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San Francisco State University (SFSU)

American Language Institute (ALI) [San Francisco, California]


  • TOEFL Waivers and Special Admission to SFSU for Qualified Students
  • Two Institutional TOEFL testings each semester
  • Enjoy the mild climate, beauty and international atmosphere of San Francisco, "America's Favorite City"
  • Information
    • About the ESL Program
    • The American Language Institute (ALI) of San Francisco State University is one of the oldest and most respected intensive English programs in the country. Since 1961, the ALI has been offering a serious program of language training that emphasizes academic skills and university preparation to students from all around the world.
      San Francisco is known as "America's Favorite City," famous for its great beauty and tremendous mix of people from so many cultures. San Francisco is also the center of the technology world with multinational corporations, start-up ventures and social media companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Uber, Yelp, Pinterest, Airbnb, Zynga and many more nearby.
      The ALI program will give you the skills and strategies you need to succeed in an American university.
      ALI teachers are very well-prepared and enthusiastic about teaching and they really love their students. Every week, you will learn:
      • reading and writing strategies to help you write effective essays and read and analyze articles
      • listening and speaking strategies to help you understand university lectures, give presentations, and participate in class discussions
      • grammar that will improve your speaking and writing
      • content in electives such as American Culture, American Literature, and Business English.
      The ALI also offers supplemental TOEFL Preparation courses on Fridays for a small fee.

      As an ALI student, you can:
      • Use all SF campus facilities including sports facilities, restaurants, the library, and computer labs.
      • Join ALI social activities, such as playing and watching sports, museum visits, and movies.
      • Participate in the Conversation Partner program, which pairs you with an American university student for informal conversation.
      • Visit our full-time advising staff if you need help with immigration, academic and personal problems.
    • DATA
    • Type : Public University
      Establishment : 1961
      Membership/Accreditation : UCIEP, EnglishUSA
      Enrollment : 250
      Average Class Size : 16
      Student Adviser : Available
      Airport Pickup : Not Available
      Internet Access : Available On-Campus
      Tuition : Low
      Activities : Frequently Available
      Location : Urban
      Transportation : Bus, Train, Taxi, Streetcar
    • A Message from School
    • Welcome to the American Language Institute (ALI) at San Francisco State University. I am happy to welcome you to our profile on ApplyESL.com. The ALI is a world-famous English language program that has been on the campus of San Francisco State University since 1961. The ALI is known for its effective teaching, excellent teachers, and outstanding student services. Our teachers are all trained in the university’s well-respected program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, so they use the most up-to-date teaching methods and materials. The ALI language program will give you the preparation you need to succeed with English in a college or university. Our program will also prepare you to use English in a workplace. We also have an advising staff here to help you with academic, immigration, and health questions. Our advisors will assist you with your application to San Francisco State University or another college or university. In addition, with the ALI Activities Program, you can visit many wonderful places in beautiful San Francisco and you’ll have many chances to practice your English and have fun with classmates and Americans. We are very pleased that when students finish their studies at the ALI, they always tell us that they feel ready and excited to start using English in an American classroom with American students. I hope you consider applying to the American Language Institute at San Francisco State University. You too can become part of this exciting and dynamic community. Best wishes. I hope to see you soon.
      Saroj Quinn
      Director, Global Engagement
      San Francisco State University (SFSU)
    • American Language Institute (ALI)
      San Francisco State University

