4 Obstacles Foreign Language Speakers Face When Applying to American Colleges

foreign language speakers

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  • For most people, going to college is both exciting and scary.

    However, students first have to go through the application process.

    The application process which comes with its own set of challenges.

    The challenges are compounded further for foreign language speakers applying to American colleges. Below are some obstacles they may face during the application process.

    English Language Barrier

    To gain admission into American colleges, applicants have to demonstrate proficiency in the English language since classes and almost all interpersonal interaction take place in English. American colleges need students to pass English tests, such as the TOEFL exam, designed to evaluate listening, reading, and writing skills for foreign language speakers’ proficiency and command of the language.

    The TOEFL exam is mandatory for foreign language speakers. This leaves many of them anxious and obsessed with the exam at the expense of the rest of the application process. There are institutions, such as the Interactive College of Technology, which offer instructional programs to help foreign language speakers to use already existing vocational, training, knowledge or skills. Thus, such students can be better prepared for the exam and, therefore, get into a good American college.

    Supplemental Essays

    Many American colleges need applicants to write supplemental essays to show their interest and demonstrate why they should be chosen to join the college. These essays can be challenging for foreign language speakers whose first language is not English. The essays add deadlines, proofreading time, and pressure for these applicants since they have to put in more effort in the application process before joining their dream school. Failure to impress in these essays could cost a foreign language speaking student placement into the school of their choice.

    Application Expenses

    In addition to worrying about mandatory exams and supplemental essays, foreign language speakers also have to contend with application fees charged by most American colleges. For students facing financial pressure, applying to multiple schools charging application fees can be a real challenge. Many student applicants end up limiting the number of schools they can apply to because of the sum of money they have to pay upfront before being considered to join any school. Given that US colleges understand this, they do offer application fee waivers. However, just because a student applies for a fee waiver does not mean that they will get the waiver.

    Time Constraints

    Applying to American colleges for foreign language speakers, if the student is from a country which follows a semester calendar for the school year, can be challenging. Their final school exams may overlap with early decision application deadlines in the colleges they are applying to. Consequently, the student may have to choose between concentrating on the application process and focusing on their final exams.

    The American college application process is challenging for foreign language speakers. However, American college still get applications from foreign language speakers hoping to enjoy the American dream someday.

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