Aug. 15, 2019
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
My family and I emigrated to the United States from China. I will be a sophomore in high school this fall. I have been told that I need to begin preparing for the college application process and I have no idea where to start — the whole procedure seems so complicated. I am currently ranked number three in my class and next year I have registered for the following Advanced Placement classes: World History, Language and Composition, Statistics, Environmental Science, and Latin. I also plan to take Physics, Math, Greek II, and possibly an Art History AP class depending on what my schedule will allow. Do you have any suggestions on classes that I should be taking that I am not? Anything you can do to help me would be appreciated.
Clueless about college
Classical languages can be a boost
in college admissions
You are far from clueless. You have chosen classes that will provide you with an excellent preparation for college. I am impressed with your choice of AP Statistics, because not many students take it in high school. It will help you to stand out when applying, and it is an excellent course in preparation for business, law or grad school later on.
I have not had a client take both Latin and Greek in over five years. Bravo! Colleges will jump at the opportunity to interview you. Classics Study Departments drool over students like you and will do everything they can to persuade the college to admit you. Today, Latin is only occasionally taught in high schools and middle schools as an elective option, so you are lucky to have it offered. You will need three years of Greek or Latin to enter some college classics programs if that is an interest.
My short answer to your question is not to worry about the application process because you have some very smart people advising you.
On the cautionary side, I did notice that Greek is not listed as an AP class. This usually means it is offered as a non-weighted grade. That means an "A" earned in Greek might only equal a 4.0 instead of a 5.0 if it were offered as an AP class. This could be an important distinction if you have your heart set on graduating as valedictorian. Rest assured that top colleges have representatives that will be familiar with your high school curriculum and you will be respected for taking Greek even if it is not weighted.
You also mentioned being Chinese-American. I was not so sure whether brushing up on Chinese would help with admission, so I contacted a former client who is an undergraduate at Princeton. She also is a Chinese-American. She said, in no uncertain terms, “I do not think that taking Chinese would be a major help in terms of making your letter writer a better candidate for college admission. There are already plenty of Chinese-Americans who can speak fluent Chinese applying."
There you have it, from an insider and one whose opinion I respect.
My advice is to stay focused on Latin and Greek, the languages in which you will be most proficient. Your chances of getting admitted might be higher. As far as career and graduate school is concerned, the best preparation is what you are doing now. The key is to master the fundamentals while in high school. Law school applicants with the highest grade point averages studied classical languages in high school and college.
Do not forget to budget time to properly prepare for the SAT or ACT. Vocabulary scores have a large impact on your overall performance and with the fact that about 60 percent of all English words derive from Latin, your study of the subject should be beneficial. At least 50 percent of the admissions decision is based upon your scores on these tests.
Gerald Bradshaw is a top US college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.
Tags: Colleges SAT Preparation
Colleges, College Consulting, International Students
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