back to Admissions Advice Q&A
β€’ 01/03/2021 at 04:13PM[edited]

How to improve my portfolio as a foreign language major?

I am a high school student in an underfunded school. I will only have the ability to take two years of Foreign Language. How can I show colleges I know multiple languages? How can I strengthen my application to show my interest (such as competitions, awards, etc)?

NewYou earn karma when your answer is accepted or upvoted.

2 answers

β€’ 01/03/2021 at 07:45PM[edited]

The Common App has a section where you say what languages you already know. If your school does not offer more than two years of language then most schools won't hold it against you.

The best way to strengthen your profile is to take the most rigorous classes available to you and to show a commitment to extracurriculars that you care about. I can't tell you what exactly that would look like for you because I don't know what your interests are or what opportunities are available to you.

Remember, assuming you're in the US, you don't generally apply to a specific major but to the school as a whole, so you will want to show proficiency in a variety of subjects.

Finally, if you want to study languages in more depth than your school has available, you could check out Duolingo (or other apps) and practice more that way.

Hope this helps!

Accepted Answer
@DebaterMAX01/04/2021 at 12:08AM

Agree! Also if your school has a foreign language club try joining that. Also bar a few very selective schools like HYPSM and other of that caliber you can skate by with 2 years of a foreign language.

β€’ 01/05/2021 at 06:37PM

@Tana gave you a good answer. Normally I'd just comment to add onto their answer but since I wanted to include a few links which made my comment to long I'll add a separate answer. When filling out the language proficiency section on the common app they'll ask how well you can speak, read, write, etc. for the languages you decide to include. This link walks you through how to fill out that section:

Also as @Tana mentioned, colleges look at your application in the context of what is available to you at your school. If you can only take 2 years of a language they won't hold that against you and won't expect you to be perfect in your knowledge of the language. I can't tell from your question if you already know multiple languages or if you just know one and are hoping to learn more. If you already know multiple languages and are proficient in them I would recommend looking into translating services. It's something you can do from home and can be used as an EC for your application and put on your resume for potential jobs. Here's a website which has links to some organizations to help get you started: Here's a link we put together with some other online opportunities: Not all are based on translating but they are all things you can do from home.