Resources for Prospective Students

For Prospective Students: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Classes (Academic Year & ISPEL)

Atmosphere (Campus & Springfield)

The ESL Program wants to help make your application and transition to UIS as easy as possible. If you have a question that is not answered here, please e-mail us at or call us at +1 (217) 206-8356.


Do I have to have a certain TOEFL score to attend UIS?
Students who seek admission to our Undergraduate and Graduate Programs must meet UIS’ English Profiency Requirements. View English Language Proficiency Requirements for:

Non-degree seeking students are not bound by the same English Language Proficiency Requirement that degree seeking students are. Please contact Dana Atwell for more information.

The Intensive English Program has different English proficiency and admission requirements than UIS degree programs.

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Do I need a student visa? How do I get one?
Yes, if you are an international student, you need a student visa.

The Admissions Office issues the initial I20s for admitted international students. Documents will be sent by Express mail.

2. After you receive an acceptance letter and the I20, contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to make an appointment. Click here for details.

3. Bring all appropriate forms, passport, and supporting documents to the appointment at the U.S. Embassy. It will then be reviewed by consular officers and state officials. This process takes a few weeks, and there is no guarantee of obtaining a visa.

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How do I apply to or enroll in ESL programs or courses?
If you only want to take English classes, apply to the IEP here.

If you are a current UIS and want to take an ESL class, register through the course schedule. ESL Classes are listed under Modern Languages (LNG).

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Are there deadlines to apply for ESL classes? To apply to UIS?
UIS accepts applications throughout the year. International students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible because of visa issues. We recommend that international students applying from abroad apply no later than: June 1 for fall terms; November 1 for spring terms; and April 1 for summer sessions. Students may apply after these dates, but the Admissions Office cannot guarantee that international students will receive necessary documentation in time.

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How do students transition from ISPEL to degree programs?
ISPEL is a great bridge program to improve your overall English language ability, boost your confidence, and increase your knowledge of U.S. culture. You’ll learn and get to practice completing typical university assignments – from giving presentations to writing papers to conducting research. By the time you start your degree program in the fall, you’ll be comfortable with the campus, campus services and staff, and most importantly be registered and ready for your fall classes.

Whether or not you have met the English requirements for your degree program, attending ISPEL makes sense.

It’s simple to transition from ISPEL to a UIS degree program. Click here for to see how.

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Classes (Academic Year & ISPEL)

What level English classes do you offer?
We offer intermediate through advanced classes.

IEP students attend only English classes at Level 2-Intermediate, 3- High Intermediate, 4-Advanced, or 5-High Advanced.

Conditionally and fully admitted students may take advanced classes (LNG 091 & 092 or LNG 101). These are similar to Level 4 and 5 respectively.

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Where and when are ESL classes offered?
Classes are offered on our campus in Springfield.

Classes are offered during the day (between 9 AM and 6 PM). There are currently no evening or weekend classes.

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How are students placed in ESL classes?
Students may register for ESL classes on their own or be advised by an advisor or faculty member to enroll. Incoming undergraduate students whose native language is not English take an ESL Placement Test during Orientation week to determine if additional language support is advised.

Advisors and Faculty members with questions about a student’s need for language support should contact Dana Atwell.

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How many hours a week will I attend class?
This depends on your chosen path. Full-time students in the IEP attend 22 hours of class per week.

During the school year, ESL classes between 3.5 hours to six hours per week.

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May I take UIS classes while I’m in ESL classes?
If you are a degree seeking student, yes. You can enroll in any classes for which you are qualified.

If you are an IEP or non-degree seeking student, you may only attend only the classes for which you applied on your initial application. If you would like to attend other classes, please contact the Admissions office.

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Will I receive a certificate of attendance for completion IEP?

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Atmosphere (Campus & Springfield)

Where is Springfield?
Springfield is the fifth largest city in Illinois and the state’s capital. We are located between the metropolitan areas of Saint Louis and Chicago . Springfield has its own airport, bus station and train station making it easy to get in and out of the city.

View us on the map.

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How can I get to Springfield? Get around Springfield?
Springfield is easily accessible by plane, train or bus. The Office of International Student Services has up-to-date information on how to get to Springfield from various places in the U.S.

Once you are in Springfield, there is a bus that has various routes to campus, downtown, and the shopping centers. Many students choose to live on campus. Students are allowed to have cars on campus. Our campus is small and safe enough that you can comfortably walk all around.

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Who are the other students?
UIS has over 5000 undergraduate and graduate students, of which about 300 are international or non-native speakers of English from 25 countries around the world. Many of our students come from Illinois. Because of the large percentage of American students, international students have a wonderful opportunity to experience American culture and practice English skills.

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Where will I live?
You may choose to live on campus or off campus. IEP students who live on campus live in Founders Residence Hall.

UIS maintains multi-room apartments, townhouses and dorms. There are furnished and unfurnished apartments. Special accommodations are made for families and married couples so that they live together. Please visit the Housing Office.

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What kind of social activities are there for UIS students? ISPEL students?
There’s always something to do at UIS and in Springfield. We are a small city so you do not need to be intimidated to explore or concerned about traffic. We are also a very safe city, so you should feel comfortable on campus and around town.

Check out what’s happening on campus now.

Join one or several of our 50+ student organizations.

If you’re interested in sports and fitness, you’ll be set at UIS. Take a class, hit the courts, or lift weights at TRAC or our many outdoor recreational areas.

View our calendar to see upcoming lectures from visiting scholars, exhibitions, films, and productions.

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Can I bring my family?
Yes. Students may bring their spouses and dependents with them to campus. If you want to live on campus, you should apply to the Housing Office as soon as possible for one of the residences specifically designed for families.

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What about health care?
Health insurance coverage and proof of all required immunizations are mandatory at UIS. Click here for details.

Students who have outside coverage may be exempt from purchasing UIS health insurance.

The Heath Services Office provides health care and health education to all students. Appointments are free and confidential appointment. For more information, click here.

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