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ESL Glossary


A.A. (Associate of Arts)

A degree that is awarded to a student upon successfully completing two years of academic study in a field of the arts or humanities at a College or University.

AAIEP (EnglishUSA)

The American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP), also known as EnglishUSA, is a consortium of ESL schools who promote ethical and professional standards for intensive English language programs. AAIEP encourages evaluation of intensive English programs, and aids in communications between intensive English programs and other organizations with similar concerns for international students. AAIEP currently has approximately 300 programs as members. DISCO International, Inc., producers of, is proud to be a member of AAIEP.

Academic Calendar

A calendar used by schools dividing the months of the year into periods when courses are offered and the periods of vacation. Schools' Academic Calendars vary greatly due to the length of courses and frequency of enrollment. Some ESL schools have one course per month, while others have new students enrolling every week.

Academic Year

Period of nine month when schools offer classes. In America and the U.K., this nine month period begins in September and ends in either May or June of the following year. In Australia and New Zealand, classes begin in the month of February and continue to October.


Permission that is granted to a successful applicant to enroll at a school as an official student. Students are usually notified by the school through mail in a "Letter of Acceptance."


Award given to schools whose education and facilities meet high quality standards.


Refers to student housing facilities. Examples of popular accommodations are Homestay, Dormitory, and Apartment. The majority of language schools have an employee called the "Housing Coordinator" who organizes student living arrangements and acts as an advisor about housing issues.


Trips and social events organized by the school (see "Excursion").


Refers to "Acceptance" (see above) and the necessary procedures involved in formalizing a student's enrollment at a school. These procedures, such as requests for materials and information are handled at the school facility called the "Admissions Office."


A school employee who assists students in obtaining their personal and academic objectives. There are some schools with advisors that handle all issues of student life. Other schools have different advisors assigned to specific fields, such as an "Academic Advisor," who handles things like course registration and credit issues.

Agent Fee

Money paid by a student to a "Study Abroad Agent" in exchange for completing school application procedures, personal counseling, and pre-departure orientation.

Airport Pickup Service

A service provided by the school to meet the international student upon arrival at the airport. From the airport the student is transported to the studentユs housing accommodation. Some schools provide this service free of charge. Be sure to find out ahead of time how your school operates this service.

Alumnus, Alumnae, Alumni

These Latin words refer to graduates of a college or university. Many graduates retain strong bonds of loyalty to their college. Overseas alumni can be an excellent source of information for prospective students.


To submit an application for enrollment to an ESL school. When using, you can directly "Apply" using the Internet to the best ESL schools.

Application Fee

Money paid to a school that is submitted together with application for enrollment. Application Fees are usually not refunded even if an application is rejected or enrollment is cancelled. Applications will not be processed by a school without payment of the Application Fee. It is also referred to as "Enrollment Fee." (See "Enrollment Fee).

Application Form

A form to request permission to enroll in a school. The application form introduces the student to the school by way of background and personal information. It is also called an "Enrollment Form." An application fee accompanies the application form at the time of submission.


Association of Recognized English Language Services (ARELS) is a consortium of accredited, independent English language teaching establishments in Britain. The Association represents over 220 member schools and colleges that provide high-quality general and specialist English language courses to adults and children at locations throughout Britain.


Refers to academic work completed outside of class. In many ESL courses "Assignments" are given to students in order to review skills learned in class. This is also called "Homework."


Attending academic courses without receiving credit.

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