Figuring out what you want to study can be almost as tricky as deciding where you want to study because of the vast sea of colleges and universities across the country plus every opportunity abroad.
Where you go to school (college or university) can determine many things about your future. The networking you will do during your four years in university can open many doors of opportunities for you as well as all the things you will learn. That's why choosing a good institution —either for an undergraduate or graduate degree— is as important as choosing a major.
The order in which you make your decision is also important. For instance, imagine you decide you want to study in your favorite university in California. But, after applying and getting in, you realize they don't offer the major in literature or history you're interested in.
When you do your college research, one of the first things you have to check for is if you could study the major and minor you're interested in.
In other words, you should first define what you want to study and then figure out where you want to study. This way you avoid being disappointed or let down.
If you're a high school student wondering if you want to start college in the fall, wait for the spring semester, or take a gap year, the only way you can make a decision is by weighing the pros and cons of each option.
In this article, we're going to tell you about deciding what you want to study, how you should look for a university and the universities in the United States that offer an undergraduate degree in French.
What can high school students do to prepare for a career in French?
Decide what you want to study
The first step you need to take to figure out what you want to do after high school is figuring out what you want to study. Students usually have a hard time making this decision because they feel too much pressure from schools, parents, teachers, and, most of all, peer pressure.
However, to guarantee you make a good decision, you should take your time to explore your options. Single out the things you're good at. Do you like writing? Are you entertained when you learn about history or the arts? Are you talented in literature, English, or cultural studies?
If you start narrowing down your options within the academic world, then the final decision won't be as daunting.
Keep in mind that many majors have several requirements. For example, if you want to get a major in French, you'll have to have taken French in high school. Or if you want to pursue the sciences, you must have taken classes in the science department, and so on.
Many college programs offer the general classes that function as requirements for more complex and higher-level courses, but still, it's better to be prepared and have all the required courses under your sleeve.
If you feel like you're not ready to make this decision you can look into liberal arts schools and declare your major before starting your third year in college.
In a liberal arts school, you can choose classes and courses from whichever program and department you're interested in. During the fall semester, you can take literature, English, American culture, and creative writing; and during the spring semester, you can take classes from a completely different department. You can also take summer classes and continue exploring your talents and abilities.
All you have to do is organize yourself and make sure you take the required credits to graduate in time!
Learn more about the different types of careers you could pursue with a French major.
Search for the perfect school for you
Finding the perfect institution or the perfect programs can be tricky, but it's not impossible!
Students are often focused on getting a good grade in the upcoming exam, or writing the perfect application essay, and they forget the hours it will take to research and find the perfect college or university.
Regardless of your interests, whether you want to get an undergraduate or graduate degree, if you want to study in California or New York, start in the fall or spring semester, or get an international experience and study abroad; you must spend hours researching schools and programs.
You should research and read about a school's campus, faculty options, teaching methods, student's academic achievements, level of education, foreign or international programs, costs, location, opportunities, requirements to apply, course catalogs, and so on.
If you want to pursue a major in literature or history you should check the social studies faculty and learn more about the professors teaching each course and the classes you could take. This research should be done for any major or minor, and also to undergraduate and graduate students.
If you're interested in pursuing a degree in French (or any other language) you must do a thorough research of the teachers and the academic program because any university's language department or faculty can be relatively new and therefore inexperienced.
Just make sure that the school has been offering the degree or major you pursue for a long time because it means that they've had time to create and build a good curriculum.
When picking a university you should also pay attention to the time of the year when the courses are offered. Some universities offer every course every semester but some only offer it in fall or spring. Also, if you want to take summer classes you must check to see if the course you want to take is available during the summer (it will definitely be offered during fall or spring).
What classes should you take in high school if you wish to do a French degree?
Universities in the US that offer a French major
Studying a foreign language can be one of the most gratifying but challenging things you can learn as a student because you will get to appreciate the hours of hard work and perseverance it takes to learn the language.
Since we learned English when we were babies, we don't remember how challenging and difficult it can be to learn how to speak, write and read in a foreign language.
Getting an education in languages also implies learning about the history, literature, culture, and cultural background of the people and countries where they speak said language.
If, for instance, you choose France and the French language you will have to learn about their cute and famous sayings, their slang, the different accents of each region in France; as much as you will have to learn about the academic aspect of the language like French literature and history.
If you've decided that you want to pursue a career in French and you wish to study French as a major (or minor) then here are some universities that offer this program in the country.
Here is a university general course catalog for French majors and the number of credits (keep in mind that these courses aren't all the same in every university):
- 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)
- fren 405: Advanced literature (3)
Read more about how to prepare outside of school to be a French major and learn about the required things to get an undergraduate degree in French.
Learning a new language will take you longer than a year, however, you can pick up a lot in just one year if you immerse yourself in the culture and with the people, something you will only be able to do if you go abroad.
Students often fancy the idea of going one semester abroad to get a life-changing experience while focusing on their studies in a beautiful place in the world.
However, there are many students that want to live the entire four-year college experience abroad because they see the value of getting an international experience as they complete all the requirements to graduate.
Teaching and learning a language is not easy, and students often get frustrated because they usually go home, don't practice, and forget what they learned in the classroom. But, if you live in France, you would go home surrounded by French and you would be forced to study and practice every day and every chance you get.
Your French level will improve exponentially after six months or a year in a foreign country. You will notice how every grade will get better and every class will get easier —if you're a person who doesn't care about a grade you'll start caring once you notice your improvement.
The downside of studying abroad and studying in Europe (France) is that you won't have the campus experience everyone gets in the United States. However, you'll get to experience something far better and much more exciting which is the European lifestyle.
Many French schools don't have a traditional campus like American schools, all they have is a building with classrooms, but they don't need an extravagant campus because the city is their campus.
Students and faculty in the French program enjoy learning about languages as much as students in the history program enjoy history, or the literature students, or English and so on. You have to make sure you're studying what you like and you'll enjoy the company of people who love the same things you do.
If being in California riding a wave is what you love, then don't pressure yourself to do something else because you believe it's the right thing. Every grade you get will be great if you're doing something you love, and if that is languages and French, then go right ahead and do that.
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