ESL Intensive Day Program

Welcome to our day classes! 

Calendar: Rockford University offers spring, summer and fall terms. Sessions start every 8 weeks, year-round. For specific start dates, please see the ELS Academic Calendar.

Length of Program: Students join us for 1 to 16 months, depending on their language goals. We recommend a minimum of 4 sessions for students to realize a substantial change in language proficiency; however, because the program focuses on language learning, no matter how long your stay with us, all students have the opportunity to increase their proficiency and receive long-term benefits from the program.

Schedule: Classes are held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. This provides 20 hours of English instruction per week. 

Class Size: Classes range on average from 6 to 10 students. The small classroom environment allows for plenty of personal attention and practice. 

Materials and Resources: Beyond the traditional English books, our teachers use a variety of magazines, podcasts, articles and newspapers that challenge the students to use background knowledge of a current topic and learn vocabulary in context.  Additionally, students spend at least 2 hours per week in the Computer Lab using specialized online English as a Second Language resources. 

Costs and Fees: Students must pay a non refundable application fee. Once accepted into the program, he or she must pay a tuition fee every session and a materials fee. Program costs >>

Our Teachers: We have a wonderful group of teachers that are here to help the students learn in a fun and positive way. Meet our staff >>

Conversation Partners: Rockford University's faculty, staff, students, and members of the local community support our program by meeting with students for conversation time after classes. This way, ESL students can enjoy practicing the language in a more relaxed environment and make new friends. Learn more about volunteer opportunities >>

Learning outside of the classroom: The program also allows for ESL students to share their culture with other students and the Rockford community by integrating learning opportunities outside the classroom. 

  • Students are encouraged to participate in school events and clubs, such as the Multicultural Club.
  • Outings to museums, restaurants, parks, and other places of interest are organized throughout the year so students can visit Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee as well as Rockford and its surroundings.
  • Special projects and classes like chemistry, first aid, nutrition and pottery give the students additional learning experiences. 

US F-1 Student Visa: All foreign students must obtain an F-1 Student Visa to study in the United States. Students will obtain an F-1 Visa application (Form I-20) once they are accepted into the Rockford University ESL program. Please see our Application Process. More information about student visa >>

Course Descriptions

Reading / Writing (R/W)
Reading/Writing classes teach students effective reading strategies, which will improve their reading comprehension, reading speed, and ability to summarize texts.  Students will read extensively to build vocabulary and learn how to predict meaning and minimize dictionary dependence. Through daily and weekly writing assignments, students focus on effective writing strategies progressing from sentence to paragraph to essay development.  Students study various types of writing objectives and learn how best to focus on clarity, cohesiveness, and interest for audience.  Reading, writing, and speaking opportunities are combined when students read articles, write summaries and present the summaries to their classmates. Although some classes focus specifically on grammar, based on students’ language levels, both reading and writing classes cover grammar components within the context of materials studied.  Mini grammar lessons provide awareness and clarity of grammar aspects as students read and analyze reading and writing. 

Listening/Speaking (L/S)
Although all ESL classes integrate listening and speaking opportunities through student participation, specific classes focus on strategies for effective listening and speaking.  Pronunciation and enunciation instruction and practice help students speak more clearly.  Students have many opportunities through class participation and presentations to listen and speak.  Class presentations given at the end of each session allow students to learn effective presentation skills and gain confidence in speaking.  Rockford University has an established Conversation Partner volunteer program of students, faculty, staff and the greater Rockford Community, and each student is assigned one or more partners to practice English outside of class. Our language lab provides additional listening and pronunciation instruction and practice.

TOEFL Preparation Classes
All Rockford University ESL instruction helps students prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test, which is required for acceptance to most American Colleges and Universities, and since our program is specifically reading based, it is particularly geared toward academic achievement.  Our standard curriculum program teaches language learning strategies and skills, but does not teach to a specific test.  However, we do offer a specific TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Test) self-study course with books, CDs and access to internet interactive testing materials that all students can take in addition to their regular classes.  We suggest all students take this course before taking the official IBT TOEFL test. 


Apply Now 

Application process >>


Department Information

English as a Second Language (ESL)
Kent Center
5050 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108
fax: 001-815-226-4161
Maria Diemer, ESL Coordinator

Mon-Fri - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm