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Hey all--I could use your advice.

I was just waitlisted from a comparative literature program. The graduate director informed me that the committee loved my application but was a bit hesitant about the fact that i've never done any graduate work in non English languages (even though I am trilingual). I've already graduated so it's a little late for me to enroll in any non-English classes. In the event I do not get into any school and must reapply next year, does anyone have any suggestions for things I can do that might demonstrate my language abilities for my applications?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Congrats on getting waitlisted! Hopefully that works out and you don't have to worry about reworking your application.

If, however, you do end up needing to reapply, I can think of at least a couple things that might be helpful. One would be to deal with a non-English language text in your writing sample and cite from the original. If you can demonstrate that you can use foreign language texts in your academic work, that should assuage any fears about your preparedness to produce scholarship in comparative literature. Another idea would be to make sure that at least one of your letters of recommendations is from a professor who can speak to your language competencies (or at least your competency in your primary foreign language). 

I would think that these steps should mitigate concerns about your language skills. The one exception to this might be if it is a department that will expect you to teach language classes. If that's the case, the aforementioned steps might be insufficient. In this case, a detailed history of your language education and time spent abroad might be something you'd want to add to your CV. 

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You could prove proficiency by taking an official exam in one of your languages. French has the DELF/DALF, Spanish has the DELE Cervantes etc. The Oral Proficiency (OPI) exam is offered in a lot of languages too.

That would prove only comprehension, though. I second Glasperlenspieler's suggestions to prove you can tackle a text in a foreign language in the academic sense.

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