Intensive Academic English Program
Offered in Fall, Spring and Summer
The ALP has one of the oldest intensive English programs in the U.S.
Courses are offered year-round and help students improve their grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.
- 18 hours of instruction per week (Summer A = 24 hours per week)
- ‘University style’ schedule – classes are usually at different times every day, at least one class every day (any time Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 6:00pm)
- Small classes (12-16 students)
- 1-2 hours of homework every evening; one writing assignment per week
- Academic English – our courses focus on preparing students to study at university in the US. This includes essay writing, presentations, note-taking and discussions.
- Integrated skills – each class focuses on more than one skill, which is a more natural way to learn a language.
- Thematic learning – grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation are best learned in context. Each week teachers explore different themes to provide content for students to discuss and write about.
- Error correction – making errors is an important part of the learning process. We encourage as much spoken and written communication as possible, and provide plenty of oral and written feedback to help learners become more conscious of their language, and to help them improve.
- Team teaching – each Intensive course is taught by two or three instructors, who work together to create courses specifically tailored to the students. Each teacher brings their own style and expertise, so learning is constantly varied.
- Critical thinking – it’s not just about learning the language, but about learning to engage with themes and topics in individual ways. We teach students to be inquisitive and curious learners, and to really question what they see and read.
- Authentic Materials – as soon as possible, we introduce as much authentic material as we can, from newspaper and magazine articles, to novels, plays, lectures, movies and music. Reading, listening to and watching real English all help expand vocabulary, improve comprehension, and make the language more ‘automatic’.
- U.S. Culture – learning about the city and country in which students are living helps to make the learning experience richer and expands learning beyond the classroom.
The ALP has eight levels of instruction, from pre-intermediate to very high advanced.
Important Note: The ALP does not teach beginners (level 0 and level 1). If you speak no English, or speak just basic English, the ALP is not the right program for you.
Level 2 pre-intermediate students must be able to speak and write about familiar topics and be able to understand and read straightforward information in English.(CEF-R A2 level) before coming to the ALP. Applicants scoring below level 2 on the Oxford online placement exam will not be given admission to our program. All students are re-tested when they arrive. If a student is too low for our program – meaning they cannot understand the class and cannot participate – they will not be able to continue (regardless of online placement exam score). We will give a 100% tuition refund and help with a transfer to another school. Note: It is very important that all ALP applicants take the placement exam themselves with no help and no dictionary.
Summer Sessions Note
Summer A is 3 weeks, super-intensive: 24 hours per week.
Summer B and C are 4 weeks, 18 hours per week.
Students can study for one session (A, or B, or C), two sessions (A+B, or B+C), or all three sessions (A+B+C). In each session (A, B, C) students will study different material and topics, and will usually have different instructors. Students will not repeat material in each session. Students who choose A+B+C will be in classes with students studying one session (A, or B, or C), or two sessions (A+B, B+C). A+B+C is not a separate course.
Summer Intensive program levels 3-9 follows a project-based curriculum. In each session, participants will study academic skills and improve their English by exploring different aspects of one main topic. The work will lead to the creation of a written and spoken project that will be presented on the last day of each course. Level 2 will follow a regular textbook-based curriculum.
Dates and Prices
Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change.
For a full explanation of fees, see below.
Apply to Intensive Program
Prospective students should read Visa Procedures and Regulations for International Students prior to applying.
Applicants must apply online. Only applications submitted from the ALP Web site are accepted.
- Completed online application form.
- Non-refundable application fee: U.S. $150.00 for online application; and non-refundable $350.00 tuition deposit, payable by credit card only. These fees are paid when you complete the ALP's online application.
In general, an F-1 (student visa) is required for study in the US. International applicants are required to request an I-20 in order to obtain the F-1 visa and must enroll in a full-time program (18 hours or more per week).
If you are already holding an F-1 visa and attending another school you must also transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to the ALP. Please speak to your Advisor at your current school.
To receive an I-20, please upload your ALP admission letter with the following documents (see below) to the online I-20 application page (Compass). You will receive your admission letter and I-20 instructions after you are admitted to the program.
- Bank statement: this document must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must be from checking or savings accounts and must show sufficient available funds to pay the estimated tuition, fees and living expenses.
• To see required balance for I-20, please see the "Total" amount for your program, above.
- Sponsor letter: If you are sending your own bank statement you are not required to submit a sponsor letter. The sponsor letter is necessary only if a bank statement will be submitted on your behalf by another person. The person whose bank statement you will submit is your sponsor.
Your sponsor must submit a letter (sponsor letter) stating that s/he will provide you with full financial support during the period of your study in the ALP. Full financial support includes: tuition, fees, and living expenses. The sponsor letter must be in English and dated within the last three months. It must also be signed by the sponsor.
Photocopy of your passport’s identification page.
• The page in your passport that shows your photograph, your name and your date of birth.
Once your completed application and accompanying materials and fees have been received and processed, you will receive a US government I-20 A-B form. Bring the I-20 A-B form, along with your letter of acceptance and original financial documents, to a US embassy or consulate in your country to apply for a student (F-1) visa.
Students must apply online.
ALP Levels, Placement & Testing
Find out about our levels
Connect with Us
Learn more about American Language Program at Columbia University School of Professional Studies, or contact the program advisor.Request more information
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Commission on English Language Accreditation
The Intensive Program is accredited by the Commission on English Language Accreditation (CEA) for the period of April 2014 through August 2019. For this offering, the American Language Program agrees to uphold CEA Standards for English Language Programs and institutions. The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes CEA as a national accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions.