2 years ago
Admissions Advice

How impressive of an EC is learning Chinese to near-fluency?

I’ve spent an average of 20-30 hours a week, every week for about the past two years, learning Mandarin Chinese (as someone with no cultural/ethnic connection to the language).

Now coming into my senior year, I only read books, watch shows, and listen to content in the language. I’ve also used my proficiency as a base to write paid and free articles about language learning and co-found a leading resource (~10k monthly visits) for learners at the intermediate+ stage. This fall I’ll be taking and hopefully passing the highest level of a proficiency test of Chinese for foreign speakers.

This is something I’ve put a lot of time and effort into, but there are obviously other applicants who are fluent a decade ahead of me just because of their family background. Additionally, I’ve been taking (beginner’s, the only level available) Chinese at school for about a year. Is my EC still something of a ‘spike’ despite those factors?

As a final note, plan to apply for CS to some of the more competitive unis, but believe this EC shows well-roundedness at the least, though it is not directly related to my planned major.

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1 answer

2 years ago

That’s really impressive! Learning a language is difficult already, but the fact that you decided to pursue it on your own time is really great. It shows that you’re driven and open to new things, and that you’re a hard worker.

Being proficient in multiple languages is also really great so you’re able to communicate with others.

This is a great EC to put on your college apps, and you could also talk about how this has helped you/will help you in life. Maybe you want to go to China for a study abroad program in university? Being proficient in a language could also get you out of your foreign language requirement, depending on the college.

Even if it doesn’t end up being the end all be all factor of your college apps, it’s still a great success and you should be proud of yourself!

Good luck!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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