9 Reasons to Study Latin

1

Universities value Latin students among applicants.

See what 'gatekeepers' to top colleges say about the benefits of Latin:

“There are so few students learning Latin these days that it can help college applicants. We definitely pay attention…Latin can end up tipping the student into the class.”

William Fitzsimmons

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions & Financial Aid

“A background in Latin provides students with a stronger English vocabulary. Open any SAT prep book and you will see a crash course in Latin in the vocab section.”

Andrea Thomas

Assistant Dean of Admission,

Hamilton College

“The study of Roman culture which typically accompanies Latin study informs the study of any Western literature, art, or culture as well…If Latin were dead, every Western culture and language would be also bereft of life.”

Matthew Potts

Admissions Counselor

“We consider students who study Latin seriously (with strong, steady performance) to be excellent candidates for Bryn Mawr.”

Elizabeth Mosier

Acting Director of Admissions,

Bryn Mawr College

“Latin trains abstract thinking, provides a key to all modern Romance languages, is a model for interdisciplinary study (language, history, culture) and can be a lot of fun.”

Michael C. Behnke

Vice President for Enrollment

“We value the study of Latin very highly, at least on par with other languages.”

Steve LeMenager

Director of Admission

& Associate Dean,

Princeton University

2

Latin significantly increases verbal scores on standardized tests.

The analytical and problem solving scores, often associated closely with math skills, also increase significantly among Latin students.

  • SAT

    According to a study conducted by the College Board, Latin students consistently scored the highest among all other language and non-language learners and increased an average of 162 points on the SAT verbal score in two separate studies, 2002-2009 and 1996-2002.

  • GRE

    Latin majors consistently scored the highest in the GRE verbal section out of all 270 majors in two separate studies conducted by the ETS, 2005-2008 and 1999-2002. Latin majors also scored higher in the GRE math section than all other language majors.

  • LSAT

    Pepperdine Law School Professor Derek Muller conducted a study comparing the average LSAT score and college GPA for all entering law school students. College students studying Latin and Greek scored the highest in both categories, with an average LSAT score of 159.8 and college GPA of 3.477.

  • MCAT

    The Department of Biology at Creighton University conducted a study on acceptance rates at medical schools. College students studying Latin and Greek scored the highest on the MCAT verbal section, higher on the MCAT biology section than chemistry majors, and higher on both MCAT biology and physics sections than biology majors. Latin and Greek majors also entered medical school with the highest acceptance rate of 50%.

3

Latin students show great improvement in the understanding of the English language.

English derives 60% of its words, and 90% of those words consisting of more than two syllables, from Latin. Also, many students find it easier to learn more complex grammatical concepts in Latin and then apply them to English.

4

Latin is the next step after phonics.

Here’s the problem. The child has learned the English word for father, but then as he progresses through school he meets a whole new set of words: 3-5 syllable, difficult, abstract words that come from the Latin word for father: pater, patris. Students today are not prepared for these abstract words. 

 

Latin continues the systematic study of English throughout elementary school, right when children need it, right when they are encountering thousands of new words and building their vocabulary and reading skills. Latin continues the study of the Latin half of English vocabulary in an orderly way and teaches the children the history of words.

5

Five modern Romance languages call Latin their parent language.

Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, and Portuguese derive more than 80% of the words which make up their vocabulary from Latin. Their grammatical structure is also much more similar to Latin than English. Consider the number of nations who claim one of these as their official language: French – 27; Spanish – 20; Italian, Portuguese, Romanian – 10.

6

Latin provides the root words for all of the modern sciences.

All of the modern sciences began their development at the time of the Renaissance (about 500 years ago) when all educated people knew Latin and Greek. All scientific terms came from the ancient classical languages. Latin is the best preparation for students to help them master the tremendous demands of learning the specialized vocabularies of the sciences in high school and college.

7

Latin is the language of law, government, and logic.

While a large number of words in science come from Greek, all legal terms are Latin. The Romans excelled in the practical arts of law and government, and it is from them that we derive our legal and political language. Although logic was first explained by Aristotle in Greek, it was really developed and systematized by the Schoolmen in the Middle Ages in Latin.

8

Latin is a key to unlocking the past.

Through the writings of Cicero, Caesar, Livy, and others we learn so much about the world of ancient Rome and Greece, a world which has greatly affected our own.


The list of Greco-Roman influences on modern America could go on indefinitely, but must include art, architecture, music, and literature among government and politics. The ancient past is not far removed from our modern lives, but instead is quite close and relevant.

 

9

People who influence the world today have studied Latin.

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

British author, film producer, television producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist best known as author of the Harry Potter series

Theodor Seuss Geisel

Theodor Seuss Geisel

American children's author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, screenwriter, and filmmaker best known for his work writing and illustrating more than 60 books under the pen name Dr. Seuss

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

American novelist, essayist, book editor, college professor and winner of the Noble Peace Price in Literature

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

American internet entrepreneur and philanthropist best known as the co-creator of Facebook

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud

Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.

C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis

British writer and lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University and Cambridge University.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy.

Ted Turner

Ted Turner

American media proprietor, producer, and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the Cable News Network, the first 24-hour cable news channel. In addition, he founded WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television, which later became TBS.

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

British politician, writer, and former journalist who has served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party since July 2019.

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.

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