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There is a reason why colleges ask applicants to list foreign languages that applicants are fluent in, and why admissions officers assess applicants high school transcripts and SAT II foreign language scores: college admissions officers value foreign language skills. Moreover, many colleges have a foreign language requirement for their students and encourage them to study abroad to improve their foreign language abilities.
Colleges recognize that their graduates must be prepared to work in an increasingly global market for talent and ideas. By demonstrating competence in a foreign language before college, an applicant can signal to an admissions officer that she will propel a college’s efforts to prepare its students for the global workplace.
Embarking on the path to becoming fluent in a foreign language may be one of the best things a future college student can do in middle and high school. Not only will a student strengthen her college application, she will also be setting herself up for success for applying to grad school and jobs after college. Many medical schools give preference to applicants who are fluent in Spanish as their hospitals cater to Spanish-speaking populations. Numerous financial services firms, marketing firms, and tech companies also seek applicants able to work in emerging markets like China and Latin America.
Consider foreign languages that will help not just with the college application process, but also with the job market after college. My ability to speak fluent Spanish landed me a coveted Wall Street internship in college that I probably would not have gotten if I did not speak Spanish. Spanish and Mandarin are particularly useful as Latin America and China are the US’ two biggest trade partners.
A college education can cost from $100,000 to over $300,000 depending on the college. This exorbitant cost underscores the need for applicants to obtain scholarships or need-based grants to cover as much of this cost as possible.
Your family should not wait to receive scholarship or need-based grant offers from colleges that accept your child. Your child can start applying for scholarships in ninth grade. A great place to search and apply for scholarships is www.scholarship.com.
Your child will be very busy growing and creating a compelling profile for college admissions officers throughout high school. By setting aside a few hours each month to apply to scholarships, your child could obtain a substantial amount of scholarships to defray the cost of her college education.
While it is tempting to apply to high profile and large scholarships offered by Fortune 100 companies, consider local and niche scholarships offered to students in a particular location or from a certain background that may receive less competition. Winning several of these scholarships over time may equal or surpass one larger scholarship. Your child should also discuss scholarships offered by local organizations like Rotary or Kiwanis with her guidance counselor.
Every scholarship your child receives will directly offset the cost of her college education and will help your family offset the cost of her college education.
The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s January 2016 proposal to overhaul the college admissions process addresses what many of us already know: the college application process favors applicants with resources to create compelling applications. The proposal calls for a revamp of the college application process to make it more favorable to applicants from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. The proposal calls for:
This proposal is making national news, but do not let it distract you. Applicants must still demonstrate value to college admissions officers to earn admission in a hyper competitive environment. Admissions officers will continue to assess an applicant’s SAT scores, high school transcript, extracurricular activities and personal statements to measure the value they will bring to their college. The more value an applicant can bring to a college, the more likely she will earn admission to that college.