Whether you’re a freshman just starting high school, a junior looking forward to college applications, or a senior preparing for college courses, you should definitely consider working a foreign language into your schedule.
Learning a foreign language has numerous benefits, from improving your learning and analytical skills to helping you get and succeed in future careers. Whether you opt to study Spanish, French, German, or Chinese, taking a language course is one of the best decisions you can make for your future.
Learning a second language improves your education.
Taking the time to become bilingual doesn’t just leave you able to speak another language. You’ll also develop study skills, analytical skills, and problem-solving skills. Students who speak more than one language often have an easier time overall in school, which leads to higher grades on your transcripts and better test scores.
Many colleges have foreign language admission requirements.
A number of colleges from Harvard to UCLA have foreign language requirements for admission, or preferences for students who have studied a language, so passing four years of German can help your chances of being accepted. If your school doesn’t offer language classes, you can look into private tutoring, online classes, or even courses at the local community college.
You can earn college credits in advance.
Nearly every college has language requirements to earn your degree, but taking an AP language class in high school gives you the ability to gain college credit if you can get a high enough score on the AP test.
Get a head start on some majors.
There are a number of majors that require foreign languages, and taking one in high school gives you a great head start, both in the language you learn and in knowing how to learn other languages. If you’re considering majoring in International Relations, Linguistics, or Anthropology, taking a language throughout high school will help you succeed in college.
It’s easier to travel when you know the language.
If you dream of participating in a study abroad program during college, doing so will be much easier if you speak a foreign language. You’ll have an easier time learning in a foreign country or partnering university and a better overall experience if you speak the local language.
Knowing a foreign language improves your chances of getting a job.
This is particularly true in certain industries, such as the military, medicine, and technology, but a foreign language is considered a benefit in nearly every job. In a world that’s increasingly interconnected, being able to communicate with people from other cultures is a useful skill that is all too easily skipped.
Knowing one foreign language makes it easier to learn other languages.
The same skills and techniques you use to learn one language can be used again to learn other languages, which can come in handy if you plan on majoring in International Relations or dream of a career that requires you to be multilingual. Additionally, languages develop from each other, so knowing one gives you insight into the structure, pronunciation, and even vocabulary of other related languages. For instance, if you speak Spanish, you’ll have an easier time learning French, Italian, or Portuguese.