When you apply to CLS, you have to make a decision about your language selection. While some languages do not require any prerequisite study, you will need one year of study for Arabic, Korean, and Russian and two years of study for Chinese and Japanese.
You will want to consider that CLS uses the following terminology:
- Beginning Level: No previous study of the language, or less than one academic year of study or the equivalent.
- Advanced Beginning Level: At least one academic year of target language study or the equivalent.
- Intermediate Level: At least two academic years of target language study or the equivalent.
- Advanced Level: At least three academic years of target language study or the equivalent.
When you are trying to decide what your language level is, remember that you will apply to the next highest level. For instance, if you are taking your first Arabic course in the fall and another in the subsequent spring semester, you would be considered to be at the “Advanced Beginning Level.” Also, it is important to remember that you may also have experience outside of coursework that will help you develop your language skills.
You will need to ask a professional to assess your skill level. To do this, you can ask a faculty member at Amherst College to assess your language level and determine where you would be placed in the target language curriculum at your school. For instance, if the instructor would place you in second year Arabic at your school, you would apply for the Advanced Beginning level of Arabic on the CLS application.
Is it also important to note that you cannot select which country you wish to study in during the program. CLS staff will place your in a location that meets your lanaguage ability and their resources. As such, you should not list a location preference anywhere in your application materials.
If you have questions about what language you want to study, you can always discuss this with our office staff by requesting an appointment.
Once you have your language selected, it's time to open an application.