Jump to content


foreign language...when to start, and how many years??

Recommended Posts

I have heard conflicting things regarding foreign language in high school. Deb Bell's book says that colleges prefer 3 years; one being their senior year. I've also heard that 2 years is sufficient. My son is not especially interested in foreign language, so I'm leaning towards starting his junior year, unless 3 years will make him a more attractive applicant to colleges. He will complete Rosetta Stone Spanish. His interests (at this point....9th grade) lie in political science/law. Will he be required to take a foreign language in college? If so, it appears Rosetta Stone doesn't have an especially strong writing component...should I add to that? Thanks for any suggestions based on your experience!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The requirement of the colleges vary. The more selective schools require 3 years and strongly encourage four. Most schools are satisfied with two.

If your son is interested in political science, I would very strongly encourage him to take as many years of a foreign language as he needs to become fluent, because this will open many doors for professional opportunities in this field. Depending on the university he wishes to attend, he may be required to take further language courses- check with the school.

As for when to start: ideally, foreign language instruction should begin in elementary school, or at least in middle school. Waiting until high school will in most cases mean that proficiency is not reached. Two years are pretty much useless from a practical point of view -that's just checking off the box. For a student interested in his field, I would begin immediately and make learning a foreign language a priority.

Rosetta stone contains no formal grammar component, so this must be added to make it credit worthy. Also, I think there is really not enough composition and reading to make it a stand alone course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well poli sci is usually in the history department, and the places I've looked at for history for my dd either wanted to see 3 years of a language coming in OR had you taking 2 years at the university. I'm SURE not gonna pay for my dd to walk in and take French 101 in a university at $1500 a course when I could have done the equivalent at home for much less in high school.


Whether your ds WANTS to take it or not is largely irrelevant. The fact is it's a mental exercise, strengthens his understanding of grammar in ways he's not expecting, expands his views of other cultures, and shows that he's able to process and be mentally flexible. The SKILLS and benefits of a foreign language will remain when the specific words he learned fall away or grow faint in his memory. He's also going to be challenged with study skills for memorizing the vocab, etc. You want him to hit that challenge at home, with you, not in a high cost university. And yes, while Rosetta Stone has apparently added some grammar to their course, their track record is abysmal here on the boards for placement testing. Sorry to be a snob, but if you do it and actually expect you're going to have to take a placement test and take more in college, I would follow it up with a standard high school text, just to fill in any holes. (That's not btdt advice but just common sense.)


Remember he can pursue latin, japanese, or a less common language as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I read somewhere that it had to be a spoken language...which would exclude Latin???



You have to check the requirements of the colleges your child might be interested in.


For example:

Latin, Greek and ASL are acceptable for University of California a-g requirements.

Section E of below link gives the detailed requirement for language other than English for University of California


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...