North Central College - Naperville, IL

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I apply to the English Language Institute (ELI)?

You will need to fill out an ELI application form and provide certain additional documents (proof of financial support and a copy of your passport). For details, visit our How to Apply to the ELI page.

What is Naperville like?

Naperville is a beautiful, safe town located 45 kilometers from downtown Chicago (30 minutes by train). Naperville is a safe, friendly city of 150,000 and has been ranked as one of the "best places to live" in the United States by Money Magazine.

North Central has a beautiful 65-acre campus that is located in a National Historic District. The campus is also a two-minute walk from downtown Naperville's stores, banks, restaurants, parks and coffee shops. Students get around town using many forms of transportation: bikes, cars, and trains. Also, Chicago O'Hare International Airport is only 30 minutes away, so many students enjoy easy access to family. 

What is North Central College like?

North Central College is a four-year liberal arts university with 2,800 undergraduate students and 260 graduate students. Students can choose from more than 55 undergraduate majors and graduate programming in seven areas. North Central welcomes students from all over the globe and currently has students from 36 different countries studying at the undergraduate or graduate level. 

North Central College is committed to academic excellence and to preparing students for the competitive global workforce. North Central has been consistently recognized for outstanding academics. U.S. News and World Report ranks North Central as one of "America's Best Colleges," and Princeton Review recognizes North Central as one of the "Best in the Midwest."

Challenging academic preparation is not the only thing that makes North Central a special place. Many students say that North Central feels like a second family. In ELI and college-level classes, students are surrounded by people who care and want them to succeed. Take a tour of our great school today!

Do I need a student visa? If so, how do I get one?

Most full-time students in the ELI are required to have an F-1 student visa that allows full-time study. 

To get an F-1 student visa, you need to apply to the ELI. Then, once you are accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter, an I-20 form, and information about how to apply for an F-1 student visaUsing the SEVIS ID number on your I-20 form, you will then make an appointment with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy nearest you (in your country) and take these documents with you to apply for an F-1 visa. 

Please note: If you are in the United States in a status other than F-1 (e.g., H4, L2, etc.) and are unsure if your visa status allows full-time study, please contact the International Student Advisor for more information. Individuals who hold B1/B2 tourist status are not eligible to enroll and must change status to F-1 before beginning classes.

I've been admitted - what else do I need to do?

  • Visit our Online Orientation for detailed information about Naperville, what to pack, arrival, and much more!
  • Complete and submit the Student Health Record and be ready to show proof of immunization for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and tetanus/diphtheria (TD or Tdap).
  • Make health insurance plans. All students must have insurance to cover major medical expenses in the United States. Students who do not have health insurance must enroll in a health plan underwritten by HTH International specifically for international students enrolled at North Central College. Visit our website for plan details or to enroll.

What ELI classes offered? When are they offered?

All classes are held on the campus of North Central College. Classes are typically held daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The English Language Institute has four start terms: Fall Term (September), Winter Term (January), Spring Term (March), and Summer Term (July). 

Please visit our calendar for detailed start and end dates. Visit our Levels and Courses page to learn more about classes and to see a sample class schedule.

How will I be placed in classes? Do I need a TOEFL or IELTS score to attend the English Language Institute?

Students take a placement test when they arrive at North Central College. The placement test assesses reading, writing, listening, speaking, and grammar skills. Then, students are placed in levels based on the results. 

Students do NOT need a TOEFL or IELTS score before starting the English Language Institute.

Do I have access to North Central College’s facilities and co-curricular programs?

Yes, ELI students are like all North Central College students and have access to all services and facilities on campus. ELI students live among U.S. undergraduate students and are encouraged to participate in the many international activities on campus, ranging from an annual campus-wide international series of films and lectures to the events and meetings provided by a very active International Club

How long will I have to study at ELI before I can demonstrate an English proficiency level that is needed for admission into North Central College’s degree-seeking programs?

The amount of time you need to stay in the ELI depends on your English level when you start the program. If students start in the beginning level, they may need approximately one calendar year (12 months) to complete the requirements for undergraduate or graduate admission at North Central College. Students in the intermediate and advanced levels of the ELI may be eligible to take one or two North Central College classes.

How do I progress from level to level?

A student’s ability to successfully pass from one level to the next is based on a number of factors:

  • Course Grades
    • Students must maintain a B- (80%) or higher in English Language Institute classes to pass to the next level.
  • Instructor evaluation and recommendation
    • Instructors provide midterm and final grade reports, which refelct a student's preparedness for the next level.
  • Institutional TOEFL Score
    • Students who are conditionally admitted must show substantial progress on their institutional TOEFL to pass out of the program.

Can I be conditionally admitted to North Central College?

Yes, students can be conditionally admitted to North Central College undergraduate and graduate programs.

For undergraduate study, students must complete all undergraduate requirements except English language proficiency. Students interested in conditional undergraduate admission will work with the Assistant Director of International Admission, Ms. Megan Otermat, to get admitted to their undergraduate degree program. To start this process, students should complete the online undergraduate application and mark that they are interested in conditional admission.

Students interested in graduate conditional admission must complete all requirements for their selected graduate program. Please note that each degree has different requirements. 

Can I enroll part-time in the ELI?

Permanent residents and U.S. citizens are eligible for part-time study. Please contact the ELI Program Director for more details.

Can I live on campus?

Yes, most students who are enrolled full-time in the ELI are required to live on campus unless they are living with a family member in the Naperville area.  Take a look at our residence halls!

More questions? Contact Katherine (Kate) Pope, the English Language Institute Director.