      1600 Holloway Avenue
      San Francisco, California  94132  U.S.A.
      TEL: +1 (415) 338-1438
      FAX: +1 (415) 338-1717
      E-mail: ali@sfsu.edu
      Website: http://ali.sfsu.edu/
  • More Details
    • Student Countries of Origin
    • The American Language Institute hosts 250 students from more than 25 different countries around the world every year.
    • Faculty Qualifications
    • American Language Institute instructors are highly-qualified, experienced professionals who also teach in the University's department of English. Many ALI faculty members are internationally-recognized for their ESL-related textbooks, articles and research, and are consulted for their expertise and experience in the ESL field.
    • Housing
    • Students have the option to live in on-campus dormitories. Students living on-campus will be close to classes, campus activities, and other students – both American and international. It’s important to apply early for on-campus housing. It is the students' responsibility to make their individual housing arrangements either if they choose to live off-campus. The ALI will provide students with information about available housing options; however, the ALI office cannot make students' housing arrangements. For more information, use the Contact Address to ask the school directly.
    • Surrounding Area
    • SFSU's 90-acred campus is only 1 mile from the Pacific Ocean and is ideally situated in the southwestern area of "America's Favorite City," San Francisco. Celebrated for its beauty, mild climate and sophistication, San Francisco’s hilly streets provide gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay and its famous bridges, including the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco is home to a variety of cultures and ethnicities, encouraging both visitors and residents alike to explore diverse neighborhoods such as vibrant Chinatown, the Italian quarter of North Beach and popular Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco's many entertainment and cultural attractions appeals to all tastes and preferences, from visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, watching the San Francisco Ballet and enjoying the San Francisco Symphony to cheering on San Francisco's professional football, baseball, hockey and basketball teams. A trip across the Golden Gate Bridge will take you to beautiful Muir Woods National Monument, the "best tree-lovers monument" in the world, the famous wine country of Napa and Sonoma, and picturesque beaches and hiking trails. For outstanding camping, hiking and climbing excursions, spectacular Yosemite National Park is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from San Francisco.
    • About the College/University
    • Founded in 1899, San Francisco State University (SFSU) is one of the twelve campuses of the California State University System. SFSU's urban, park-like campus is home to more than 25,000 graduate and undergraduate students, including 1,400 international students, and 1,700 faculty members. SFSU offers its students bachelor's degrees in 166 areas of specialization and master's degrees in 95 areas. Students are actively involved in 170 clubs and organizations and operate a television and radio station, as well as publish a student newspaper and a literary magazine. As a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), SFSU has a strong athletic program consisting of 16 men and women teams. SFSU students can attend athlectic events free-of-charge by using their Student ID card. Intramural sports are also popular on-campus. Every fall and spring semester, students join basketball, volleyball, swimming, water polo, flag football and tennis teams and participate in on-campus tournaments.
    • Conditional Admission / Credit Courses
    • Special admission to San Francisco State University is provided for qualified ALI students, and all ALI students receive substantial assistance in applying to colleges and universities. Two possible TOEFL waivers for admission to SF State undergraduate programs are available for ALI students. Either waiver will meet the SF State English proficiency requirements. You do not need to complete ALI’s highest level to receive a TOEFL waiver. If you are interested in graduate degree programs, SF State offers a TOEFL waiver through the ALI for certain majors.
  • Courses
    • English for Academic Preparation Program (EAP)

    • About This Course
    • The English for Academic Preparation Program operates on a semester system, offering a 12-week sessions in the fall and spring and a 10-week session during the summer. Students enrolled in the Program receive 22 hours of in-class instruction per week and practice the fundamentals of reading and writing, oral communication skills (listening and speaking), and grammar. Students in the advanced levels additionally select elective courses to study areas such as American culture, business English, pronunciation, American literature, and grammar for writing.

      The Program offers 5 levels of English classes, from low intermediate to advanced. At the beginning of each session, students will take the Institutional TOEFL test to determine their English ability level.

      ALI students are given the unique opportunity to be matched with American university students for informal conversation. These conversation partners meet in an informal setting to talk with one another and participate in social activities together. The Conversation Partner Program is a popular, successful program among students and has created long-lasting friendships.

      Small, interactive classes are emphasized. Class sizes range from 12 to 20 students per class. Every effort is made to keep classes at an ideal size for effective English language instruction.
    • Course Data
    • CLASS SIZE: 12 - 20 Students
      CLASS LEVELS: 5 Levels
      COURSE LENGTH: 10,12 weeks
      MINIMUM AGE: 17 Years Old
      REQUIREMENT: High School Diploma
      VISA INFORMATION: F-1 Student Visa Required (I-20 Issued Upon Request)
      HOUSING: Dormitory / On-Campus Apartment
      Off-Campus Residence
    • Dates
    • 2019
      10 WEEKS:
      5/29 - 8/7
      Apply by 4/29

      12 WEEKS:
      9/4 - 12/4
      Apply by 8/4

    • Fees
      US$ 154.12 ($150 + $4.12 Fee)
      TUITION FEE (2019)
      10 WEEKS US$ 4,700
      12 WEEKS US$ 5,000
      US$ 55
      10 WEEKS US$ 1015 - 1300 Per Month US$ 1750 - 2400 Per Month US$ 1180 - 2000 Per Month
      12 WEEKS US$ 1015 - 1300 Per Month US$ 1750 - 2400 Per Month US$ 1180 - 2000 Per Month
      Airport Pickup Service
      Student Arranged (Taxi, Bus or Car Service)
      Health Insurance
      US$ 405 - 467
      Books and Supplies
      US$ 100 - 150
    • Remarks / Other Information
    • Dates and fees are approximate and may change without prior notice.
      Application fee is non-refundable.
      Campus dormitory is based on availability.
      Homestay fee range reflects options for no meal or meals.
    • San Francisco Discover Program

    • About This Course
    • The San Francisco Discover is a fun four-week program for students who want to improve their speaking skills and explore the colorful and innovative city of San Francisco.

