EC's/Foreign Language "Recommendations"

<p>The vast majority of Ivy League schools recommend 4 years of a foreign language. Is that a loose recommendation, or is that really a requirement? My guidance counselor didn't make me aware of this last year when I left my Japanese class for AP Music Theory. If 4 years of a foreign language is really necessary to compete with the applicants at top schools, is there any amount of EC work or APs that could make up for that? An extraordinary number of leadership positions, volunteer work, major music competition wins, 5s on many AP exams I haven't taken classes for, stellar recommendations from high school teachers with PhDs and a doctor on the board of trustees at Columbia, etc?</p>