Improving your foreign language skills can the the key to unlocking college admission.

Most colleges in the United States have a foreign language requirement, meaning that you will need to take a certain amount of the same foreign language in high school to be accepted into college. Some schools have the option to complete the requirement while attending their college, but for many, not having the requirement already completed could be a mark against you in the application process. You can check the application requirements for schools on your list by searching on their websites.

As with every part of your college application, though, showing your commitment to learning a foreign language and going beyond the minimum high school foreign language requirements can help your application stand out in the crowd. To that end, we have pulled together some ways that you can work on your foreign language skills outside of the classroom.


Duolingo is a popular free language service that can be used across your phone, computer, and tablet. It provides short lessons grouped by category and is voiced by native speakers to boost fluency and understanding. Duolingo provides English-based instruction in 33 different languages, including fictional ones like Klingon.

Language Bird:

Language Bird is a service that provides one-on-one instruction with a language tutor. These lessons are done over Skype and can be scheduled at your convenience. They offer courses for credit as well as test prep and conversational courses. Language Bird provides English-based instruction in 11 different languages, including American Sign Language.


Mondly is an app-only subscription service that provides lessons that generally take 5-10 minutes to complete. These lessons are grouped by topic and have parts voiced by native speakers. Mondly provides English-based instruction in 31 different languages.

Rosetta Stone:

Rosetta Stone is a well-known computer-based language learning system that provides in-depth language lessons. The software has a one-time purchase fee, and the company also has a subscription service that gives you access to native speakers to help you with conversation. Rosetta Stone provides English-based instruction in 23 different languages.


Babbel is a subscription service that syncs across your phone, computer, and tablet. It focuses on providing short lessons with vocabulary voiced by native speakers to help boost your understanding and fluency. Babbel provides English-based instruction in 13 different languages.

We don’t recommend any one of these services above the others, and we encourage you to research each of them to figure out which is the best option for you as you consider how to satisfy your high school foreign language requirements!

Published by Mark Montgomery

Mark is a leading educational consultant. His experience as a professor, college administrator, and youth mentor help him guide students from around the country and around the world.

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