You know you want to study at an English school in the US, but before you book a flight, there are several factors to consider in choosing the right program. International students may forget to look at things like local cost of living and accreditation type when choosing an English school in the US. Use the list below to select the best school and program for you.
1. Suitable Location
An important factor to consider when choosing an English school in the US is where it’s located. Do you want to study in a big city with a lot of metropolitan amenities or a small town where you can get to know the locals?
You’ll also need to consider price: large coastal cities (like New York and Los Angeles) are quite expensive, whereas more central locations (like Kansas City) offer many cosmopolitan attractions with a low cost of living. Look at the region and weather of your destination as well—would you be happy in a warm and humid place like Houston, or a sunny mountain climate such as Denver?
2. Program Options
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to explore exactly what programs are offered at English schools in the US. Are you a student planning to study at a US university, or an executive looking for a strong business English course? Make sure the school you’re interested in has the right program match for you!
3. Quality Accreditation
Don’t forget to research a school’s accreditation status. Accrediting organizations regularly check the quality of teaching, administration and student care at English schools in the US, so that you can be sure you are attending a reputable school.
In order to issue an I-20 for your student visa, all English schools in the US must be accredited, but not all accreditation is the same. CEA (Commission on English Language Program Accreditation) is the only specialized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the US and is recognized by the US Secretary of Education.
4. Professional Teachers
A school is only as good as its teachers. How quickly and well you learn English depends a lot on the quality and effectiveness of your instructors. Look for English schools in the US that hire teachers with high levels of education (bachelor’s and master’s degrees) and extensive experience in the field.
5. Excellent Service
Your happiness at an English school in the US will be directly related to how that school treats its students and the resources it provides. Quality schools will respond quickly and respectfully to your inquiries, answer all of your questions and provide a lot of information on their website.
Also look for English schools that can help arrange accommodations and activities, assist you with other details (insurance and airport transportation, for example) and provide a quick response issuing I-20 forms.