How many years of world languages should I take in high school?

Do I have to take another year of Latin? How many years of a foreign language do I have to take?

These are questions that I often get asked when it is time to select classes for the following year, especially if it is a junior picking out their senior year classes.

The answer, unsurprisingly, is it depends. It depends what kind of school you want to apply for and what you want to study. If you are applying to elite schools, top 20 to 30 in America, then yes, you should take four years of a foreign language. Most schools require at last two to three years of a foreign language and recommend three to four years. Some schools even have a foreign language proficiency requirement you need to meet in order to graduate college.

Overall, if you are trying to be the most competitive applicant, then I recommend four years. However, if you are learning a language that you are not particularly interested in, but there is the option to take a class that is related to your intended major, then that might be worth swapping out.

To truly understand a school's requirement as it related to foreign languages, you can check the school's website, or check out the Applying section, then Academics & GPA on College Board's school profile. They'll show you how many years are requested and required.

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