Foreign Language Admissions
Foreign language requirements vary from school to school, and the exact
requirement is often not clear for any individual school. For example,
is the "minimum" requirement really adequate? Do language classes in
middle school count? If a college requires 4 years of a language, does a
high score on the AP fulfill the requirement?
In general, competitive colleges require at least two years of
foreign language classes in high school. As you'll see below, Stanford
would like to see three or more years, and Harvard urges applicants to
take four years. These classes should be in the same language --
colleges would much prefer to see proficiency in one language than a
superficial smattering of several languages.
When a college recommends "two or more" years of a language, they are
clearly signaling that language study beyond two years would strengthen
your application. Indeed, no matter where you apply for college, a
demonstrated proficiency in a second language will strengthen your
application. Life in college and after college is becoming increasingly
globalized, so strength in a second language carries a lot of weight
with admissions counselors.
That said, students who have just the minimum can win admission if
their applications demonstrate strengths in other areas. Some less
competitive schools don't even have a high school language requirement
and assume some students will simply study a language once they get to
If you score a 4 or 5 on an AP language exam, most colleges will
consider that evidence of adequate high school foreign language
preparation (and you're likely to get course credit in college). Check
with the schools to which you apply to find out exactly what their
Advanced Placement policies are.
Below you can read about the admissions to different programs:
Masters with Focus in Translation