Question: My son is doing IB diploma and is an international student looking to get admission in MIT, Stanford or other Ivy league colleges for Engineering. He is an outstanding student and a keen basketball player representing his school in under 19 team and plays drums. We are confident he will score full marks - seven, in his IB diploma in his three higher level subjects - Physics, Chemistry and Maths, and will also score a seven in Economics at standard level. He has taken Mandarin as a second language and we think he will get a six in that. He doesn't do too well in English (relatively) - may be five. He hasn't done a SAT yet. So if you exclude English he will have an outstanding score and his overall score may only come down because of English. Similarly his overall SAT may come down only because of English? Do you think MIT/Stanford/Ivy league colleges will accept his relatively modest score in English as compared to outstanding score in all other subjects including Mandarin and his overall strong application?

If English is not your son's first language, U.S. admission officials will give him some "wiggle room" on his English grades and test results, assuming that his TOEFL score indicates that he is proficient enough to handle the work load at a highly competitive institution.

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