How to Apply to Intensive English Programs

Making the Leap: Applying to Intensive English
Programs in the United States

The hard part is done, congratulations! You’ve decided to come to the United States and dive head-first into an intensive English program and you’ve narrowed down a list of your favorite programs. After comparing the hundreds of available options, you have now spent countless hours reading about class offerings, student life, tuition, field excursions, the weather, on-campus housing, and much more. But wait—how do you actually apply?

Prospective international students interested in intensive English programs in the US should plan to start the application process several months before their preferred program start date. Some schools offer rolling admissions with priority application deadlines, while others may have strict deadlines with waitlists for those who miss the deadline.

The Process is Different for each school, but here are the most common steps to apply:

1.

Submit the ESL school’s application form and application fee. The fee could range from $30 to $150.

2.

Submit an F-1 Visa Application: Your chosen ESL school will provide the I-20 form necessary for the visa. You will likely need to visit the US embassy in your home country for a visa interview. You will also need a photo, a valid passport, and $160 for the application fee. The visa will be valid for the duration of your ESL program, plus an extra 60 days. Boston School of Modern Languages offers some insightful tips on the visa application process.

3.

Show proof of financial stability. This may include a bank statement or a letter from your parents that states they will support you if you run out of money in the US.

4.

Because intensive English programs are very fast-paced, you may need proof of basic English proficiency through an official entrance exam or the school’s own English placement skills assessment. This depends on if your intensive ESL program is designed for beginners, or if the program requires a certain level of English to be admitted. At Eastern Washington University, for example, no TOEFL exam is required, but students take a placement test that includes a 10-minute oral interview and a reading and writing test.

5.

Other logistics. Be sure to leave time for booking your flights and arranging things like student housing, meals, and healthcare. Language Pacifica outlines its recommended homestay, hotel, and apartment options for prospective students. Heading to New York or Minnesota in winter? It might be time to invest in a good winter coat and snow boots!

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Submit the ESL school’s application form and application fee. The fee could range from $30 to $150.

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Submit an F-1 Visa Application: Your chosen ESL school will provide the I-20 form necessary for the visa. You will likely need to visit the US embassy in your home country for a visa interview. You will also need a photo, a valid passport, and $160 for the application fee. The visa will be valid for the duration of your ESL program, plus an extra 60 days. Boston School of Modern Languages offers some insightful tips on the visa application process.

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Show proof of financial stability. This may include a bank statement or a letter from your parents that says they will support you if you run out of money in the US.

img4

Because intensive English programs are very fast-paced, you may need proof of basic English proficiency through an official entrance exam or the school’s own English placement skills assessment. This depends on if your intensive ESL program is designed for beginners, or if the program requires a certain level of English to be admitted. At Eastern Washington University, for example, no TOEFL exam is required, but students take a placement test that includes a 10-minute oral interview and a reading and writing test.

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Other logistics. Be sure to leave time for booking your flights and figuring arranging things like student housing, meals, and healthcare. Language Pacifica outlines its recommended homestay, hotel, and apartment options for prospective students. Heading to New York or Minnesota in winter? It might be time to invest in a good winter coat and snow boots!

ESL schools often have designated staff to help answer your questions and ensure you have a great experience. Don’t hesitate to email the schools you’re interested in several months in advance to ask them questions. Many schools, such as the University of Mississippi, have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that addresses common questions prospective students may have. You can even ask if you may contact current ESL students from your home country to learn more about their experiences.

Schools With Excellent Intensive English Programs:

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Rowan University

Intensive English Language Program

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California State University, Sonoma

Sonoma State American Language Institute (SSALI)

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University of Mississippi

Intensive English Program

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University of Connecticut

American English Language Institute

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Concordia Language Villages

English Language Village

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University of Denver

English Language Institute

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Northeastern Illinois University

English Language Program

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College of the Desert

Intensive English Academy

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Old Dominion University

English Language Center

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Boston School of Modern Languages

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Eastern Washington University

English Language Institute

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CUNY – Hunter College

International English Language Institute

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University of Missouri

Center for English Language Learning

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Language Pacifica

Intensive English Program

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