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Intensive English Program

The Intensive English Program (IEP) in the American Culture and Language Institute welcomes students from 130 countries. Many students enroll full time in the program, often with F-1 visas. Others may enroll full time or part time according to their academic goals.

Goals of the Intensive English Program

The IEP is an academic ESL program. Our goal is to help students meet the entrance requirements for NOVA's College ESL program, at which time they may begin taking introductory general education (credit) courses along with College ESL reading and writing courses. Another IEP goal is to prepare students to enter a university in the United States. We also help many students achieve their goals of language proficiency for self improvement or better employment.

In addition to working on academic English skills, IEP students participate in a variety of cultural and social experiences offered by the ACLI, Student Activities Offices and other student organizations on each campus.

What will I study in the IEP?

You will take a combination of “core” courses that emphasize essential language skills such as reading, writing, listening and speaking at all levels in the IEP. You will improve your fluency and accuracy when expressing ideas in writing and speaking, and increase your reading and listening comprehension of academic English. In addition, you can choose from “elective” courses that offer an in-depth understanding in topics such as Test Taking Skills, American English Pronunciation, and Vocabulary and Spelling. “Elective” course topics may vary by semester.

In every class, you will work with your classmates in pairs and small groups. This will help you to meet the participation expectations of academic classrooms in the United States. You will also give formal presentations and learn to take notes in English.

Placement into the IEP

Students need to take the ACLI placement test in order to determine their level of English before registering for classes. The ACLI placement test is 30-minute writing test and an oral interview. You should contact the campus of your choice to find out how to take the ACLI placement test on that campus.

After you get your placement results, you can register for classes. You can use placement results from one campus to register at any NOVA ACLI.

If you place into the highest IEP level on the ACLI placement test and want to get a degree from NOVA, you may choose to take the ACCUPLACER, the placement test for College ESL. If you place into level 4 in the College ESL program, you can change your language I-20 to an academic I-20. This process can take several days. You should arrive early if you think this may be a possibility for you.

After the Intensive English Program

If you have F-1 visa status and you want to get a degree from NOVA, you will take the Bridge Writing Test when you complete the highest level in the IEP. The Bridge Writing Test is administered and scored by College ESL faculty. Successful results will place you in College ESL Level 4, at which time you can begin taking courses that will lead to your degree.

If you receive an advanced placement and want to remain in an intensive English program, the ACLI has Specialty Courses at higher levels that will meet the requirements of those on F-1 visas.

If you do not have F-1 visa status and want to move into the College ESL program, you may take the College ESL placement test when you think your level is at least low intermediate. This test is called ACCUPLACER. You need to score at least 225 on the ACCUPLACER to enter the College ESL program at Level 2.

Application Information

If you want to take classes in the ACLI IEP, please be sure to check CEU when you are filling out your NOVA application.

If you want to move from the IEP into College ESL, please resubmit your application and check credit.