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 and applicants to the General track Africa Program must test at the superior level in any language other than English as well. Applicants are welcome to test in their native language provided it is not English.
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 only”. If you have any questions about scheduling the OPI please contact LTI by phone at +1-914-963-7110 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click through to the Important Dates & Deadlines page of this website for Admissions 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 at 1-800-486-8444.
- 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:
Language Instruction and Testing
Lauder currently supports instruction in the languages listed below, but applicants with proficiency in other languages are welcome to apply. 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.
|Programs of Concentration
|Languages of Instruction
|East Asia and Southeast Asia
|Italian *New in 2024*
|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:
For those applying to one of the regional Programs of Concentration (Africa; Europe, East and Southeast Asia; Latin America; or South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa), applicants must test at least at the Advanced-Low level on the OPI. Students will be required to take courses in their target language at Lauder until they reach the Superior level. Students who reach the Superior level after the summer immersion (which includes five weeks of intensive language immersion) have the option of taking electives relevant to their Program of Concentration in lieu of language. These students are also welcome to continue their study of their target language as credit toward the degree. Please note: there is no admission advantage given to a student who tests above an Advanced-Low level.
Educated native speakers of Romance languages* [such as French, Italian, Spanish] will be considered for the Latin America/Portuguese program without prior knowledge of Portuguese. These applicants should test in their native language and are required to submit a Superior-level OPI rating for that language. In addition, educated native speaker applicants who speak some Portuguese should take an OPI in Portuguese even if the expected rating is at or below Advanced.
Educated native speakers in Romance languages* [such as French, Portuguese, Spanish] will be considered for the Europe/Italian program without prior knowledge of Italian. These applicants should test in their native language and are required to submit a Superior-level OPI rating for that language. In addition, educated native speaker applicants who speak some Italian should take an OPI in Italian even if the expected rating is at or below Advanced.
*A person who speaks that particular language as a first language AND whose formal education was delivered in that language through high school.
For applicants to Lauder’s General Track Africa Program of Concentration:
Candidates applying to the General track Africa Program must demonstrate Superior-level proficiency on the OPI in any language other than English. Applicants may test in their native language provided it is not English.
For applicants to Lauder’s Global Program of Concentration:
Candidates applying to the Global Program must demonstrate Superior-level proficiency on the OPI in any language. Applicants may test in their native language provided it is not English.
OPI Dates and Deadlines
The OPI may be completed any time after July 1 to count for the upcoming admissions cycle, but it must be completed by respective round deadline in which you are applying. OPI ratings are valid for a single application cycle, and reapplicants to the Lauder program will need to retake the OPI(s).
Be sure to schedule your OPI well in advance.