Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply to the English Language Institute (ELI)?
Do I need a student visa? If so, how do I get one?
Yes, all full-time students in the ELI are required to have a visa that allows full-time study. For most students this will be the F-1 student visa.*
Once you are accepted, you will receive a letter of admission, a tuition invoice and an I-20 form with information about how to apply for an F-1 student visa.
Using the SEVIS ID number on your I-20 form, you will then make an appointment with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy nearest you (in your country) and take these documents with you to apply for an F-1 visa. You will also be required to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee, which can be done at:
Please Note: Your I-20 form will have a specific start date when you must report to the ELI program. If you delay or defer your enrollment, you will need to apply for a new I-20.
*If you are in the United States in a status other than F-1 (e.g., H4, L2, etc.) and are unsure if your visa status allows full-time study, please contact the International Student Advisor for more information. Individuals who hold B1/B2 tourist status are not eligible to enroll and must change status to F-1 before beginning classes.
I've been admitted - what else do I need to do?
- All students must show proof of immunization for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and tetanus/diphtheria (TD or Tdap) prior to enrollment. Please complete and submit the Student Health Record at least four weeks before starting classes.
- All students must have insurance to cover major medical expenses in the United States. Students who are not already enrolled in a U.S. insurance plan, which meets the coverage requirements for illness, accidents, hospitalization, medical evacuation and repatriation, must enroll in a health plan underwritten by HTH International specifically for international students enrolled at North Central College. Visit our website for plan details or to enroll.
Where and when are ELI classes offered?
All classes are held on the campus of North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, conveniently located near Chicago train lines and downtown Naperville. Classes are typically held daily between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. with free hours during the day for individual study, tutoring or laboratory work. Students may begin the ELI program in Fall Term (September), Winter Term (January), Spring Term (March), or summer.
The North Central College calendar includes a Fall Term (September to November), Winter Term (January to March), Spring Term (March to June), ELI Summer Term I (July) ELI Summer Term II (August) and an optional three-week December Term.
How will I be placed in classes?
Students take an institutional TOEFL test when they arrive at North Central College that includes a 30 minute Test of Written English. Students also complete a short oral proficiency test. Then, they are placed in levels based on the results.
Do I have access to North Central College’s facilities and co-curricular programs?
Yes, ELI students will be treated like all North Central College students, having full access to all services and facilities on campus. ELI students live among U.S. undergraduate students and are encouraged to participate in the many international activities on campus, ranging from an annual campus-wide international series of films and lectures to the events and meetings provided by a very active International Club.
How long will I have to study at ELI before I can demonstrate an English proficiency level that is needed for admission into North Central College’s degree-seeking programs?
This will depend on where you start. Most ELI students may need two to three terms (approximately one academic year) in order to reach the required TOEFL level for admission to most U.S. colleges and universities (80 iBT, 550 PBT). Students can generally expect to advance by about 8-10 points on the TOEFL iBT during one year of study at the ELI. However, the higher a student is on the TOEFL scale, the harder it is to make an 8-10 point gain during one term.
How do I progress from level to level?
A student’s ability to successfully pass from one level to the next is based on a number of factors:
- Instructor’s evaluation of coursework for each course (listening/speaking, reading, writing, culture).
- Students may pass in some courses and not in others, resulting in a “split schedule” for the following term. (For example, a student may be taking two classes at the high intermediate level and two at the advanced level in a given term.)
Does ELI have an attendance policy?
Yes, attendance and full participation in the ELI program is expected and required. Students who do not maintain an attendance record at the 85 percent level will be dropped from the program, an action that has especially serious consequences for students on F-1 student visas.
Will I receive a certificate of completion?
Yes, students who successfully complete all courses at the advanced level receive a North Central College English Language Institute Certificate of Completion.
Is it possible to enroll part time in the ELI?
The English Language Institute is designed primarily to prepare students for full-time academic study in a U.S. college or university. Limited spaces are available for students who wish to enroll in fewer than four classes (and whose visas or legal status allow them to do so).
Can I live on campus?
Yes, students who are enrolled full-time in the ELI are required to live on campus unless they are living with a family member in the Naperville area. Please note, however, that North Central does not currently offer on-campus housing options for married couples and/or families.
Will I have my own room?
While there are a few single rooms on campus, most students will share a room with at least one other student.