Center for International Studies
WESL Mission Statement:
The mission of WESL Institute is to provide an intensive program in academic English for international students who are preparing to enter an American college or university. The WESL curriculum is designed and taught by a professional faculty to prepare students academically, socially, and culturally for success as university students.
WESL Institute provides students the opportunity to improve their English skills through an efficient and effective 20-hour-per-week intensive ESL program. Established in 1977, WESL is one of approximately 50 institutes in the United States accredited through the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation. WESL's accreditation is valid through April 2017.
WESL serves those international students who do not speak English as a native language and do not meet WIU's English language proficiency requirement. Courses are offered during the Fall and Spring semesters (16 weeks each) and the Summer session (10 weeks) at three class levels: Foundation (Basic); Intermediate; and University Preparation. All instructors hold graduate degrees or are working toward Master degrees and have received special training in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). Upon successful completion of the WESL program, students who meet all other admission requirements are admitted as regular degree-seeking students at WIU. These students are assisted in their transition to the University with special advising and registration sessions.
Besides providing services to students seeking a degree at WIU, WESL also serves individuals in the west-central Illinois region who want to improve their English skills for professional and/or personal development.
Check out our WESL flyer for a quick overview.
After a full-service orientation, the WESL program runs 16 weeks in the Fall & Spring semesters and 10 weeks in the Summer. There are 20 hours of instruction each week. The summer program is equivalent to a 16-week semester program, and includes an additional two-day Orientation before classes start. There are 30 hours of instruction each week.
Upon arrival to WIU, students are given a test and placed at the appropriate level. Classes at the Foundation and Intermediate levels include: reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and integrated skills. Classes at the University Preparation include reading, writing, speaking, listening, research writing, and integrated skills. At higher levels, special emphasis is given to lecture comprehension, note taking, academic writing, discussion, and critical thinking skills. Classes are small, averaging 10-16 students, so students will receive the training needed to succeed at the university.
Beyond Class Time:
In addition to language classes, there are opportunities to interact with native English speakers:
- WESL students regularly meet with Americans for conversation. Lower level WESL students meet with Conversation Partners; higher level students participate in "class exchanges" in which American students from a university class meet WESL students for conversation.
- There is one field trip (see Cultural Excursions) each semester to places such as the Abraham Lincoln sites in Springfield, Illinois, Quad Cities, Peoria, etc.
- There are also many opportunities to join in activities and clubs (International Student Organizations, Cultural Cafe, and Coffee Culture, and Conversation) with other international students as well as Americans.
- Individual English language tutoring is also available.
Program Costs To Attend WESL Institute (Fall or Spring):
The WESL program fee ($4,500) will be due prior to your acceptance documents being issued, generally two months in advance of the beginning of the selected semester. . Payment can be made by bank drafts (certified checks) from a US bank, in US currency or wire transfers.
Western Illinois University has partnered with peerTransfer to streamline the tuition payment process for our international students. peerTransfer allows you to pay from any country and any bank. Excellent foreign exchange rates are offered allowing you to pay in your home currency (in most cases) and save a significant amount of money compared to traditional banks. You will be able to track the progress of your payment throughout the transfer process via a student dashboard, and you will be notified via email when your payment is received by Western Illinois University.
Please visit http://wiu.peertransfer.com to process your international currency payment through wire transfer.
Payments can be mailed to:International Admissions Office
Memorial Hall 342 Western Illinois University 1 University Circle Macomb IL 61455
If students cannot make payment, they will be denied enrollment in WESL Institute. Students with governmental scholarships are excluded from this policy. The following are WESL related fees:
Application fee: $30.00 (assessed only one time)
WESL placement test fee: $100.00
WESL tuition per semester (fall, spring, summer): $4,500.00
Textbook (estimation): $250.00
Government Sponsored Student Fee: $250.00
For the most updated information on additional fees, please go to: