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 ESL Academic Calendar.

Length of Program: Students join us for 1 to 18 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 1:00 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 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 >>

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

Grammar (G)

Grammar classes uses a four-step approach which takes students from context to communication – blending content, reading, writing, listening, speaking and critical thinking in a complete program, and preparing students to understand and use English more effectively. This class is centered on thematic instruction which allows students to interact with grammar in realistic contexts and moves them beyond controlled practice to authentic communication. This class offers readings which exposes students to different genres and gives them the opportunity to use grammar in an authentic manner.  Explicit pronunciation activities give students the opportunity to practice their pronunciation fluency and accuracy.

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.  Our language lab provides additional listening and pronunciation instruction and practice which includes online access 24/7.

Academic Preparation (AP)

Academic Preparation classes integrate all four language domains through thematic units which range from business to science and global issues.  In this class students learn how to share ideas by understanding and responding to ideas in the content of English.  Students will participate in multi level projects such as an ESL newspaper and formal debates.  There is also a focus on TOEFL preparation which gives students the strategies necessary to pass this English proficiency test.

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Application process >>

Department Information

English as a Second Language (ESL)
Burpee 2nd Floor
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