It’s no secret that getting into college is harder than ever. More students are applying, and many are applying to multiple schools to ensure they are accepted to multiple schools and have options. According to The Washington Post, admission rates at top colleges are dropping. Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Stanford only admit 5 to 5.3 percent of candidates. Even state schools are becoming more difficult to get into. UCLA has an acceptance rate of 17.3 percent, while UC Berkeley only accepts 18.2 percent of applicants. With admission rates continuing to decline, it is becoming more crucial for students to think about their extracurricular activities strategically and weigh which will be most likely to earn them a spot at their dream school.
Here are five ways that learning Chinese can do just that:
Learning Chinese can help students do better in school. Children who begin learning Chinese at a young age tend to do better in their coursework overall. Chinese can be a challenging language to master. After learning it, other academic subjects become easier by comparison. It’s not uncommon for students who have been studying Chinese to get into honors and advanced-level classes.
Chinese makes students stand out. With fierce competition to get into schools, one of the biggest challenges a child faces is standing apart from the thousands of other applicants. Most high schools offer Spanish and French, and most do not teach Chinese. Being able to list a foreign language that is rarely seen on applications is a great way to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
The ability to speak Chinese is even more impressive in Non-Asian children. Because these children lack cultural ties to the language, they must work harder to become fluent – or even proficient –speakers. Fluency in such a difficult language could be the distinctive characteristic that puts a teen ahead of the pack and gains them admission to an Ivy League school.
Learning Chinese reveals a lot about a person. The dedication it takes to learn Chinese not only makes a child unique, it also shows them to be a citizen of the world. Learning any language requires an understanding and respect for the cultures that speak it. Mastering a language such as Chinese shows a commitment, passion, and a high level of cross-cultural competence.
Learning Chinese opens doors. China is flourishing, offering many business opportunities for someone who speaks the language. Kids who learn Chinese today are setting themselves up to take advantage of these opportunities in the future.
Learning Chinese early can influence a child’s entire academic career, and being fluent by the time they’re applying to universities can really distinguish a teen from their competition, and land them an acceptance letter from the school of their dreams.
Wendy Huang, CEO of Beijing Chinese Academy, was born and raised in China and graduated from Northwestern University. Founded in 2007, Beijing Chinese Academy offers Chinese language instruction to kids of all levels in Los Angeles. For class schedule, visit www.beijingchineseacademy.com.