Is Speaking Multiple Languages an Ivy League Hook?

Question: Hi, I would like to know something for Ivy League schools; would I a be considered as a competitive applicant if I could speak (and write…) in 4 languages, would that make me standout?

While “The Dean" certainly envies your ability to speak four languages, these days it won't make you a stand-out in Ivy admission offices. There are many students who apply to the most sought-after US colleges and universities who came of age across cultures and can transition fluidly from one tongue to the next. There are also countless stay-at-home students who are language buffs and have thus acquired fluency though classes and self-study.

However, admission committees might be quite interested in the specific languages you speak and how you learned them, if they are uncommon ones. If you grew up in a diplomatic household or, conversely, as an immigrant or refugee or if you have some other atypical story to tell, this could help you to stand out in a crowd.

But, unlike the (very) old days when “The Dean" was in high school, being a polyglot today is commendable and could serve you well throughout your life, but it usually won't provide an inside track to an elite college.

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