By Jordan Friedman
World Education Services
If you’re an international student coming to the United States to pursue an education or a career, you may want – or need – to enroll in an Intensive English Program (IEP) to improve your English skills upon your arrival.
In the past decade, IEPs have grown in popularity, according to Institute of International Education (IIE) data. Check out the graph below for details:
According to IIE, the number of international students in the U.S. enrolled in IEPs increased by nearly 15 percent from 2012 to 2013. (Side note: data for students enrolled in IEPs was not available for 2014.) And, since 2003, the number of students who have signed up for IEPs has risen nearly 200 percent.
At schools like the University of Dayton, which offers seven-week terms of study throughout each academic year, international students partake in IEPs while receiving a “true American university experience,” according to the website. At that school, like many others, IEP classes are non-credit bearing.
According to ApplyESL.com, many schools have a placement test to determine a student’s speaking ability and some require an interview. In addition, these programs are usually held Monday through Friday and require about 20 to 30 hours a week. You can read more about different types of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs on the Concordia University-Irvine website.
Depending on the school, graduating from an IEP may entail either passing a class (or series of classes) or standardized tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. In some cases, students are admitted to a college or university under the stipulation that they improve their proficiency through an IEP before they start classes.
Since the structure and availability of programs vary among schools, it’s important to conduct some research beforehand. For some examples of IEPs, check out the programs at these schools:
You can also use the IIE’s search tool to find an IEP in a U.S. location of your choosing.