Preparing for College

Must Soph in Spanish 4 Continue Language Study?

Question: My daughter is an honors sophomore student. She is planning on taking her AP coursework next year. Currently my daughter is in Spanish 4 and has been on this accelerated track since middle school. My confusion lies in the idea that she is already ahead of many of her peers and is in a senior level class. If colleges require three to four years of a continuous language, hasn't she already attained that? She could have easily switched languages freshman year and not have challenged herself. She can take Spanish 5/6 next year or could start a two year run of another language. My daughter would prefer the latter. Her guidance department is split on the idea that colleges will view her only as taking two years of Spanish instead of four. As a college administrator, what is your opinion?

For starters, let's set the record straight. This "Dean" has never been an official dean of anything, and never a "college administrator," unless you count being an admission counselor and part-time writer of college propaganda (where I occasionally and unofficially created a little college policy along the way.)

However, as a long-time admissions consultant and also as a parent, I can assure you that, if your daughter completes Spanish 4, it will count as four years of foreign language study. My son is in almost the exact same boat. He is a sophomore in Spanish 4. Due to some uncommon scheduling practices at our local high school, he will not be able to fit more Spanish into his schedule next year. Like your daughter, he is also hoping to start new language in the fall. So his Spanish "career" (such as it is) will end this spring. Although he's just in 10th grade and he started Spanish in middle school (getting high school credit for it), colleges will view him as a student who took four years of the same language.

Admittedly, I've been known to give some "Do as I say, not as I do" counsel over the years. ;-) But, in this case, I'm using my own child as living proof that I stand by the advice I'm doling out!

(posted 2/4/2013)