Making Study in University-Based English Programs A Reality
English as a Second Language (ESL) Schools Divided Into Two Main Types
1 University-Based English School
The first type of ESL school is known as university-based ESL, which are schools managed by universities. University-based ESL programs were originally created as Intensive English Programs with the purpose of preparing students intending to enter degree programs at the university. Students enrolling in these programs can improve their overall English skills considerably and prepare for university education at the same time. Most of those university-based ESL programs started on large campuses where students could study as well as interact with other students on campus.
2 Private English School
The second type of ESL school is the private English school managed by an independent company. Private English schools offer a large variety of language courses aimed at improving overall English language skills. In addition to these two major types of English language schools, there are also private English schools located on university campuses. These schools allow students the opportunity on occasion to use university facilities, but like most private English schools, they also give students the flexibility to choose the start date and length of their courses.
Understanding the Differences
The Features of University-Based English and Private English Programs
The Case for University-Based ESL Programs
- Located on the university campus. Access to university facilities such as gymnasiums and libraries.
- Shared campus life with other students, dormitory living options and opportunities to interact with native English speakers at school.
- Possibility to attend university lectures. Conditional acceptance to degree programs for qualified students.
- Fixed curriculums focused on academic English skills (grammar, reading, speaking, and writing).
- Courses tied to university semester system. Longer-term courses emphasized.
The Case for Private English Schools
- Many schools located in city centers with good access to public transportation.
- Course options may include Conversational English, Business English and English Plus courses with other enjoyable activities.
- Courses offered to prepare students for standardized tests such as TOEIC, TOEFL and Cambridge Certificate also offered.
- Great flexibility for students choosing their start date and duration of course. Courses can be as short as 2weeks or longer-term.
- Greater range of price options depending on the course.
Experience University Campus Life While Overseas
If you want to feel what it’s like to be a university student, university-based ESL programs might be the best option.
Even those students who would admit, “I have zero ability in English”, are able to study at famous schools such as Columbia University, Boston University, Georgetown University, UCLA and others. Students who study at these schools are able to both enjoy university campus life and considerably improve their English skills. At these schools, the curriculum has been designed with the goal of learning English to study at university. Many of the instructors at university-based ESL programs possess advanced degrees in their respective fields providing a high quality of education. Even for those students not planning to become regular students at the university, the experience learning at these schools is excellent.
A Closer Look at University-Based ESL Programs
Life on Large University Campuses
University campuses in the United States can be very large. For example, one of the most famous universities on the West Coast, UCLA, is located on a 419 acre campus. Even larger is Western Michigan University which boasts a campus of 850 acres. On such large campuses, students can find impressive facilities such as dormitories, indoor pools, fitness centers and basketball courts. Other facilities close by which students will find useful are libraries boasting countless volumes of literature, museums, movie theaters, churches and post offices. Such large campuses can be interesting for students to experience.
Making Full Use of University Facilities
One of the benefits of studying in a university-based ESL program is that students may have the opportunity to use those facilities provided by the school. Students also may have the opportunity to live in dormitories on campus and interact together with other students on a daily basis. Other facilities which may be available to students are the cafeteria, indoor and outdoor sports venues and various libraries. Since many universities will issue ESL students official university ID, they can make full use of those facilities available to them on campus. Of course, great facilities are no substitute for the positive attitude all students must possess in order to learn and interact with the native speakers they meet. University campuses are an excellent overall place to study because of the excellent facilities available to students and the possibilities for international exchange.
University-Based ESL Classes: An Advanced Curriculum for Students Preparing for a College Degree
University-based ESL programs consist of solid curriculums based on improving grammar, reading, writing and speaking. Classes are held with an emphasis on providing the highest quality of instruction with great effort to keep the size of classes as small as possible. In order so that students interested in taking degree programs have that opportunity, efforts are made to coordinate the study terms for this purpose. In general, most university-based ESL programs consist of sessions longer than one month, but recently in order to accommodate those students who want to come only for the summer, courses of less than one month have been added.
One big reason why students choose university-based ESL programs is because of the emphasis placed on teacher quality and professionalism of the faculty. All teachers are required to possess Bachelor degrees and some even have Master’s or Doctoral degrees. Due to the efforts to make class size as small as possible, students have greater opportunity to interact with their teachers. Teachers will advise students on academic matters as well as those general issues related to living overseas. As students master the skills they learn in class and apply them to the outside world, they are also able to take advantage of personal tutors that are available at the school. Tutors can be trained teachers or even native English speaking students at the university. Students can choose what they want to work on including choosing a theme they are interested in or simply brushing up on their conversation skills. All in all, the university environment is ideal for students to actively speak English and make friends.