If you are an international student, you need to follow the same policies and procedures as any other new freshman or transfer student. The only difference concerns your English language ability. If you are a non-native speaker of English, you had to meet certain minimum English competency requirements in order to be admitted. For those international students who would benefit from additional English study, there is the English as a Second Language (ESL) Placement Test.
ESL Placement Testing for Non-Native Speakers of English
If your “Notice of Admission” states that you must take the English as a Second Language Placement Test (known as the EPT), then you are required to take the test. Your ACT or SAT scores that you submitted will not be used to place you into an English composition course. On the other hand, if your “Notice of Admission” does not state that you must take the EPT, you may choose to take the EPT if you wish to enroll in ESL courses or you may choose not to take it.
For some non-native speakers of English, it is possible that your Notice of Admission states that you are required to take the EPT and yet your ACT English score (or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score) is high enough to earn you credit for RHET 105, an introductory writing-and-research course. In this situation, you should discuss your course enrollment options carefully with your academic advisor. It is true that your RHET 105 credit fulfills the General Education 'Composition I' requirement. However, it is also true that the reason your Notice of Admission says to take the EPT is that your TOEFL or IELTS scores suggest that you would benefit from additional instruction in the academic communication that will be expected of you in your classes, whether it be written communication and/or oral communication.
The EPT will be offered on campus (not online) on January 9, 10, 11, and 12, 2018. Go here to register for the date that you would like to test. To learn more about the EPT, click here.
The results of the EPT will indicate which ESL course(s) you should enroll in, if any. Some ESL courses focus on academic writing, others on pronunciation, while others address both oral and written communication. Your score report will recommend a particular course for you.
The General Education Language Requirement for Non-Native Speakers of English
Illinois requires that all undergraduate students study a language other than English ("LOTE") through either the third or fourth level, depending on which College they will graduate from. This is a General Education requirement. For non-native speakers of English, it means the following:
- If you are entering the College of Business or the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and you have successfully completed four years of studying your native language at the upper secondary level (senior high school), then you have fulfilled the General Education LOTE requirement.
- For all other colleges, you must successfully complete three years of studying your native language at the upper secondary level (senior high school) in order to fulfill the General Education LOTE requirement.
- If you are entering the Division of General Studies, please follow the requirements of the College that you intend to transfer to.
If you have not yet fulfilled the General Education LOTE requirement, you will need to either take a LOTE placement exam and enroll in the appropriate course(s) or take a LOTE proficiency exam to try to demonstrate your mastery of the LOTE.
LOTE proficiency exams must assess at least reading, writing, and listening comprehension abilities. If you pass a proficiency exam in your native language, you will fulfill your General Education LOTE requirement, but you will not necessarily earn academic credit. You should consult with your academic advisor if you have questions about earning credit towards graduation or about fulfilling any of the Gen Ed requirements.
Placement exams for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean are offered on campus (not online) at the beginning of each fall and spring semester and are open to both new students and continuing students. Although excellent performance on these exams can fulfill the Gen Ed LOTE requirement, it DOES NOT earn you course proficiency credit. Registration for the East Asian language tests is always required. You cannot just show up and ask to be admitted. The next opportunity to take an EALC placement test will be in January 2018, prior to the start of Spring classes.