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Testing Out of Foreign Language Requirements

Do colleges allow students the option to test out of foreign language requirements, allowing them to save tuition and graduate earlier? Alternatively, will they accept transfer credits?

Most colleges do. Some examples follow:

According to the University of Wisconsin -- Stevens Point Department of Foreign Languages, "Any student who has taken a foreign language in high school or gained proficiency through other means, such as living abroad, may be eligible to receive up to 16 credits toward graduation. To qualify for these credits and to continue your foreign language study at UW-SP, you must take a placement exam."

Western Michigan University allows students to test out of the language, but no credit is awarded.

University of Virginia: Foreign language placement comes by the awarding of advanced standing credit (course exemption and academic credit hours) or by the awarding of Advanced Placement (course exemption but no credit hours.)

Harvard: Degree candidates must meet a foreign language requirement in a language with a written component that is taught at Harvard or for which an appropriate examination with a written component can be given. The requirement can be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  • Earning a minimum score of 600 on a College Entrance Examination Board SAT II Test that includes a reading component, or
  • Earning a passing score as determined by the department on a placement examination administered by certain language departments, or
  • Passing with a letter grade one appropriate full course or two half-courses of instruction in one language at Harvard. These courses may not include foreign literature courses conducted in English.

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