1. What is the cost of the program?
- Please visit: https://web.saumag.edu/esl/costs-and-funding/
2. When does the program start? How long does it take? What semesters can I apply for?
- Please visit: https://web.saumag.edu/esl/academic-calendar/
3. How do I apply to the ESL program? What documents do I need to provide?
- Please visit: https://web.saumag.edu/esl/how-to-apply/
4. How many levels are there? What classes are there?
- Please visit: https://web.saumag.edu/esl/curriculum/
5. I applied as an undergraduate (graduate) student, but I was told that my IELTS (TOEFL) score is too low. Can I get “conditional admission” and take ESL and undergraduate (graduate) classes at the same time?
- Unfortunately, no. If you do not meet the English proficiency requirement for regular admission, you cannot take regular classes (undergraduate or graduate) until you meet the language requirement (please see Question 10 below for more information on how you can meet it).
6. I applied as an undergraduate (graduate) student, but I was told that I must apply to the ESL program first. Do I have to provide all my documents again and pay the ESL application fee?
- Yes. The ESL program is a separate department with its own admission requirements, application process, accounts, and staff. We do not normally contact undergraduate (or graduate) admissions to request the documents that you already submitted to them, or transfer application fees. Therefore, you must apply as an ESL student from the very beginning here. You also need to provide the $50 ESL application fee because we will take time and effort to process your application and make your I-20 and other acceptance documents. However, if you already paid your undergraduate (graduate) application fee – it simply means you don’t have to pay it again after you complete the ESL program and are ready to start your undergraduate (graduate) classes.
7. I applied to the ESL program, but soon after that I received a good score in IELTS or TOEFL, and now I’m eligible for undergraduate (or graduate) admission. What do I do?
- If you haven’t started ESL classes yet, please email ESL@saumag.edu and cancel your ESL application. Then contact the International Office (undergraduate or graduate admissions) and start (or continue) the application process with them. Please note that the ESL program is completely separate from undergraduate and graduate admissions, so we cannot “update” your level or your I-20 – it is totally between you and the program you are applying to. Please remember also that you must meet the application deadlines of the academic program you are applying to.
8. Do ESL students get conditional admission?
- Conditional admission for ESL students means that they can receive a letter from SAU stating that they are conditionally admitted to an undergraduate or graduate level program, but they cannot start this program until they meet the English proficiency requirement. Some ESL students choose to have this letter for their visa interviews (to show the visa officer that they are interested in pursuing an academic degree at SAU, and not just learn English), or to apply for bank loans. This letter does not grant students actual admission.
9. How will my I-20 look if I am accepted to the ESL program?
- You will receive an I-20 for ESL (Education level – “Language Training”, Major – “Second Language Learning”). According to SEVIS regulations, international students can only receive a bachelor’s or master’s level I-20 if they meet all the admission requirements, including English proficiency.
10. How can I get the ESL program waived and start my undergraduate (graduate) program without taking ESL classes?
You must do one of the following:
- Meet the English proficiency requirement as listed here (for undergraduate applicants) or here (for graduate applicants)
- Pass our ESL exit test
11. What is the ESL exit test? What does it consist of? How much does it cost?
- Please visit: https://web.saumag.edu/esl/exit-test/
12. If I’m accepted to the ESL program, can I arrive early, attempt the ESL exit test, and get admission to an undergraduate (graduate) program for the same semester?
- Yes, as long as you pass the ESL exit test and meet all the other admission requirements for your undergraduate (graduate) program by a certain deadline.
13. How do I complete the ESL program?
- First, you must apply and be accepted as an ESL student. After that, you must take ESL classes. You will have to complete at least one level of the ESL program, pass all your classes, and pass the ESL exit test at the end of the level. The number of levels you will have to complete will depend on your current level of English, which is determined by our ESL placement test taken by all ESL students on the first day of the program.
14. How many days a week do I have to go to class?
- ESL classes meet 4 days a week, usually from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Therefore, all ESL students must live in Magnolia or nearby.
15. Where can I live?
- All ESL students are welcome to stay on campus and eat in the student cafeteria. If you are 21 years old or older, you can also stay off campus, but you are responsible for finding your own off-campus accommodation. Please note that with the exception of one apartment complex (Fox Creek), all the other accommodation options in town are not within walking distance of the SAU campus.
- If you have any questions about on-campus accommodation or meal options, please visit https://web.saumag.edu/housing/
16. I completed an ESL program at another university. Do I still have to take ESL classes at SAU?
- Yes, you still must take ESL classes at SAU (or pass our ESL exit test). We do not recognize ESL certificates from other universities, just like they do not recognize our ESL certificate.
17. After I complete the ESL program (or pass the ESL exit test), do I automatically get admission to an academic program at SAU?
- No. All that our ESL program does for you is help you meet the English proficiency requirement for academic (regular) admission at SAU. After you complete the ESL program (or pass the ESL exit test), your English proficiency requirement will be met, but you still must complete all the other admission requirements. We only give you an ESL certificate that you can use in place of an IELTS (TOEFL) score, but you are responsible for the further application process yourself.
18. I’m a transfer student. How do I transfer to the ESL program?
- Just apply to our program but don’t forget to provide the required documents for transfer students: https://web.saumag.edu/esl/how-to-apply/
19. Can ESL students work?
- Yes, ESL students are eligible for on-campus employment and can work on campus up to 20 hours a week (40 hours during the summer). They are also eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). However, ESL students are not allowed to work off campus.
20. Are there any scholarships for ESL students?
- Unfortunately, we do not offer any scholarships to our ESL students. However, our ESL students are allowed to apply for scholarships upon completion of the ESL program (including Graduate Assistantship for graduate students).