3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Can I still get into a college even if I don't meet their High School Course requirement? Will it affect my chances?

I am thinking about applying to a liberal arts college and found out in their common data set (CDS) that they require 3 units of foreign language (i.e. three years of foreign language) and three units of math.

It is quite literally not possible for me to take 3 units of foreign language alongside 3 units of math.

Here is the course path offered to me in my school (and countless other schools in my country)-

Science- 4Units; Math- 4Units; English-4Units; Foreign Language(Hindi)-2Units; Social Science-2Units

There are other paths but it basically comes down to two choices-

Either I can choose 4 years of Math & 2 years of foreign language or vice-versa.

Can I still get into the college and will it hurt my chances? Should I explain my situation to the admission committee?

PS: I have taken a total of 12 units of foreign language(Hindi-10 & Sanskrit-2) if you include primary and middle school as well. We mandatorily have to take 10 units each of Hindi, English, Science, Social Studies & Math. After 10th grade, we have to choose between either 2 more units of Math & Science or 2 more units of Hindi (Foreign Language) & Social Studies.


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Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Your best bet is to write the colleges directly and ask them. I don't think I or anyone could make a blanket statement and say 2 years is acceptable if their Common Data Set establishes 3 years for their school. I mean the CDS is kind of the rule and stat book for the college, not marketing material you get on their website or in the mail.

Some colleges like Harvard want 4 years minimum of a foreign language it's very common in the US for high achieving High Schools to have 5 years because many high schools have say Spanish 1,2,3,4 and AP Spanish 5 or Spanish 6 independent research. And students have 3 + 3, or two languages. I think it's to be expected that T20-T40 schools and LACs want 3 years (after all one goes to a top liberal arts college to get a balanced liberal arts education not to get an engineering degree or study business).

One thing I read is that if your native language is the same language you are studying, that will not qualify as a unique foreign language. So in a way, it's harder for international applicants because say you are Chinese from Bejing, you have to have to be both proficient in English and something else like Spanish or French. You can't put down Chinese.

I was going to suggest either self-studying for the one of the language AP tests but they are only offered in May which will be after admissions results come out. And recently College Board eliminated Subject Tests so you can't study for the those either.

Perhaps you can enroll in an online course in addition to your HS curriculum and get your language requirement satisfied that way.

Good luck.

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