Originally Posted By: 22B
Another issue I thought of regarding admissions is foreign languages. Some universities want four years of high school foreign language credit (Harvard, Princeton), while some (MIT, Caltech) just want some foreign language credit but don't really say how much, meaning maybe two is enough if other qualifications are strong.

Two years of foreign language is sufficient for high school graduation, and most universities also seem to think this is sufficient for admission.

So what do people think is the prudent approach for learning foreign languages when it comes to university admissions?

Originally Posted By: aquinas
I'm a skeptic when it comes to foreign language instruction. DH spent 9 years in French courses through high school graduation and can't order a sandwich when we go out. As HK says, it's really a question of the intensity of instruction. I would insist on my DS being taught by native speakers. There's just no comparison. I would argue you don't know a language until you think in it, so 2 vs 4 years is really quite irrelevant from a fluency perspective, but admissions may be a different story.

Right. Harvard and Princeton just say they want four years of high school foreign language credit, so technically speaking, they don't actually require that you can order a sandwich when you go out.

The question is, should you do the full four years of high school foreign language, just for the long shot chance of a couple/few elite universities, when most places don't require that much. (On the other hand, how would it be if you would have been accepted into one of these places, but weren't for the sole reason that you didn't satisify their language requirement.)