Posted in Foreign Language

Which is Better? Foreign Language for High School or College Credit?

The question of whether or not to take a foreign language for high school or college credit comes down to 3 main considerations. (1) Does your state require foreign language credit in order to issue a homeschool diploma? (2) Do the public 4-year universities in your state ask for 2 years of high school foreign language for admission? (3) Does your teen’s target major at their target college require foreign language credit for their degree?

Let’s dissect these three questions, and I’ll follow up with a few resources for your consideration.

(1) Does your state require foreign language credit in order to issue a homeschool diploma?

NO.  In that case, you have the option of whether or not your teen studies a foreign language.  If you choose to have your teen study a foreign language, my recommendation is to choose the college credit option if you answer “yes” for questions 2 or 3. If you’ve answered “no” for 2 or 3, my advice is to consider Spanish, French, or German for 2 years using high school curriculum and issuing high school credit. If your teen does really well, consider adding on CLEP prep and attempting the CLEP exam for potential college credit.

YES.  In this case, you “have to” pursue a foreign language per legal requirements. If you fall into this category, I would base my recommendation on the ambition of your teen. If your teen is motivated to learn a new language, consider choosing dual enrollment. In this case, you’re “banking” college credit for later, and you’re assuring that they hit the high school credit requirement. Keep in mind that dual enrollment classes carry a letter grade, so your teen’s motivation is the key piece for my advice. If your teen is not motivated, and you simply have to check the box, I would strongly recommend a high school curriculum.

(2) Do the public 4-year universities in your state ask for 2 years of high school foreign language for admission?

NO.  I would urge you to double-check that your teen’s target college also does not require or recommend 2 years of high school foreign language. Students planning to attend a community college are often exempt from this requirement, so the “safe” route is to proceed as “yes” unless you become confident that your teen’s target college does not have this requirement. I can assure you that admissions requirements differ a lot from state to state, so you’ll have to do a little homework and find out if this is something you need to plan for.  If you’re 100% certain that this will not be an incoming freshman requirement, and you answered “no” to the next question, then the decision is totally up to you. In your shoes, I would probably choose a high school level or none at all.

YES.  In this case, I recommend including a foreign language as dual enrollment. The best use of your time and money will be through your community college because your public 4-year university will already have a transfer agreement in place. If you do not have access to dual enrollment or it’s out of your budget, you can check the university’s CLEP acceptance policy. If they accept Spanish, French, or German CLEP for college credit, my suggestion is using high school curriculum and issuing high school credit. If your teen does really well, consider adding on CLEP prep and attempting the CLEP exam for potential college credit. If the college doesn’t award college credit for CLEP, and you’re sure dual enrollment isn’t an option, then simply choose a high school curriculum.

3)  Does your teen’s target major at their target college require foreign language credit for their degree?

NO.  Many people assume colleges all require a foreign language, but this is generally not the case. Liberal Arts colleges do tend to have this requirement, but it is not true that most degrees have this requirement. If you have a target major or target college picked out, you can check for sure. Assuming you have answered “no” to questions 1 and 2, you have total autonomy here as to whether or not you include a foreign language. In this case, I think it’s a personal preference. If you have a family history that includes other languages, my encouragement is to pursue that language simply as a matter of keeping the tradition alive in your family tree. As for high school or college credit, it’s totally your call.

YES.  In this case, you “know” that foreign language credit will be required, so you can resourcefully plan based on your teen’s ability. If your teen is already studying the language at the middle or high school level, and is doing well, my advice is to take the college requirement as a dual enrollment course. It’s worth confirming that your target college will accept transfer credit, but I would still suggest this route even if you’re unsure. In the worst-case scenario, your teen will have to take it again in college, but having spent the extra time in dual enrollment, the chance of success at their target college is so much better. They’ll be super-prepared, and that’s a good thing! If your teen is struggling with academics, you should choose high school level foreign language. It will be considerably less pressure and give them a good introduction that they’ll need at the college level. It’s also worth pointing out that you can avoid the foreign language requirement entirely by looking at a different college. If the language requirement is impossible to overcome, it will mean the difference between earning the degree or leaving college without a degree. My advice is always to do what you have to do in order to get them OUT of college.


For High School Credit

This list of curriculum taken from Cathy Duffy’s amazing website Cathy Duffy Reviews.  When you visit a link below, you can read more about each subject and the product. You can use any level for high school credit, and if you’re aiming for fluency, allow several years.

French

Greek

Hebrew

Latin

Spanish

For College Credit

Credit by Exam:  CLEP or AP offers exams for “testing out” of a college class. Better than half of all colleges will award credit this way, and it allows the parent to teach a homeschool curriculum first, and then consider whether or not their teen is up to trying the test.  The most flexibility is offered this way. Read more about foreign language credit by exam. 

Dual enrollment:  Always look local! Your local community college probably offers dual enrollment for high school students, and often the tuition is lower than what high school graduates pay. Read more about dual enrollment. 

Dual enrollment for anyone:  BYU Independent Study is open to any student of any age/grade without testing requirements. When you visit their website, be sure to choose “University Classes” and not “High School Classes” because high school classes are NOT worth college credit!

(prices quoted based on June 2020)

Business

Business Arabic

MSB 596 R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business German

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business Portuguese

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business Spanish

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business Korean

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Humanities

First-Year Arabic

ARAB 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Arabic

ARAB 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Beginning Mandarin

CHIN 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $819.00

Beginning Mandarin

CHIN 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $819.00

First-Year French, Part 1

FREN 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year French, Part 2

FREN 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Intermediate French, Part 2

FREN 202 | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

First-Year German

GERM 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year German

GERM 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Second-Year German

GERM 201 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Second-Year German 2

GERM 202 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Biblical Hebrew

HEB 131 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Biblical Hebrew

HEB 132 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Japanese Reading and Culture

JAPAN 301 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Readings in Japanese History and Culture

JAPAN 302 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Korean 1

KOREA 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Korean 2

KOREA 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Foundational Spanish 1

SPAN 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $832.00

Foundational Spanish 2

SPAN 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $832.00

World Languages

First-Year Arabic

ARAB 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Arabic

ARAB 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year American Sign Language

ASL 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Beginning Mandarin

CHIN 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $819.00

Beginning Mandarin

CHIN 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $819.00

First-Year French, Part 1

FREN 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year French, Part 2

FREN 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Intermediate French, Part 2

FREN 202 | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

First-Year German

GERM 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year German

GERM 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Second-Year German

GERM 201 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Second-Year German 2

GERM 202 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Biblical Hebrew

HEB 131 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Biblical Hebrew

HEB 132 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Japanese Reading and Culture

JAPAN 301 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Readings in Japanese History and Culture

JAPAN 302 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Korean 1

KOREA 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

First-Year Korean 2

KOREA 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $796.00

Business Arabic

MSB 596 R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business German

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business Portuguese

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business Spanish

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business Korean

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Business French

MSB 596R | Online | University | 3.00 Credit Hours | $597.00

Foundational Spanish 1

SPAN 101 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $832.00

Foundational Spanish 2

SPAN 102 | Online | University | 4.00 Credit Hours | $832.00

Author:

Site Owner, Homeschooling for College Credit

2 thoughts on “Which is Better? Foreign Language for High School or College Credit?

Comments are closed.