Are you considering enrolling in an English as a Second Language
(ESL) program? There are many options:
- A language school;
- A program affiliated with and operated by a college
- A program operated by a company or public agency, which is
conducting language courses at a boarding school, college or
- Adult education centers; and
- Non-profit organizations offering English lessons for immigrants.
If you are thinking about attending a four-year academic program
in this country, consider an ESL program at a college or university.
The ESL programs affiliated with colleges or universities are
generally designed to help improve students' language proficiency
so they may officially enroll in college courses.
These programs may administer their own proficiency examinations
in order to determine a student's English language skills.
Whatever school you select, make sure it is accredited. To learn
more, click here.
Acceptance Policies and Visas
Some private language schools do not require foreign individuals
to have a student visa (F-1) if they adhere to the pertinent INS
regulations for their visa status.
However, individuals who do not have student status, including
individuals visiting the US on a tourist visa, may have to limit
their enrollment to a certain number of hours of instruction per
Many private language schools are legally authorized to issue
I-20s to foreign students who wish to enroll in a full-time course
If you plan to attend a program authorized to issue I-20s --
such as a program affiliated with a college or university -- you
may be required to submit the following documents in addition
to your application form:
- A copy of your certificate, diploma or degree and your school
- A standardized test score showing your current English proficiency
- A current bank statement or other proof of financial support.
Since many private language schools do not grant degrees, they
may have relatively few acceptance requirements. Students of all
ages and levels of English proficiency are usually able to enroll.
Proficiency testing often takes place after the student has arrived
at the school.