Should My Teen Take Two Foreign Languages?
By Maxine Grossman, CampusCompare
My son is going to be a junior in high school. He is taking Spanish 3 and wants to take French 1. Would it help him a lot? Or would it make his life more hectic?
First, know that you are not alone. Parents often think their children should be taking more science or math courses, particularly at the Advanced Placement (AP) level. The humanities are often unfairly overshadowed by math and science, but foreign language can open just as many doors, if not more. Did you know there are currently over 120 million French speakers worldwide, and 28 countries where French is the official language?
OK, maybe I'm biased because I loved studying French and Italian, but I say if your son has found a subject - any subject - that he enjoys, you should encourage him. Not convinced? Here are some more reasons:
- Your son's solid foundation in Spanish will make it easier to pick up French, as the grammar and sentence construction are closely related.
- Many students are overwhelmed by learning a second language. The fact your son wants to pursue a third will definitely help get him noticed in the college admission process.
- Comprehension and appreciation of numerous languages and cultures help create the well-rounded personality that admissions officers look for in a college applicant.
- Many colleges and universities (e.g. Georgetown, Fordham and Tufts require foreign languages as part of their graduation requirements; your son is ahead of the curve.
- After graduation, his employment opportunities will be better. Companies are increasingly eager to hire bilingual and trilingual individuals - and in this economy, every differentiator and competitive edge helps!
As your son starts his college search, go online to discover colleges that offer foreign languages. The best college resource sites allow you to research schools by major, combined with other criteria like location, size of enrollment and tuition costs. Going online is a good way of finding out which schools have strong language programs as well as exciting study-abroad options.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.