The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
English proficiency is a critical skill for international students to possess in order to succeed at colleges in the United States. Not only will a strong grasp of the English language serve you well in your classes, but it can help you acclimate to life on a U.S. campus and fit in with peers, too.
To help students thrive in college, most universities offer campus resources for international students, including counseling and writing help. Many also offer English as a Second Language (ESL) programs to help students enhance their English skills.
In an annual U.S. News survey, more than 600 colleges and universities reported that they offer ESL programs, and about 100 of those schools reported the percentage of 2010 graduates who had participated in an ESL program. (Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.) At 14 institutions, at least 5 percent of all seniors graduating in 2010 had participated in an ESL program sometime during college.
At both Portland State University in Oregon and the University at Buffalo—SUNY, a college in New York state, 10 percent of seniors who graduated in 2010 had participated in ESL courses, the highest participation rates of any college that reported this data to U.S. News.
At Portland State, international students can be conditionally admitted without taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which means they'll have to complete coursework at the university before officially enrolling. For those who need to become proficient in English, Portland State's Intensive English Language Program offers open training to students, spouses, and community members.
Across the country, the English Language Institute at the University at Buffalo also offers a variety of additional programming for students who need help with their English skills, including a cultural orientation and a conversation partner program that pairs international students with native English speakers.
[Use these three tips for TOEFL test prep.]
If you're hoping to take English as a Second Language with many of your fellow classmates, here are some schools you may want to consider. (Due to ties, there are more than 10 schools on this list.)
|School (State)||Percent of 2010 graduates who participated in ESL||U.S. News rank & category|
|Portland State University (OR)||10%||RNP*, National Universities|
|University at Buffalo—SUNY||10%||111, National Universities|
|La Roche College (PA)||9%||30, Regional Colleges (North)|
|Fontbonne University (MO)||8%||66, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Marquette University (WI)||6%||82, National Universities|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||6%||5, National Universities|
|St. Cloud State University (MN)||6%||81, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Bryant University (RI)||5%||16, Regional Universities (North)|
|Centenary College (NJ)||5%||RNP, Regional Universities (North)|
|Chatham University (PA)||5%||60, Regional Universities (North)|
|Crown College (MN)||5%||57, Regional Colleges (Midwest)|
|Tiffin University (OH)||5%||RNP, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|University of Bridgeport (CT)||5%||RNP, Regional Universities (North)|
|University of Tulsa (OK)||5%||75, National Universities|
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to get international student data, enrollment statistics, and more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2011 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists have no influence over U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.