High School Prep
Two years of high school level foreign language classes often allow students to bypass one year at the college level. With four years of foreign language in high school, a student could enter at the advanced college level, saving two whole years of foreign language study in college.
Students can receive credit for foreign language taken in high school in three ways:
- Proficiency credit granted for CLEP (Testing Services) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams for the languages which are offered at SIU.
- Proficiency testing administered by the Testing Services at SIU.
- Validating credit for one or two of the preceding basic language skills courses if an A or B is earned in a validating course. All basic language skills courses, up to and including the first skills course at the 300-level, may serve as validating courses.
EXAMPLE: A student who has had four years of high school German may take a German proficiency test to earn ungraded credit for the first year German basic skills courses. The student can then enroll in the first semester third year German basic skills course, and if an A or B is earned, receive credit for the second year German basic skills courses as well. After one semester the student will have credit for two and a half years of German at the college level.
Core Curriculum and Business Courses
Every SIU student is required to take a specific number of core curriculum classes in varied subjects. These classes can be bypassed if the student has taken AP tests, CLEP tests, or has already received equivalent class credit. For instance, there are five CLEP tests that cover all aspects of core curriculum (Humanities, Sciences, English, Math, Social Studies). Passing all of these tests is the equivalent of testing out of all core curriculum requirements.
Ask your advisor if you have questions about placement or equivalent credit before signing up for classes. The Testing Center offers tests which are specific to courses offered at SIU and high school courses in macroeconomics, microeconomics, management, finite math, or pre-calculus will usually help a student pass these tests.
Summer Work Experience
The value of work experience gained in the summer or part-time during the school year cannot be over-emphasized. Obviously, experience in some area in which the student later hopes to find permanent employment is particularly valuable.
Study Abroad / Exchange Programs
A study abroad or an exchange student experience is invaluable. A foreign living experience following acquisition of basic language knowledge and skills boosts language learning and cultural understanding far beyond what can be achieved during the same period of time here in the United States. High school students should take advantage of any programs in their area in which they can spend a few weeks, a summer, a semester, or even a year abroad. Hosting a foreign student from the country of interest is also a valuable experience.
Grade Point Average
Students need a healthy grade point average to get the attention of good employers. Many firms will not even consider a candidate without a minimum 3.0 (out of 4.0) GPA. FLIT requires that a 2.75 minimum GPA be maintained.