Our education and years of studies are some of the most important pillars of our lives because what we decide to study will determine our professional paths and careers.

Finding the correct path for us can be overwhelming, especially since there are so many options, programs, and schools. That's why you should do the appropriate amount of research before you make a decision.

To figure out where to start you should probably go online and look at studies or schools you'd be interested in. Whether you like the social sciences or normal science, you have to choose.

Once you have some options you should check for the things that are required to apply (like grades or prerequisites). Then you should complete any admission form and everything that comes with it (SATs, letters of recommendation, and more).

Keep in mind that prerequisites are important because they can make the difference between getting into a program, being waitlisted, or being rejected.

A prerequisite is a course or class you need to have taken before you're allowed to take a core course of your major or a prerequisite can also be a class you should've taken during your high school years to be accepted in a given program.

If you don't feel like studying abroad (in France for example) you should pay attention to all the programs offered in your state of residence, that way you guarantee finding something close to home.

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One important requirement or prerequisite for a BA in French is basic knowledge additional to good grades, good SAT scores, and the correct amount of hours of study. Photo by Windows on Unsplash

If you're a high school student wishing to pursue a career in languages (like French), then continue reading to find out more about the degree, its requirements, and so on.

What can high school students do to prepare for a career in French?

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Choosing a degree

Students in high school are faced with one of the most important decisions of their lives, choosing a degree and a university. Choosing correctly can mark the difference between a successful career path and a mediocre one.

This is such an important decision that students need to dedicate hours to do the appropriate research to consider every possible option available to them.

Another important aspect to consider before choosing a degree is our own personal aptitudes. Let's say you've got a talent to learn new languages and you really enjoy having the opportunity to talk to other people in their own language. If that's the case, then you should consider pursuing a career in foreign languages.

On the contrary, if you are not good or you don't like learning a new language, then it would be counterproductive for you to choose a degree in foreign languages.

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You can get college credit in high school, all you have to do is complete a prerequisite course and make sure it is college level and pass with a good grade to get credit. Photo by Dom Fou on Unsplash

Keep in mind that if you choose a liberal arts program then you'll have to complete other course requirements aside from your major. These courses are usually maths, sciences, arts, literature, and more "general knowledge" classes.

These courses can be avoided if you've completed your course prerequisites and transfer the credits. For instance, if you took a science course in high school, and you got an excellent grade, and this class could replace one from college, then you could have the option to skip it. The same goes for classes in literature, math, and arts.

Don't forget that choosing a degree has nothing to do with a college admission process. As an aspiring college student, you'll also have to get good SAT scores, a couple of letters of recommendation, good grades, write an admissions essay, and more.

Choosing the degree should be the fun part of this process!

Learn more about the different types of careers you could pursue with a French major.

Learn French during your high school years

If you want to pursue a career in French you must start learning the language before you start university. This will not only give you an advantage during your college years but it can also guarantee admission to the program of your dreams.

This doesn't mean that learning French before starting college will make you skip a bunch of classes or credits automatically.

It means that knowing the language beforehand will prepare you for the much harder and advanced French levels you'll have to face during college. This also means that you won't have time to pass basic level classes during college (like Fren 101).

If you take French classes in high school or if you attended a foreign language institute when you were a teenager you'll have an advantage but you won't have the degree in your pocket.

During your university years, you still have to work hard, face challenging courses, fail, and have a hard time overall because that's what college is all about.

During these years we are faced with many different challenges and learning to surpass them will make our work and professional life easier because we would've learned from our past mistakes.

That's why learning French before you make it to university doesn't mean you'll have an easier time there. It only means that the French you know will help you survive.

So don't forget that if you want to major in French then you must know basic level French before you start the four-year program at university.

Besides, learning the basic aspects and elements of a language when you're a teenager will help you build a path to a better understanding of the inner and complicated aspects of said language once you start studying it as a degree.

How to prepare outside of school to be a French major?

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You can go online to the language department site and see all the hours required of French, find any credit, see if you could transfer credits, and figure out what other programs you could take. Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

Language learning levels

Students majoring in French will mostly have to take 300 and 400 level classes. Below we'll explain what is taught at every level.

100 and 200 levels

These are the first two levels of learning a language and it's dedicated to teaching you all the basic things about it. You learn basic vocabulary, sentence structure, pronunciation, and so on.

In a beginner-level class, you would learn how to introduce yourself in the new language, how to go grocery shopping, to identify certain day-to-day objects and similar things.

Any language course that has some of these numbers (like Fren 101) means that it's directed at beginner students. If you're going to pursue a degree in French then you probably should pass these levels before making it to college.

If you take these levels during your years in college it means you're not interested in a French major and you're just interested in the language credits. However, some universities do offer 100 and 200 classes for students to take as electives, but not core courses.

300 level

A 300 course is addressed for students at an intermediate French level. This means that they can already read, write, and defend themselves in French and they are ready to learn about the more complex parts of the language.

In these courses, students are taught about literature, writing, composition, and communication.

400 level

Finally, a 400 course is designed for students at an advanced level. These students can hold conversations about complex topics in a foreign language.

A 400 course can also be an internship, seminar, thesis work, or any kind of "end of the year" or "end of the semester" project which will help the student culminate their studies and demonstrate everything they've learned every year in school.

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Academic education is one of the most important things in life, additional to family and social life, we should all give our academic education a great deal of importance. Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

If you decide to learn French before college because you want to live abroad in France then you'll have to go through a different system. This system is called the Common European Framework of Reference or the CEF scale and the levels are the following:

  • Beginners - A1
  • Pre-Intermediate (required for graduation at AGS) - A2
  • Intermediate - B1
  • Advanced - B2
  • Superior - C1
  • Mastery - C2

BA in French

A Bachelor's in French is for people who are not only interested in learning how to speak French so they can travel during the summer to France and being able to order food in French. For something like that, you could take an online course instead of enrolling yourself in a four-year academic program.

However, if you want to receive an education in French because you're passionate about the language, the culture, the country, and the history, then you should embark on a four-year academic program. If you choose French as your major you'll be able to understand the French culture because you'll study about it day and night.

If you're interested in getting a Bachelor's in French here are some of the things you should know:

  • Some universities offer a program of 60-credit courses others of 35 semester hours
  • You'd be getting a Bachelor's in Arts from Language Schools, Social Sciences, or Humanities department
  • You could pursue a career as an interpreter, foreign correspondent, foreign service officer, educator, linguist, travel writer, or any field in communication
  • Most universities offer a 4-year program but you can find places where you can get a diploma in less time
  • The only prerequisite or requirement is having basic knowledge of the language

During the four years, you'll spend countless hours reading, writing, and speaking in a foreign language and you should prepare yourself for that because it will be exhausting.

If you're not sure about wanting to study French you should know that there are many other programs, other than a Bachelor's in French, where you can also learn the language. You just won't do it in depth!

Here is a general course catalog for French majors and the number of credits:

  • fren 201 Third Semester French (4)
  • fren 202 Fourth Semester French(4)
  • fren 311 French Conversation and Composition (3)
  • fren 312 Advanced French Communication (3)
  • fren 325 Culture and Civilization of France (3)
  • fren 327 Contemporary France (3)
  • fren 401: Seminar in French Studies (3)

Find information on what USA universities are best for French majors right here.

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