has been called one of the most fun and exciting languages to learn and is great for travel around the world, especially in France (obviously), Canada, Haiti, Belgium and the handful of other countries where French is the main language. In addition to these things can also be helpful in learning Spanish since they are so much alike in many ways. So, if you decide that you wish to take more than one language concentration during high school, French and Spanish are the perfect pairs! Once you learn one you will have a much easier time learning the other.
You may think that it is pointless to learn Latin since it is a dead language. I used to think like this during my high school years myself. However, since Latin is the root language for many of the modern languages (particularly the romance languages) it is not a waste of time as many people think. The thing is that even if you do not think that Latin will come in handy in your future if you plan to go into the medical field it is a definite plus to know it and know it well. Latin is involved in almost every aspect of medical terminology and knowing it will make your medical school studies much easier to get through. If you are planning on attending med school, coupling your Latin courses with Greek courses is also an excellent idea.
While these are the top three foreign language courses to take in high school, feel free to choose any others that are offered. Just try to keep in mind what you think you may want to do with your future so that you can learn a language that will be of help to you later in life.
For more inspiration, check out the following student information, paying close attention to the foreign language section.