      San Francisco Discover students will:

      • Become more confident speaking English and learn useful conversation skills, and lots of vocabulary and idioms
      • Visit San Francisco neighborhoods and innovative companies, and discover San Francisco culture, arts, food, businesses, and more

      San Francisco Discover classes will be held at the beautiful downtown campus of San Francisco State University, right in the heart of downtown and in the middle of the exciting technology scene.

      Classes and visits are 3 hours a day, five mornings a week. The tuition covers classes, visits to interesting and special places in San Francisco, a monthly transportation pass, and other fun activities such as the San Francisco Bay Cruise and local sports games.

      San Francisco Discover is a part-time, non-academic program for people who wish to improve their English in the United States. This program does not require a student visa.

      For more details, please visit http://www.ali.sfsu.edu/sfdiscover ​or contact the ALI at ali@sfsu.edu.
    • Course Data
    • CLASS SIZE: 12 - 20 Students
      CLASS LEVELS: 1-2 Levels
      COURSE LENGTH: 2,3 Weeks
      MINIMUM AGE: 18 Years Old
      REQUIREMENT: High School Diploma
      VISA INFORMATION: No F-1 Student Visa Required
      HOUSING: Homestay
      Private Dormitory
      On-Campus Dormitory (JULY ONLY)
    • Dates
    • 2019
      2 WEEKS:
      2/11 - 2/227/1 - 7/12

      3 WEEKS:
      7/15 - 8/28/12 - 8/30

    • Fees
      TUITION FEE (2019)
      2 WEEKS US$ 1,500
      3 WEEKS US$ 2,250
      2 WEEKS US$ 1015 - 1300 Per Month US$ 430 - 450 Per Week US$ 45 - 50 Per Night
      3 WEEKS US$ 1015 - 1300 Per Month US$ 430 - 450 Per Week US$ 45 - 50 Per Night
      Airport Pickup Service
      Student Arranged (Taxi, Bus or Car Service)
    • Remarks / Other Information
    • Dates and fees are approximate and may change without prior notice.
      Application fee is non-refundable.
      Campus dormitory is based on availability.
      Homestay (one month minimum required) fee range reflects options for no meal or meals.
  • Location
    • United States San Francisco, California
    • Location
      American Language Institute (ALI)
      San Francisco State University

      1600 Holloway Avenue San Francisco, California  94132  U.S.A.
    • Getting To Your School
    • From San Francisco International Airport:
      It is the students’ responsibility to arrange their own transportation from the airport to campus. Taxis are available at the airport. It will cost approximately US$25 and will arrive on campus in 20 minutes.
  • Student Reviews
    • Academic Quality: 4.5
      School Environment: 4.4
      Helpfulness of Staff: 4.6
      Activities and Social Life: 4.0
      Accommodation: 3.3


    • There are 22 reviews for this school

    • Jen Hua You
      [ Taipei, Taiwan, Male ]  2018/11/27
      2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
      SF Discover Improved My English
      This program improved my English speaking and listening skills and gave me more chances to travel around San Francisco including places that are not just tourist attractions. [It let us] both learn and travel as part of the program, and I think it was worthwhile.
      Was this review helpful to you? Yes  No 

      Marielle R. Côco
      [ Sao Paulo, Brazil, Female ]  2018/11/27
      With SF Discover My English Has Improved
      Besides realizing my dream to know San Francisco, I was able to learn the history of the city and to improve my English. The teachers are great. They have a lot of teaching experience, and they help a lot when students have difficulties. I've had conversations in Brazil where I've been told how much my English has improved.
      Was this review helpful to you? Yes  No 

