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Why English Before University – From Martha Hall, NESE’s Director (The New England School of English)

Published on Thursday, March 23, 2017

One factor that significantly improves a student’s chances of successfully completing their academic program at a US college or university is their attendance at an Intensive English Program (IEP) prior to beginning their studies or as part of a pathways program that facilitates their admission. Students gain exposure to many skills that will be expected of them when they enter a US college or university through attendance at an IEP located in the US.

 

English language schools provide students with preparation that, for many, can mean the difference between becoming fully immersed in one's university setting or simply remaining with other students of the same nationality. Moreover, most foreign students who attend college or university in the US have acquired English through reading, writing, grammar exercises and completing the kinds of tasks required for a successful score on the TOEFL exam. Most have not learned in an American-style classroom, where they are expected to speak, respond to other students, ask questions and explain their opinions in a spontaneous fashion. Without this exposure, many foreign students find it hard to adjust to the expectations of an American academic setting. They may not actively participate as prescribed and if so, their professors cannot appropriately assess their knowledge versus that of their US born peers.

 

Most IEPs focus on the speaking and listening skills required to negotiate various aspects of life in the US well and confidently. Classes tend to be smaller (fewer than 15 students) and in order to participate successfully, students must speak in ways which come naturally to their US peers. IEP classes allow students to gain correction of spoken English, experience expansion of their active vocabulary, and learn the particular distinctions between formal written English and spoken English. Such students also receive pronunciation instruction and accent training, which is extremely important if they are to be readily understood by their peers and professors once they are fully engaged in their courses. Finally, most IEPs offer a wide range of classes in reading and writing skills, which can be geared toward the kind of expository writing and citation required by colleges and universities at all levels.M

 

More than 25% of the students at The New England School of English (NESE) in Boston, Massachusetts attend an Intensive English program with the intention of going on to undergraduate or graduate studies at local universities and colleges or others across the United States. Of that percentage, about half have not yet decided which college or university they wish to apply to and begin their studies at NESE while simultaneously beginning the college application process.

 

NESE has a University Counseling Office, which provides support and counseling to those students who wish to attend university or college in the US. This service is free for all full-time students and NESE's University Counselors support students in a number of ways. University Counselors help students narrow down which colleges and universities they want to attend and what programs they wish to enter. Further, these counselors provide support for students when they are gathering their transcripts, completing the Common Application and crafting a Statement of Purpose. Because NESE is highly regarded, colleges and universities visit the school regularly to recruit students. Finally, NESE has agreements with over 100 colleges and universities. These articulation agreements state that the college or university will waive the Internet Based TOEFL and allow for completion of NESE's highest levels or accept a certain score on the Institutional TOEFL (old paper-based TOEFL) in place of other English language qualifications. Together, NESE provides a comprehensive program for teaching English and creating an accessible pathway for students who wish to pursue their university or college education here in the US. 



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