Frequently Asked Questions

How long is each level?
During the spring and fall semesters each level is 14 weeks, divided into 7-week sessions. During the summer each level is 12 weeks, divided into 6-week modules.

Which classes will I take?
You will take the four core classes of reading, writing, listening and speaking, and grammar from Monday to Friday. You can choose an elective class or classes which change each level.  These classes could include American Culture, Idioms, Current Events, pronunciation or TOEFL preparation, to name a few. Each student will take 6 classes per session.

Will I need to buy books?
Yes.  You will need to purchase a book for EACH of your classes, including elective classes. Students purchase books at the beginning of each level.  This means that students are required to buy new books every time they change levels.

If I enter in the middle of the level, do I have to buy books?
Yes. You are required to be prepared for class while you are here.

If I come for only six or seven weeks, do I have to buy the books?
Yes.   Each book is designed to be used for 14 or 12 weeks.  If you choose to stay less time, you are still required to be prepared for class with the books you need.  You may choose not to finish the level and study with the unused portion of the book when you return home.

Will I take a placement test?
Yes.  When you arrive you will take a test so that we can place you in a class level.  We will put you in a level according to the score of that test and the levels that are available.  If you have any questions or concerns about your placement, please speak to the Associate Director of Academic Programs.  Please understand that the Associate Director will make the final decision about students’ placement and English language level.

What will my daily class schedule be?
Your schedule may vary based on enrollment and classroom availability. View an example.

How will I be graded?
Your teachers will give you a grade based on your work in class at the end of each seven weeks.  You can always access your grades by using your username and password to access the Canvas online system. The minimum grade to pass is a C (70%).  Your username and password were included in your acceptance package. If you are having trouble finding it, please contact the Office of Admissions at

How else will I be evaluated?
At the end of each level (14 or 12 weeks) all ESL students have the option to take an internally administered English proficiency  exam.  This exam will help to judge student progress and can be used for matriculation at the university.

What will happen if I fail my classes?
If you fail your classes, you will have to repeat the level until successful completion.

What if I am sick and cannot attend class?
If you are sick, you must go to the Health Center (the student health services on campus) to get a note to excuse you from class.  This note should be given to the Associate Director of the program.  All unexcused absences will be calculated and applied towards the minimum hours (80% of total class hours) required to maintain your F1 status.

Will I have a chance to interact with the college and outside community?
Yes! We offer many opportunities for students to interact with other American students and the whole college community. International students have access to all college facilities, clubs/societies on campus, sports and much more.  Rider has over 150 clubs on campus and ELI students can join them free of charge. We also offer many off-campus trips so students can explore New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and others!

Will my classes ever be canceled?
We may cancel classes in the case of severe weather conditions or any other unforeseen circumstance. Announcements are made in class and posted on our website. We also have a text messaging system with alerts.