Will spending a lot of time on this be worth it when applying for Ivy Leagues?

<p>So, first off, I am new to this forum and hope this is the right subforum to post this question under. Regardless, I am a freshman in high school and I have recently been very obsessive about doing everything I can to improve my chances with the Ivy Leagues, many of which have seen consecutively declining admission rates. But now, for my question:</p>

<p>I remember hearing about a kid who learned, by himself, 7 languages. He made it to Harvard, and the guy who was talking about him called this a much-needed "wow factor." And, really, it is. I already know English and plan on taking Spanish for my 4 years in high school, but have started learning French on my own time. I know that learning a language properly takes a lot of time, and more so learning several languages within the next 3 or so years, so may I ask, is it worth it to spend a lot of my free time self-learning languages?</p>

<p>You see, the thing is that I enjoy and feel good learning a new language by myself, and I think it will help me in several ways. So please do answer with your HONEST thoughts, and if you can answer one more question: Do the applications for most colleges ask how many languages you know? </p>

<p>Thanks, and please answer.</p>

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You see, the thing is that I enjoy and feel good learning a new language by myself, and I think it will help me in several ways.

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<p>This is the thing--the only thing--that would make learning languages on your own worth doing.</p>

<p>A lot of smart, talented, ambitious kids your age set their sights on Ivies or similarly selective institutions at the beginning of high school. That's OK, but be realistic. All of these institutions, as you know, reject far more applicants than they accept. So don't "fetishize" them, as another frequent CC poster is fond of saying; don't allow yourself to get to the point where you're saying, "I just have to go to Princeton [or Columbia, or Harvard, or...]. It's the perfect place for me, and nothing else could possibly be as good."</p>

<p>Keep your mind open. There are more than just 8 phenomenal institutions of higher learning in this country, where highly accomplished professors and fascinating classmates can challenge you, and where you can have an educational experience that is literally life-changing. Go ahead and aim high. That's good. But realize that when you aim high, sometimes you miss your target. The reason why aiming high is good is that if you do miss the target, you're likely to hit something else that is at a similar elevation, so to speak. And, maybe even more important than that, that you'll have challenged and improved yourself from the effort it took to aim.</p>

<p>The other thing I'd say is that it's never worth it to undertake a project or activity specifically so you can get into [insert name of selective institution here]. Your motive usually shows through. Do things because you like to do them, or because you find them personally enriching, or because they benefit others. But do them for some reason that isn't as mercenary as looking good to colleges. Doing things for those other reasons usually does look good to colleges, and, ironically, doing them because they'll look good to colleges usually does not.</p>

<p>The Ivies are pretty good at deciphering whether your ECs are for passion - or a planned ploy/'hook' to get into their schools. In other words: pursue what you love.</p>