Intensive English Program

The Intensive English Language Certificate program at Southwestern College prepares students for success in their degree programs. The IELC provides instruction in the four language skill areas (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), while focusing on English for academic purposes. Students will improve academic vocabulary; reading speed and comprehension; listening and note-taking; critical thinking and analysis of texts and lectures; group discussion, presentation and debate; and other typical tasks expected in the American college classroom.

At Southwestern College, we challenge international students to open up their horizons. By providing intergrative activities and a well rounded academic system, we encourage our students to experience a different culture, a different world.

We have students from such countries as Mexico, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Australia, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Ireland, England, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil.

Southwestern College offers an outstanding and supportive Host Family Program, small classes, dozens of student organizations, intramurals, strong academic programs and a great environment for learning!

SC International strives to serve as an accepting home for students from all over the world and organize fun activities that help all students and the local community learn about and appreciate a variety of cultures. The goal is to promote a multicultural exchange of perspectives between international and American students and to create a community of empowered learners in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.

Program Advantages

  • Beginning and Intermediate level students are automatically enrolled in 12 credit hours, and can take up to 20 hours of class per week.
  • A modular approach to language skills means that students can work on the language areas they need most.
  • Advanced students can enroll in approved mainstream classes while finishing their English certificate.
  • Students may enroll in workshop hours to perfect skills.
  • ESL faculty provides ongoing support to students throughout their degree programs.
  • The small, intimate campus provides ample opportunity to interact with students from the USA and all over the world.

Placement Levels

Upon arrival at Southwestern College, students take a placement test which accurately measures their English ability.

The program consists of four levels.


(limited vocabulary, ungrammatical spoken English, limited writing/reading ability)

Students will be enrolled in Intensive English Block 1. This is a 12-hour course that covers all language domains. Students increase vocabulary, conversational fluency, and range of grammatical structures.

Additional workshop hours can be added to the student’s schedule to improve specific skill areas.


(able to use and understand basic written and verbal structures in common situations)

Students will be enrolled in Intensive English Block 2. This 6-hour course is similar to Block I, covering all language domains. The focus will be on preparing the students to succeed in academic courses. Students will learn about US and SC academic culture, and increase comprehension of textbook-like reading. Students will begin to learn academic language and specialized vocabulary. Students will learn more complex sentence structures, and improve their written and spoken grammatical accuracy.

A minimum of 6 workshop hours will be added to the student’s schedule. Additional hours can be added to improve specific skill areas.


(able to use & understand complex written and verbal structures in various situations)

During their last two semesters of the program, students will be enrolled in Intensive English Level 3 and 4 along with one or more workshop classes. Emphasis is placed on speaking and writing on academic topics. If approved, students at this level may take two regular academic courses.

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