Extracurriculars to Consider if You Plan to Study Foreign Languages

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If you pick up foreign tongues like others learn to ride a bike, you might be planning to major in foreign languages. Whether your goal is to practice law overseas or teach French back in your hometown, the options for a career in this field are virtually endless. Still, choosing the right college can give you a serious leg up on your future goals, and that means creating a compelling application package that includes relevant extracurriculars. 

 

So, how do you decide which extracurricular activities to pursue while still in high school? When selecting which ECs to highlight on your application, it’s important to focus on those activities you participate in on a regular basis. For example, if you only attended two meetings of the Latin club, you probably shouldn’t include it. When in doubt, choose a handful of activities that showcase your passion for your chosen major, along with others that demonstrate your leadership, dedication, and character. 

 

Similarly, some activities stand out more than others in the eyes of admissions committees. Keep reading to learn about the different tiers of extracurricular activities and determine which ones are likely to make the best impression. 

 

4 Tiers of Extracurricular Activities

 

Highly selective institutions consider more than grades and SAT scores when making admissions decisions. Since many of the candidates at top colleges boast exceptional applicant profiles, admissions officers are constantly looking for ways to differentiate students from the pack. That’s where extracurriculars come in.

 

In particular, colleges are impressed by students who’ve achieved uncommon or extraordinary things outside of the classroom. These tier one extracurriculars include activities like winning an award at the national level, or being accepted to a prestigious summer research program. However, these accomplishments are rare, and most competitive applicants boast a range of activities from tiers two through four. 

 

The second most prestigious group, tier two, features ECs that separate students from their peers. For example, you might be president of your school’s Spanish club, or captain of the soccer team. Winning a state-level award can also qualify you for tier two status. 

 

Tier three activities include holding a role involving less leadership or time, such as Spanish club secretary or student council treasurer. Varsity athletes may also be included in this group.

 

The last category of extracurricular activities, tier four, is the most common and therefore the lease prestigious. However, that doesn’t mean you should refrain from including these ECs on your college application. Playing JV basketball shows your school spirit and ability to work as part of a team. Similarly, participating in the school band every year shows your passion for music, and dedication and commitment. The goal is to build a robust application that shows off your personality and strength of character while giving schools a reason to choose you.

 

Extracurricular Ideas for Aspiring Foreign Language Majors

 

Need some ideas for extracurricular activities appropriate for foreign language majors? Here are some clubs and honor societies you might want to consider if you plan to study languages in college:

 

Clubs and Activities

 

American Sign Language Club 

Cultural Exchange Club 

Latin Club

Middle Eastern Culture Club

Spanish Culture Club

Korean Culture Club

Tutoring students in a foreign language

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Competitions, Camps, and Honors Societies

 

Euro Challenge: Open to freshmen or sophomores, Euro Challenge enables participants to learn about the European Union and the euro. Teams present information about the Euro, as well as potential solutions to economic problems in a specific Eurozone country. While the Euro Challenge doesn’t have direct ties to learning a foreign language, it could be useful to learn more about the currency and economy of EU countries; this is especially try for those who plan to study continental languages like French and Spanish, and even live overseas one day.

 

Chinese Honor Society: Celebrating those high school students who have studied Chinese for four full semesters and maintained a B average, this honor society also recognizes applicants’ citizenship, leadership, and community service.

 

French National Honor Society: Also known as the Société Honoraire de Français, this organization recognizes American high schoolers who studied French for at least three semesters and earned high marks.

 

German National Honor Society: This group recognizes the scholarship of talented high school students with a goal of promoting the study of German language, civilization, and culture.

 

Italian Honor Society: The Società Onoraria Italica, the National Italian Honor Society, is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian. Its goal is to celebrate achievements in Italian and increase understanding and appreciation of the Italian language and culture.

 

Latin Honor Society: Open to middle and high school students studying the classics, this organization regularly offers leadership opportunities at the state and national levels.

 

Spanish National Honor Society: If you’re currently studying Spanish and earning strong grades, you might be a candidate for this academic honor society that encourages the study of Spanish language and culture. Some students even qualify for travel awards and college scholarships.

 

Not all high school counselors can give each student the individual time and attention to help with the college applications process. We created CollegeVine as a way of leveling the playing field by providing all students with access to information and advice designed to help them on their academic journeys. Whether you need help identifying target, reach, and safety schools or choosing extracurriculars to pursue, our team can help. Learn more about our services online or subscribe to our email list for advice sent right to your inbox.

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April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.