Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I attend Western Illinois University if I have not yet taken the TOEFL?

A: Yes. You can take the WESL Placement Test to determine if you need to study English at WESL or if you have the English proficiency necessary to study at Western Illinois University.

After you have successfully completed the WESL program, you have met the English language requirement at Western Illinois University and can pursue a degree program on the condition that you meet the university and departmental criteria for admission.

Please contact our International Admissions Office for more information on our undergraduate and graduate programs.

Q: What is the WESL Placement Test?

The WESL Placement Test is given at the beginning of each semester to each non-native-English speaking student who does not meet the English language requirement for studying at Western Illinois University. Students must take the WESL Placement Test during new student orientation week of the same semester they plan to begin their studies: in August for each Fall semester; in January for each Spring semester; and in late May/early June for the Summer term.

Students are not allowed to take the exam earlier than the semester they plan to attend WESL and/or Western Illinois University without written permission from the WESL Director. Based on the scores, students are placed into one of three levels. The WESL Placement Test includes reading, speaking, listening, language use, and written structure components.

Q: What are the three different ESL course levels at WESL?

A: The WESL Program offers 3 levels: Foundation (beginning), Intermediate, and University Preparation (advanced). At each level, students are enrolled in 4 courses of study; reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Grammar is integrated into all four courses.

Q: Once I have graduated from WESL Institute, do I need to take the TOEFL exam to enter Western Illinois University?

A: No. If you have been accepted by WIU and have successfully completed the WESL program, you do not need to take the TOEFL exam to study at WIU.

Q: What if some of my English skills are stronger than others?

A: You must take all of your WESL classes in the same level, even if some of your English skills are stronger than others.

Q: Will I get an opportunity to improve my conversation skills during classes?

A: Yes. A Conversation Mentors Program is offered at WESL in which WESL students meet with American students, professors, and members of the Macomb community to talk about various topics related to student coursework at WESL. In addition, all WESL students may participate in Conversation Partners, which is available for all international students at WIU. Weekly presentations followed by discussions are also scheduled for WESL students.

Q: Will I receive help becoming familiar with WIU and Macomb?

A: Yes! The New International Student Orientation takes place the week prior to the first week of classes each semester at WIU. The Orientation leader will help you through the process of becoming acquainted with WESL, WIU, and Macomb.  Some examples of what will be covered include: tours of campus and community, how to open a bank account, how to use the buses, where to get a cell phone, information on language placement tests, and we'll answer any other questions you may have.

Q: What is the background of the teachers at WESL Institute?

A: All the WESL teachers possess a graduate degree(s) in ESL and/or ESL-related fields. All teachers have traveled to several countries, lived in other countries, studied abroad, and/or speak other languages - and enjoy helping students develop their English skills.