Pathway Programs at UM’s English Language Institute
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Pathway Programs at UM’s English Language Institute

With 31 of the Top 100 universities in the world located in the USA, it’s no surprise that every year thousands of bright minds from all over the world flock to the region to study and experience a taste of American life.

More international students study at the 4,000 US universities than any other country, but for many, learning English can become a barrier to making those dreams come true. Thankfully, American universities know the importance of attracting international talent and many offer programs that can bring students’ English skills up-to-speed in preparation for overseas study.

For international students pursuing higher education in the US, pathway programs are a fantastic method for overcoming this global challenge, setting out to bring English language prowess up to the required level for study at a US institution shortly thereafter. Many universities run their own pathway programs and grant those who pass immediate entry into an undergraduate degree at their desired institution.

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The University of Montana (UM) offers excellent pathway options for international students. For those wishing to study in the vibrant community of Missoula, Montana, the English Language Institute (ELI) is a great place for perfecting your English expertise.  The ELI brings together students from more than thirty different countries, each to polish and hone their understanding of the language, and for many, to prepare for undergraduate degrees at UM.

At face value, a pathway program is a great way to improve your English, but in reality it’s so much more. Moving to an unfamiliar country is a big deal, and some of the cultural and educational differences in America can be vast. From the streets to the classroom, a pathway program gives students the chance to adjust to everyday life in a new culture before getting stuck into a degree.

Undertaking a pathway program also allows students more time to make an informed decision about which major they wish to pursue. Programs like these in the US give students the opportunity to take a year out to experiment with different courses – ideal for helping students better understand their talents and make an informed decision regarding further study.

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The mission of Montana’s ELI is to help young minds overcome their issues with English and unleash their full potential. For those with TOEFL scores below 51, the ELI offers an intensive Conditional Admission course, after which students must reach the required test score or receive a letter of recommendation from the Institute in order to progress to an undergraduate degree. Pathway Admission, on the other hand, is aimed at students with TOEFL scores between 52-69 and offers the academic, language and cultural support needed to prepare students for their degrees on successful completion of the program.

Students who undertake a pathway program can choose from programs in Business and Entrepreneurship; the Creative Arts; Education Studies; Environment; Health Professions; Human Sciences; and Science, Technology and Mathematics to tailor their experience to their specific field of interest. Each option includes different courses that are specific to their fields; for instance, those who enter the Health field will undertake a Biology course, and those who are more into Business will study Microeconomics.

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The United States can be an expensive place to study, but at University of Montana international students are offered a number of invaluable scholarship opportunities. All international students who progress to undergraduate level are automatically considered for the International Student Scholarship . Based on grade point average as well as SAT or ACT scores, students could be eligible for $3,000-$15,000 per year. On top of this, students have the chance to apply for the Davidson Honors College Presidential Leadership Scholarship – a reward that recognises outstanding talent, academic performance and contribution to the community; along with specific Academic Department Scholarships; and Intercollegiate Athletic Scholarships.

A pathway course at ELI isn’t just a means to an end. Throughout the course, students get to enjoy a uniquely multicultural environment with fantastic natural surroundings.

“I came here because I want to improve my English and I want to pass the TEOFL test and to go to the UM after ELI. I like it here so much because there’s a lot of snow, I love snow and I love skiing,” says  Bohan Hu, an international student from China. “The most special thing to me is how many friends I’ve made from other countries and cultures. I love it!”

Pathway Programs at the ELI are a fantastic way for international students to become comfortable with the world’s most studied foreign language, and begin their university degrees with confidence.  Not only do students learn English, but they also lay the groundwork for a successful academic career at UM and have a lot of fun along the way.

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