Pathway programme
California State University, Northridge

For students everywhere, attending university in the US is more than just a means to get a job. It’s the experience of a lifetime.

The US higher education sector is one of the most respected worldwide. Its institutions dominate the top of global league tables and is home to a considerable number of Nobel Prize winners. Of its graduates, countless have made names for themselves at home and abroad, making an impact in numerous fields. Studying here means following in the footsteps of these greats.

But it’s not just academics and career preparation that draw over one million students to enrol in US colleges and universities each year. It’s not just the destination that’s drawing them in, but all the possibilities that come with it. From impressive cities to natural splendour, from centuries of grand history to its position as the world’s superpower today, living here is to be inspired and enjoy personal development not replicable anywhere else.

Considering all the above, it’s no wonder there’s no shortage of international interest in US colleges and universities. From 2004 to 2016, the number of international students newly enrolled in associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and or doctorate degrees more than doubled from 138,000 to 364,000.

Pathway programme

university of Oregon

These students enjoy quality outcomes and to some extent large, diverse populations – all of this and more is found in US colleges and universities.

First, however, prospective students need to prepare. Different students come from different levels of academic and English language skills that may not meet the requirements of US universities. Many universities now have language learning and academic preparation centres to help international students transition into a different culture.

Known as pathway programmes, their importance shouldn’t be underestimated. These programmes not only help sharpen English language skills, they also instil confidence in all manners of communication. It’s also where students learn the American way of learning and teaching, which may differ greatly from where one comes from. For example, rote learning and memorisation may be the most common learning method in many Asian countries but deeply unsuitable for many courses in the US.

Joining a pathway programme also gives students more time to expand their knowledge of their future study destination before entering. With this, they’ll be able to confidently decide whether their university suits their future academic goals, integrate into the campus community and explore some of the country. It’s a win-win arrangement to prepare you for American university life.

Here are three academic institutes that lead international students to world-class American universities:


The best starting point for your US study abroad experience is CSUN’s Student Success Pathway. Designed for first-time freshmen and gap-year students, it’s the ideal programme to develop the academic and English-language skills needed to succeed at CSUN and beyond.

Joining this programme will ensure a smooth transition into your CSUN university degree. Pathway students receive pre-approved admission into the university upon maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher in all university credit courses and meet the English proficiency requirement.

Pathway programme

California State University, Northridge

CSUN’s Intensive English Program (IEP) is a year-round, on-campus, academically focused programme that ensures you acquire the English-language skills needed for success in an undergraduate or graduate level degree of your choice at CSUN or at other American colleges and universities.

There’s also the IEP with Conditional Admission. This programme pre-approves students for admission to degree programmes even before they meet CSUN’s English language proficiency requirements. Once you achieve the English proficiency, you can quickly enter your desired degree programme of choice.

Located on the West Coast, just a short drive from its famed sunny beaches and the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside, CSUN international students find themselves in a prime spot to explore the best the US has to offer.


Since 1976, Penn State’s IECP has been the go-to choice for international students looking to improve their English language proficiency before enrolling in a college or university on the US East Coast.

Whether it’s undergraduate or graduate studies you seek, the IECP has the courses to prepare you for it. The curriculum here is cutting-edge, comprehensive and taught by experienced faculty. All aspects of proficiency will be taught, including grammar, oral communication, listening, reading, writing and test skills, in addition to providing opportunities to connect with current Penn State students and classes.

After passing the highest level, students will receive a certificate of English Language Proficiency for Penn State. Another option is the Dual Enrolment, where students take two IECP courses and two undergraduate Penn State Courses (one course for graduate-level classes) after successfully completing the highest level.

At Happy Valley, there are plenty of social opportunities to complement the IECP. Check out what the local friendly community has to offer or hop on a car and you’re just a ride away to world-famous major cities such as New York and Washington DC.


The University of Oregon’s American English Institute (AEI) is a leader in English language teaching, research and service. As part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the AEI offers English language training for general use, specific purposes and academic purposes.

Pathway programme

University of Oregon

Ranked in the top two percent of public universities, the University makes a fitting base for those seeking academic excellence and a wide range of undergraduate programmes. If you want to improve your English language skills and experience American academic culture before your degree, the American English Institute (AEI) is the place for you.

AEI faculty hold Master’s degrees, doctorates and have extensive teaching experience. Class sizes are around 15 students, allowing instructors to interact with learners on a personal basis.

As an AEI student, you will be integrated into campus life and the broader Eugene community through various opportunities. There are many organised activities AEI students can take part in, from cultural events to cooking classes; from volunteer programmes to trips to Portland. Students can choose to stay in residence halls and with full access to the University’s clubs and student groups, there are plenty of opportunities to practise their English and familiarise themselves with US campus culture.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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