      Emily (Minling) Zhang
      [ Beijing, China, Female ]  2018/11/27
      Tailor-Made for Future Grad and Undergrad Students
      The English for Academic Preparation program at SF State is the best language program I have taken. It helped me to improve my reading, speaking, listening and writing skills all at once. I also got to know new students from all over the world, and we had a good time studying together and supporting each other. The program is tailor-made for students who plan to attend an undergraduate or graduate program at a university in the near future.
      Was this review helpful to you? Yes  No 

      Mohammed Bakhsh
      [ Kuwait City, Kuwait, Male ]  2018/11/27
      Place to Meet Students from Many Nations
      The English for Academic Preparation program at SF State is the greatest school for learning English because the classes are a comfortable place to meet students from many nations, and the staff are so welcoming and helpful. They have a lot of fun activities, parties and field trips.
      Was this review helpful to you? Yes  No 

      Asako Hanafusa
      [ Tokyo, Japan, Female ]  2018/11/27
      Academic Preparation Program
      To get into graduate school, the English for Academic Preparation program gave me great advice, resources and encouragement. It was the best choice for me to train at SF State's English for Academic Preparation program before pursuing my academic goal in the U.S.
      Was this review helpful to you? Yes  No 

      [ Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Age 20, Male ]  2016/5/6
      13 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
      Activities for International Students
      I felt that the ALI was like a second family to me. Sometimes I wished that there were even more activities that could can help me reduce my "homesickness". International students sometimes need to ease their sense of alienation and help to immerse themselves in American society.
      Was this review helpful to you? Yes  No 

      A Former Student
      [ Shenyang, China, Age 23, Male ]  2009/3/5
      4 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
      Best Way to Improve your English
      San Francisco State University is a great place for international students to learn English and American culture. You can meet students from all over the world and be friends with them. It is just a few miles from downtown San Francisco and takes about 20 minutes with the Muni line. There are different instructors with every single subject. Also they provide all kinds of outdoor activities like baseball games, rafting, camping, golfing and museum visits for free. Tuition prices are reasonable compared with other language schools, however the campus dormitory is pretty expensive. It is better to find a place near the campus to live.
      Was this review helpful to you? Yes  No 

      [ 台北, 台灣, Age 28, Male ]  2009/3/6

    • Below you will find additional reviews in other languages.
    • ApplyESL claims no responsibility for errors in, or the quality of, machine translations provided by Google Translate.

      [ hong kong, china, Age 20, Female ]  2009/5/6
      2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
      san francisco state university
      這間大學的ESL 課程還尚算不錯,對於我來說也可以學到一些有用的知識,而環境方面也感覺可以!這間大學中國人相對較多,但san francisco 是真的一個很好的地方 !!!

      希望各位有一個愉快的留學生活 ~

      [ 台北, 台灣, Age 27, Female ]  2009/3/7
      4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.

      [ 서울, 한국, Age 26, Male ]  2009/3/6
      2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
      대체적으로 아주 좋습니다.
      일단 샌프란시스코라는 도시가 굉장히 마음에 들었습니다.
      학교는 그렇게 크지는 않습니다. 학생들은 꽤 많은데
      학교 부지가 작아서 학교가 북적거리고 활기가 넘쳐서 좋습니다.
      보통 다른 대학부설 어학원은 학교 안에 따로 건물이 있어서
      현지 대학생들과 동떨어져 있는 느낌이 있는데
      SFSU ALI는 교실을 계속 옮겨다니면서 수업을 해서
      활기가 넘칩니다.
      수업도 아주 좋습니다. 수업의 질은 10점 만점에 9점을 주고 싶스빈다. 대체적으로 아주 만족스러웠습니다.

      [ 東京, 日本, Age 21, Female ]  2011/8/15
      5 of 6 people found the following review helpful.

      [ 大阪, 日本, Age 22, Male ]  2011/5/21
      4 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
      San Francisco State University ALI について。


      [ 山东, 中国, Age 24, Female ]  2012/12/16

      [ Taipei, Taiwan ]  2012/8/10

      [ 彰化縣, 台灣, Age 31, Female ]  2009/3/6

      [ 高雄, 台灣, Age 27, Female ]  2009/3/6

      [ Seoul, Korea, Age 25, Male ]  2009/3/7

      [ sanfrancisco, USA, Age 21, Female ]  2009/3/6

      [ Bogota, Colombia, Age 24, Female ]  2009/10/16

      Chen Tzu Ying
      [ Taipei, Taiwan, Age 28, Female ]  2014/5/7

      [ Portugalete, España ]  2015/5/7
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