Years ago, College Coach Robyn Stewart worked as an International Student Advisor at an independent English language school in Boston. Her students ranged in their language skills and abilities; some simply hoped to improve their conversational English while other students, university-bound hopefuls, studied hard to improve their TOEFL scores. Their goal was to enroll at one of the many universities in the area. If you’re considering an intensive English program, it takes time to narrow down options and do your research. For many international students who want to pursue a degree in the United States, an English language school (ELS) is often the first step.

In thinking about what program is “best” you will want to consider your short term and long term goals. Programs are either run by independent English language schools or offered directly by a U.S. college or university. Some programs focus on basic language learning and some provide more of a cultural experience to students. Since there are so many available options, the challenge falls to each student to make decisions that will best meet their personal and professional goals.

If you are considering a program directly offered by a U.S. university, there are several factors to consider, like the size of an institution and its setting (urban, suburban, or rural). Also, what resources will be available on campus to help with the adjustment to your new environment? For the college-minded international student, enrolling in an ELS program may be a good option as you continue your education, especially for students with lower TOEFL scores who eventually want that U.S. college experience.

Robyn breaks down a few specific ELS programs, and covers considerations (including costs) that students should take under advisement, in the latest post on the College Coach Insider blog at

Written by College Coach
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