I'm a rising senior starting to think about courses for this fall. I plan on going to college in a science field, right now I'm thinking molecular bio pre-med track. I've heard a lot of people say that taking Latin in highschool can be beneficial to both medical and law students and that it can enhance your application.
tl;dr - Is it actually worth it to take Latin in highschool?
Thanks in advance!
My mother took Latin in high school, then French in college. She said not only was learning Latin fun, but it was actually incredibly useful.
When she went to medical school it was much easier to learn the lingo (body parts, procedures), when she traveled to Italy she was able to pick up Italian (because of the Romance language roots), and when she started working in a clinic she was able to learn Spanish more quickly (again, Romance!) Finally, when she started law school, her history in Latin was very useful. Our family is definitely Team Latin!
I would not take Latin if you are not truly interested in it and enjoy it. Don't take a class just for the college applications. But actually, just taking one language class will not significantly increase your chances. Colleges like to see you committing to one language throughout high school. It also will not hurt your chances.
However, if you really are interested in it, then it would be a great thing to take. Taking Latin at a high-level will allow you to understand other Romantic languages easier (at least in writing), and can indeed be helpful for learning things in college. Becoming prolific in a language besides your native one is an intense and arduous process that really changes the way you think and increases your mental processes. So, if you are planning to continue taking Latin in college, this would be a great class to introduce you to it. If you are not, then it will not be very beneficial at all. Introductory language course are VERY basic, usually. Some also teach Roman history and culture, which can be interesting. But if you only plan on taking this one class, then think of it more as just a fun elective.
As someone who studied Latin for 6 years, I can say I enjoyed my experience and found it somewhat helpful for my interest in law. In regards to studying medicine, I don’t believe taking (or not) Latin will be the end all be all. If you choose to study it, do it because you think you’ll enjoy it and not just for the résumé, although it can help distinguish yourself!
I don't think it will be worth it for you to take latin now. Certainly, taking a language class in high school is valuable but since you are almost a senior I don't think it would be as valuable now. Language classes can help you stand out when you have been taking them for a long time, so I think focusing on other things would be better. Also, I can see it being useful for law in some ways but for medicine I don't really see it. I have many doctors in my family and none of them really know latin. There are definitely medical terms that come from latin but that's true for a lot of English words. That being said, if you are interested in latin you should take it if you would like; if you have been taking it for a couple of years already, continuing it should be good.
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