How beneficial is being fluent in a 2nd language to your service academy application?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by flightzealot, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. flightzealot

    flightzealot Member

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    Particularly languages like Arabic, Russian, Chinese, etc. I'm wondering because Im Russian-American and Im fluent in reading, writing, and speaking the language. This is demonstrated in my resume as Ive had 3 years of AP Russian at my school and scored a perfect score (5) on the AP Russian Prototype exam. So... considering that tensions between Russia and the U.S. seem to be in existence and because it seems as if relations aren't necessarily improving. Will being fluent in Russian help my (or anybody else's) application in a positive light?
     
  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    It won't hurt, but it also won't get you in alone.
     
  3. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

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    A kid in my DS high school class was adopted from China when he was about 12. He applied. His math SAT was in the 700s but his reading was way lower (400s I think). He was also kinda light on the CFA because he had been made to run and exercise so much and in such a negative way in the orphanage in China that he had no desire to be in much athletics here. The kid is a great kid and his English is getting better and better. He has only been here 5 years. I hoped that being fluent in Mandarin would be a desirable trait that might at least get him in NAPS. Also he is a mathematical whiz. He got a nomination but no appointment. So I guess the areas where he is still developing kept him from getting in. He got a good plan B scholarship about a half ride to a good engineering school.
     
  4. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

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    My guess is that it's like other things that are great but not in the admissions wheel house. It's a tie breaker if needed between similarly qualified candidates.
     
  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    There is fluent and there is fluent. Three years of h.s. language and earning a 5 on the AP test doesn't make you fluent. At best, it makes you proficient. Fluency at the high school level would typically come from having another language spoken at home and/or living in another country for much of your childhood (often in addition to classroom study). And even then, you might have a working fluency (i.e., able to communicate, read newspapers, etc.) but not have fluency such that you could engage in a technical conversation.

    To answer your question . . . if it is a language the USN is seeking (right now, Arabic and Chinese are two), being fluent would be a small bump. But, as Hoops points out, it's not going to overcome major deficiencies in one's record.
     
  6. Ponchco235

    Ponchco235 Member

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    My FFR from USMA told me speaking three languages fluently (Arabic, French -both from my Mom, English) definitely sets me apart from an applicant that's similar to me in other facets. However, academics, extracurriculars/leadership, and the cfa are the big three. The advice given to me was to get those out of the park but be sure to mention (in essays, interviews, etc.) the things that make you unique.
     
  7. flightzealot

    flightzealot Member

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    Thanks for the responses everyone. Yeah, I figured it would just be of minimal help, at least it's something though as I don't think my overall application (specifically in ECs) will stand out that much so anything helps. Also, in response to USNA1985, Russian was my first language before English. I've been speaking it at home ever since I born lol, it's funny because the only language my school happened to teach was Russian, so I guess I lucked out. But you're right though, It would take me some practice in order to talk about a very technical subject like physics or something in Russian. Thanks again.
     
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  8. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    I think 1985 has it on the nose. DD took Chinese in High School and graduated USNA with a degree in Chinese. Is she Fluent? She would admit no. Is she proficient enough to continue on ? Yes with a lot more interaction with those fluent in the language. Any language proficiency can only help your application. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  9. Disco2020

    Disco2020 Member

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    I seem to recall there is a check box item on the application to identify if English is a second language.
     

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