Trinity has a second-language foundation requirement. The goal is to ensure that all students have foundational knowledge of a language other than English. We want you to be able to communicate successfully in a society that is becoming ever more global and diverse.

What You Need to Know About the Second-Language Foundation Requirement

Please read carefully and consider which of the six options (numbered 1 through 6 below) you plan to choose to meet this requirement for your graduation.

Scenario 1: You have already met this requirement before enrolling at Trinity.

This is the case if you:

  1. demonstrate the requisite knowledge on the Trinity-administered Language Proficiency Examination that is given on-campus during Orientation in August as well as in the fall and spring before pre-registration, or
  2. provide the Registrar’s Office with official certification that you have attained the indicated score for a foreign language on any of the following standardized tests: SAT II (600 or above), Advanced Placement (4 or 5), International Baccalaureate Higher Level Examination (5, 6, or 7), or United Kingdom “A” Level General Certificate Examination (grade of A, B, or C); or provide the Registrar’s Office with official certification that you have attained the indicated score in any subject on the French Baccalaureate (12-20), German Abitur (7-15), or Swiss Matura (5 or 6), or
  3. successfully completed a minimum of one year of study at a secondary school at which the language of instruction was a language other than English, as certified by an official transcript from the school (usually submitted as part of the student’s application for admission to Trinity), or
  4. are an international student whose primary language is not English, or
  5. are a transfer or IDP student who has taken the appropriate college-level courses in a language other than English as an undergraduate student at another institution. The Registrar’s Office will review the course(s) and grade(s) on your official transcript and determine if you have fulfilled the second language requirement in consultation with the chairperson of the Department of Language and Culture Studies.

Scenario 2: You are going to meet this requirement by taking courses at Trinity.

Here you have two options:

6. If you prefer to meet the requirement by means of a language you studied in secondary school for more than one year, you will be required to complete study in that language through the 201 level, or in Latin 203, beginning at the appropriate level as determined by the results of a placement or proficiency examination. If you have taken three or more years of a language in high school, you will not be allowed to enroll in the 101-level course, even if your placement test result is 101, without explicit permission from the language section head or chair of the Language and Culture Studies Department and, in the case of Latin, the chair of the Classics Department. If you are given permission to begin with 101, you will need to complete the sequence 101, 102, 201 (or in Latin 221). In the case where you begin with 102, you must complete 102 and 201 (or in Latin, 221).NOTE: If you took the language in high school for more than one year and took the courses in high school more than 4 years before enrolling at Trinity, they you may be able to fulfill the second language requirement by completing 101 and 102 in that same language. Your placement is decided in consultation with the chairperson of the Department of Language and Culture Studies.

7. If you prefer to fulfill the requirement by means of a language you have not studied previously (or studied for at most one year in school), you will be required to take two introductory courses in the language (numbered 101 and 102).

Be aware of one additional stipulation: Only language courses in which the student receives a letter grade of at least C- may be counted toward fulfillment of this requirement.

Finally a word of advice: Plan your language courses early in your college career to avoid time conflicts with other courses required for your major at a later stage. Language classes can help you structure and maintain a daily routine, which can be very helpful in your hectic first year. They can also help you anchor your place in college by building close relationships both with the instructor and with your classmates. Language skills open new doors and prepare you to take advantage of study-abroad opportunities.

Who needs to take the online self-placement exam?

  • Anyone who wants to continue studying a language in which they have previous experience and wants to know what level is appropriate for them.
  • If you plan to start a language you have never studied before, you do not need to take the placement or proficiency exam. Just register for the 101 course in the language that interests you.

When should one take the online self-placement exam?

  • Please take the online self-placement exam by June 12, before you submit your course selection form. Your placement in an appropriate course will be confirmed once you take the placement exam. The placement exam is only one factor in determining placement; for some students changes will need to occur during add/drop period at the beginning of the semester.
  • Be sure to be prepared before starting the exam because you may only take it once per language. If you attempt to take the same exam more than once, only your first score will be recorded.
  • Exams are untimed, but for your planning purposes, they are designed to take approximately 30 minutes.

Who needs to take the on-campus proficiency exam?

  • Anyone who hopes to test out of the second language requirement and does not qualify under options 2, 3, or 4 above.
  • Anyone who wants to continue studying a language in which they have previous experience and wants to know what level is appropriate and did not take the online self-placement exam.

When can one take the on-campus proficiency exam?

  • Proficiency exams are offered on-campus four times per year – during Orientation, and in January, October, and March.
  • If you indicated on the Second Language questionnaire that you wish to take the second language proficiency exam at Trinity, you will receive information in August about scheduling your on-campus exam via your Trinity e-mail account.
    • Please email Lidija Petrus if you are interested in taking the proficiency exam at Trinity, and did not indicate so on the form.
  • Students can take the test no more than two times once they are on campus and only once in a given semester. The highest score (of multiple possible attempts) will count for placement and/or for proficiency, although advising transcripts will indicate all test scores. Students may not enroll in a course whose level does not correspond to their proficiency level as assessed by the placement exam without the permission of the course instructor or program head.

Second Language Placement and Proficiency Exam Policy

Students can take the on-campus proficiency exam no more than two times once they are on campus and only once in a given semester. The highest score (of multiple possible attempts) will count for placement and/or for proficiency, although advising transcripts will indicate all test scores. Students may not enroll in a course whose level does not correspond to their proficiency level as assessed by the placement and/or proficiency exam without the permission of the course instructor or program head.

Students will have the opportunity to take the exam four (4) times a year.

Contact information:

Arabic Kifah Hanna Seabury Hall S-004 ​kifah.hanna@trincoll.edu
Chinese Grace Wang Seabury Hall S-101 juichien.wang@trincoll.edu
French Sara Kippur Seabury Hall S-116 sara.kippur@trincoll.edu
​German Johannes Evelein ​Seabury Tower 214 ​johannes.evelein@trincoll.edu
Hebrew Michal Ayalon Seabury Hall S-006 michal.ayalon@trincoll.edu
Italian ​Dario Del Puppo Seabury Hall S-112 dario.delpuppo@trincoll.edu
Japanese Katsuya Izumi Seabury Hall S-003 Katsuya.Izumi@trincoll.edu
Latin ​Meredith Safran Seabury Tower 212 ​meredith.safran@trincoll.edu
Ancient Greek Vincent Tomasso Seabury Tower 213 vincent.tomasso@trincoll.edu
Russian Katherine Lahti Seabury Hall S-005 katherine.lahti@trincoll.edu
Spanish Aidalí Aponte-Avilés Seabury Hall S-016 aidali.aponteaviles@trincoll.edu