For 21% of the homes in America, English isn't the first language spoken. This presents a wide variety of challenges in everyday life, from navigating the subtleties of spoken language to needing help with translating written material. Attending college when English isn't your first language can be even more difficult.

Break the Stereotype

Some people assume that because people who didn't learn English as their first language aren't able to communicate clearly, they aren't as intelligent as their English-speaking peers--when in fact, the opposite is often true. People who speak two or more languages have higher cognitive brain function, perform better when multitasking, and are adept at solving problems. Break that stereotype and be prepared to show your school and your peers just how smart you really are!

Choose Your Major Carefully

What really interests you? What are you good at? Chances are, if English isn't your first language, a career as an English literature teacher might not be your best choice. Choosing your major with care, however, will allow you to showcase your strengths without being trapped by language barriers and other common issues. A major that allows you to use more hands-on or visual learning, instead of listening to lectures where subtleties can be lost in translation, could be a better choice for you. A school with an emphasis on English as a second language, like the Interactive College of Technology, for example, is an excellent choice for anyone who is not a native English speaker.

Pay Attention to How a Field is Organized

Take a close look at the field before you choose it as a major. How are classes structured? Will you get plenty of hands-on learning opportunities and small group interaction where the language barrier will be less of an issue, or will you find yourself trapped in a lecture hall on a regular basis? A program that allows you access to the materials, technology, and people you'll interact with in your daily life will be of great benefit, while a lecture-based program may be more difficult.

College is a highly rewarding experience for people from a variety of backgrounds. Whether you're the first generation of your family to attend college or you're following a long line of college-educated professionals, your experience will be unique. Once you learn to navigate your school, however, you'll find that there's nothing holding you back. A supportive faculty and a program designed to help with your needs will enable you to succeed beyond your expectations and make the most of your college experience.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.