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6 months ago
Admissions Advice

Advice for a Junior's Foreign Language Choice
Answered

I'm going to be a junior next year and am aiming for T20s. Initially, my plan was to take at least 3 AP classes next year-- calc AB, chem, and APUSH. Currently I am in French 4 (been doing it since 7th grade) and most students at my school take French 5 before AP French. However, I was speaking to my French teacher, and she encourages me to skip French 5 if I would like, so I can go straight to AP my junior year. I have a very good relationship with her-- she says I am one of her best students. I would say my French is pretty strong.

Pros of skipping French 5: 4 APs junior year, impressive + rare(ish), GPA boost, and I'll be done with French my senior year so I'll have an extra space to take another class I would like (such as AP stats, which is relevant to my career aspirations). AP French I've heard is barely any more of a time commitment than any lower French class, so I'm pretty sure I would do well even with my other 3 APs.

Cons of skipping French 5: I would have a different French teacher, and I think my current teacher could write me a strong recommendation letter if I stay in her classes for another.

I cannot seem to decide which is the better choice: the stronger transcript or the stronger relationship and potential future rec letter. What would you suggest?

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Accepted Answer
6 months ago

Definitely a transcript, in my opinion. As long as you continue visiting her and keeping in contact with her next year, she could still write a great recommendation letter. Or, you could technically ask her now, in advance, if you wanted. It would work all the same. My school doesn't even offer foreign languages until high school, so French 4 for us would be AP French, and most students still do fine. It's really not that bad. Rec letters are not as important as maintaining a strong GPA and transcript; while the latter gives concrete, non-bs-able evidence of your achievements, rec letters are subjective, just like essays. And I have no idea how many AP classes your school offers, so I can't speak on how rigorous your transcript is in relative terms, but it wouldn't hurt to add a little more pizzazz. But just in general, I'd say to be aware that students from some schools (like mine) take up to 6 or 7 AP classes per year, and they will be aiming for a similar range of schools.

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