Chinese major... How risky?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Annette, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Annette

    Annette Member

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    My son would like to major in Chinese(second choice is electrical engineering). Would this choice limit his chances of getting into the academy? I realize it's an engineering school but I've heard that they are starting to look more favorably upon language majors. Any thoughts?
     
  2. kaullman

    kaullman Member

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    Not Really

    I don't think choice of major would limit any candidate's chances of being offered an appointment. Two reasons:

    1. You don't get selected for a major until spring of plebe year. While a plebe can ask for any of the 21 majors, the academy will meet its goal of two-thirds math, science and engineering.

    2. Since Chinese is relatively new, I would think that your candidate would be on of the few requesting it, and all of the majors are looking to have good folks.
     
  3. Annette

    Annette Member

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    I'm new to this whole process, so please forgive my ignorance. Are you saying they select your major for you? Or you get to request a major but are not guaranteed the selection?
     
  4. kaullman

    kaullman Member

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    You Ask, They Answer

    Yes. I believe (others, please correct me) that plebes submit a priorotized list of three majors. One of the top two is supposed to be Math, Science, Engineering, and the Academy (I'm not sure who) then makes sure that the selections, class-wide, fit the needs of the Navy and the desires of the Mids.
     
  5. peskemom

    peskemom Member

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    The Class of 2010 will graduate next year with Chinese majors. Our mid is Arabic and the other mid from her high school chose Chinese. Together they are preparing to serve as Officers fluent in their respective languages/cultures.

    In order to be selected for these levels of language majors you have to jump through several hoops...among them 700+Math SAT scores, a score above 125 on the Defense Language Test, and validate at least a year of another foreign langague ( typically the one you had in high school.) During Plebe summer these tests are offered as part of their overall testing times - so if a Plebe has an interest in these languages, they simply put in to take these exams.

    These are no easy courses. While they are technically considered "level 3" majors at USNA ( the 'top' level one being the Engineering ones) it is very interesting to watch the attitude of the MechE, EE and AeroE mids when they learn that a mid is an Arabic or Chinese major. They actually RESPECT the degree program as harder in some ways, to their rigorous engineering courses.

    My mid has told me for 3 years now she can punch out all her math and science assignments but sweats for her Arabic classes.

    And a Service Academy is probably the only US school that gives Bachelors in SCIENCE degrees for an Arabic major!

    So if an applicant is interested in Chinese as a major or a minor - USNA does offer that option.
     
  6. Annette

    Annette Member

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    Thank you for the helpful information. He definitely does not have a 700+ on his math SAT. He does have a good class rank and is in his 4th year of HS Chinese. His teacher wants him to join the National Foreign Language Honor Society, and he has been offered a Teacher Assistant position for his senior year. He tells everyone he wants to go to USNA, major in Chinese and become a Marine.
     
  7. Profmom2

    Profmom2 Member

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    ^^^ Very true. However the Academy is charged with making sure starting with the class of 2013, that USNA will ensure a minimum of 65% complete a technical degree program before receiving a Navy Commission. That will play into Appointments. A policy is already in effect for NROTC Scholarships

     
  8. Pachrian

    Pachrian Parent

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    Do you mean a language other than Chinese or Arabic?

    I wonder if my son knows about this option, he's definitely more interested in humanities majors and the math qualification wouldn't be a problem.
     
  9. Profmom2

    Profmom2 Member

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    Yes you need to take the validation test in some language, goes towards language proficiency. I believe they offer validation tests for Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Russian. He may need to inquire about Chinese if that is what he has been studying in HS.
     
  10. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    I don't know the exact numbers but I think there are fewer than one hundred in the Chinese major. That would mean less than 2.5% of Brigade.
     
  11. peskemom

    peskemom Member

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    For the Class of 2010 they started with 24 Arabic majors and are down to 8 full Arabic majors and a few more minors. I would bet these are comparable for Chinese. This stuff is tough work and requires alot of study ontop of everything else thrown at our amazing mids. I frankly am wondrous at what these next generation of American patriots can do!
     
  12. Tommygun

    Tommygun Member

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    Language Validation testing

    My son is fluent in German so would he take this above exam and then have the option of majoring /minoring in it, or just arabic/chinese? Languages do seem to come easy for him....Thanks
     
  13. Profmom2

    Profmom2 Member

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    For the non critical languages: Spanish, French, German, Japanese and maybe Russian (it may be listed as critical) You just take the validation test, and then continue in your language to get the minor. No majors are available in the noncritical languages. You may also do as my son did, start another one language even though he validated many semesters of Spanish. As long as you make it through the 400 level courses you will receive a minor - means language class ever semester if you start new. Also to do so, you will putting off some core courses Plebe year - typically PolySci, English or Western Civ and you will have to make up later in your studies. If you are fortunate to validate some of those it will help make fitting a new language into your matrix.

    If you continue on in a language you have studied, you can fit the required classes to receive the minor in later in your matrix as long as you have validated some of the semesters.
     

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