English (ESL)

20 hours per week; 4-60 weeks

Empire State English offers Intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for university students and other adults, both those who live locally as well as visitors to the area. Our IELP involves at 20 hours per week of instruction.


Program Overview

Full Time Intensive ESL Program

Minimum length of study: 4 weeks (1 course/80 hours).

Level - Beginner to Advanced

5 levels of English courses, from absolute beginner to advanced. Placement tests can be taken upon arrival or while still abroad.


Elective and Specialized Courses

Elective and specialized courses are available and include conversation, presentation, and TOEFL preparation.

Private and Group Courses Available

New sessions begin monthly.  Are you interested in private classes tailored for your level and/or your industry?  Let us know.

Program Fees start at $600/week


We Make It Easy: What do you need?


For International Students Coming From Abroad

All international students coming from abroad need an I-20. You’ll need this to obtain an F-1 visa from the U. S. embassy in your country. We can help! To issue your I-20, we’ll need:

  • a copy of the first page of your passport

  • declaration of financial support

  • proof of student health insurance

  • sponsor letter (if applicable)

  • non-refundable, one-time I-20 application fee:  $200.00  


For International Students in The U.S.

If you are in the United States and would like to transfer to Empire State English, you will need:

  • a copy of the first page of your passport
  • declaration of financial support
  • proof of student health insurance
  • sponsor letter (if applicable)
  • current DSO contact information
  • copy of your current I-20
  • non-refundable, one-time I-20 application fee: $200.00


For Students With a B or J VISA

Interested in changing your status? We will update your I-20 monthly until your status change has been approved. We will need:

  • a copy of the first page of your passport

  • a copy of current visa

  • declaration of financial support

  • proof of student health insurance

  • sponsor letter (if applicable)

  • non-refundable, one-time I-20 application fee:  $200.00

  • non-refundable, one-time Change of Status fee:  $250.00


English Course Levels and Descriptions

Level 100

At the beginner level, students will develop an understanding of several aspects of grammar and synthesize that knowledge into sentences for written and verbal communication. Students will develop their speaking and listening skills using the simple present tense. They will have basic conversations and share information with others. In the reading and writing course, students will demonstrate the ability to construct grammatically correct sentences about a variety of topics including personal information and descriptions. Students will have the ability to read information for detail and share that information with others. In the pronunciation course, students will gain an understanding of specific aspects of pronunciation that will help them work towards intelligible speech and improved listening comprehension.

Level 200

In the integrated skills courses, students will continue to develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills using the simple past, past continuous, and future tenses. Students will develop their speaking and listening skills allowing them to carry on basic conversations, obtain goods and services, and extract information from short broadcasts. Students will develop skills in composing, revising, and editing a paragraph. They will write well-developed descriptive and opinion paragraphs. Students will speak intelligibly using their knowledge of syllable stress, silent letters, past tense endings, and intonation.

Level 300

In the integrated skills courses, students will continue to develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills with the narrative tenses. They will also use auxiliary verbs with a special focus on the present and past perfect, learn about phrasal verbs, and be able to express hypothetical situations. Students will develop their speaking and listening skills, allowing them to express their opinions, compare and contrast, and share their feelings about real and imaginary events. The focus of the reading course will be to mark up texts and to identify key facts, sequence events, and summarize information from a text. In the writing class, students will learn to link shorter elements sequentially, narrate a story, and construct three paragraph essays in a variety of formats including cause and effect, persuasive, compare and contrast, argumentative and narrative.

Level 400

In the integrated skills courses, students will use the future verb tenses (simple future, future progressive, and future perfect) in speaking and writing. They will be able to use auxiliary, modal, and full verbs. In the speaking course, students will interact with others with a degree of fluency and spontaneity on a wide variety of topics. The reading courses will help students understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in their field of specialization. For writing, students will produce a clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of opinions. They will be able to write a five paragraph problem-solution essay.

Level 500

As students prepare to transition to academic life, the integrated skills courses will allow students to master a wide range of grammatical structures and use them effectively in speaking and in writing. They will use a wide range of modals, understand idiomatic language, and use linking devices in speaking and writing. Students will learn to restate or discuss topics from a complex presentation as well as present about a subject including an introduction, supporting details, and a conclusion. Students will read and understand a variety of texts and be able to identify explicit or implicit meaning. The reading course will also help them continue to develop their critical thinking skills. Students will transition to academic writing by constructing a research paper on a topic of choice.


Student Support Services

College Connections

If you plan to attend college in New York after your intensive English study, we will help you apply to the college as you are applying for your I-20 from us. Select local colleges rely on Empire State English to help prepare international students with the English skills they need to be successful while pursuing educational degree programs. Based on initial testing, a student may be referred to Empire State English or contact us directly to develop a customized program to bring his or her English language skills to the required level. Once you are a student with us, we continue to help guide you toward your future goals.

International Student Health Insurance

We require that F-1 visa students obtain health insurance prior to applying for their I-20. This is because unexpected accidents or illnesses can cause financial hardship without insurance. Empire State English provides helpful resources regarding insurance.

Housing (F1 Student Resources)

There are several housing options for students studying English with us. Each has its own costs and requirements. We recommend that you do an initial homestay so that you are immersed in English language and American culture as you are studying with us. You can stay in your homestay for the entire time you study, or you can opt to live elsewhere. Click the button below to learn about our trusted homestay partner, StudentRoomStay. StudentRoomStay housing costs start at $43/night plus a $299 matching fee.


Study In The United States

You have your Form I-20. Now what?

    • Review & Sign your Document
    • Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee and visa application fee (DS-160)
    • Schedule an interview at the local U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
    • Once your visa is approved, let us know, and you can finalize travel plans to Albany. You are permitted to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your initial I-20.
    • Enter the U.S. in valid F-1 Status
    • Arrive in Albany & Report to ESE


What Our Students Say

It is very pleasant to find an English school that teaches and guides international students; a school that makes you feel cozy. Few months ago, I made one of the best decisions on enrolling in Empire State English. My goal was to improve my English skills to take my English proficiency exam and apply to Universities, and I did it in less than 6 months! I loved the professionalism, energy and the enthusiasm the teachers have and transmit to students. ESE’s classes are small and the curriculum well organized, which allowed me to get my questions answered easily and improve my skills faster. Also, I learned a lot through the student advising. Through them, I discovered the barriers I thought I had to apply for my master’s degree were not barriers. For me, ESE wasn’t only an English school, but also my guide to apply to different Universities. I was impressed by the organization of the school and the very good connections they have to guide international students to further improve education. I am grateful to have been part of a fantastic school that teaches, guides and welcomes students from across the world.
I couldn’t have done it without ESE!

G Rivera