The Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

About the OPI

The OPI is a live 20-30 minute conversation that takes place over the phone between a trained, certified ACTFL tester and the candidate. The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for the OPI range from Novice to Distinguished.

Language Expectation for Admission to Lauder

Every applicant to the Lauder Institute – whether to the MBA/MA or the JD/MA program – is required to submit an OPI, with the option to submit more than one. The minimum OPI for admission to Lauder is Advanced Low. If applicants score lower than an Advanced Low, they are welcome and encouraged to retake the OPI to achieve the minimum rating. Applicants who test in their native language (when that language is not English) are expected to score at the Superior-level or higher. Students are required to demonstrate a Superior-level prior to graduation. Global Program applicants must test superior in one language other than English at the time of application

Scheduling an OPI

To schedule an OPI, complete and submit LTI’s online application. When scheduling with LTI, please be sure to register as a Lauder applicant. Click through to the Important Dates & Deadlines page of this website for OPI start dates and deadlines.

Important information regarding the OPI:

  • You must submit the OPI score by the related OPI deadline for the round you are applying in.
  • Applicants who want to retake the OPI or obtain an test date earlier than what can be scheduled online should contact LTI directly via phone.
  • You do not need to obtain a certificate indicating your proficiency from LTI. You only need to have an online score reported which the Lauder admissions office can access directly. (The online reporting score is less expensive.)

Sample Recordings of the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

Sample OPI clips at the Advanced level:

Sample OPI clips at the Superior level:

Testable Languages

Supported and Related Languages

Lauder supports instruction in the languages listed in the first column. Applicants applying to a regional Program of Concentration must indicate a target language at the time of application and must reach Superior-level proficiency in that language to graduate. The languages of instruction column below indicates the in-language focus of the summer immersion, though we may select candidates with other language backgrounds if it aligns with the regional or global Program of Concentration.


Region Languages of Instruction Also related
Africa French
Latin America Portuguese
East Asia Chinese
Europe French
Global All languages welcome.
South Asia, the Middle East,
and North Africa

Choosing a Language for the OPI

Applicants should choose to test in a language in which they have high proficiency. Their choice of language should also be related to their chosen Program of Concentration.

For applicants to one of Lauder’s five regional Programs of Concentration:

Upon admission or by graduation, students who choose one of Lauder’s five (5) regional Programs of Concentration (Africa; Latin America; East and Southeast Asia; Europe; South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa) must show Superior-level proficiency in a language spoken in or highly relevant to their region. If a candidate tests at the Superior level in a regional language as part of the application process, he or she will not be required to study a language at Lauder. During the summer immersion program and in Philadelphia, students in this category will focus on international studies topics; instruction will be in English. These students are also welcome to continue their study of a language supported at Lauder as credit toward the degree. Applicants who score at or above Advanced Low, but lower than Superior, on a regional language will be required to study a Lauder language appropriate to their region of focus. Applicants may test in their native language provided it is appropriate to the region. Please note: there is no admission advantage given to a student who tests Superior in a preferred language versus a language that is not taught at Lauder.

For applicants to Lauder’s Global Program of Concentration: 

Candidates applying to the Global Program must demonstrate Superior-level proficiency in any language, whether it is taught at Lauder or it is simply accepted for admission. Applicants may test in their native language provided it is not English. There is no admission advantage given to a student who tests in a preferred language versus a language that is not taught at Lauder.

Language Instruction Requirements

All students pursing one of the regional Programs of Concentration must enter Lauder with their language abilities at least at the Advanced Low level. Students studying language as part of their coursework at Lauder must take language classes until they reach the Superior level. Students in the Global program must be at the Superior level in at least one language other than English upon applying.

The Lauder Institute treats the study of language as an essential basis for acquiring knowledge and understanding the world. The Lauder Institute’s language instructors are experts in teaching students who wish to use their intercultural knowledge and communication skills in a business context. Language courses are rich in relevant content, making language instruction not a supplement to the Lauder program but an integral part of it.

For questions on the OPI, please contact Marcy Bevan or Kara Keenan Sweeney.

Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

Dates and Deadlines

The OPI may be completed any time after July 1, 2017 to count for the current admissions cycle, but it must be completed by October 1, 2017 for Round 1 applicants or January 17, 2018 for Round 2 applicants.