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About English Language Programs

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The English Language Programs (ELP) at OpenEd offer English language learners an opportunity to develop their language ability, academic skills and overall understanding of Canadian culture.

Our programs and pathways have been developed to meet the English language requirements of international students entering undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the University of Guelph. 

 

Our English Language Programs:

  • Help international students develop lifelong skills that can be applied to a range of professional, academic and social contexts
  • Prepare students to become independent, critical and reflective language learners who use effective learning strategies
  • Provide learner-centred opportunities that promote student well-being
  • Reflect an understanding that language and culture are mutually dependent

Is ELP right for you?

At the University of Guelph English Language Programs, we are looking for students with strong academic skills and qualifications. If you are looking to improve your English language and academic skills, our English for Academic Purposes program may be just right for you.

Find out more about our programs and pathways.

Who are our students?

Students in the English Language Program come from all over the world.

Find out more about our students in our Humans of ELP project.

Watch videos of our students on our YouTube page.


Frequently Asked Questions

About the Program
What is the focus of the English Language Certificate Program (ELCP)?

The ELCP is an intensive program that focuses on the development of academic English skills to help you succeed in university studies. Students in this program have a goal to study for undergraduate or graduate degrees.

What subjects will I study?

Each week you will study the following five subject areas: grammar, reading, writing, listening and speaking.

How many students are in each class?

Class sizes are small to give you opportunity to interact with the teacher and other students.

How many hours per week will I be in the classroom?

You will have 20 hours of class per week which will cover the following subjects: reading, writing/grammar, listening and speaking.

Will we have conversation practice with native speakers?

Each week, you may have at least one hour of conversation practice with a University of Guelph student. You will also have the opportunity to engage in more conversation while on campus through our Buddy Program (if you are placed in the English Language Programs' Homestay Program).

What level should I apply for?

You do not need to apply for a specific level. You will be tested during the first week of the semester and placed in the appropriate level of the English Language Certificate Program according to your performance.

Is there a placement test?

You will be given English proficiency tests after our program orientation. These placement tests allow us to assess your English proficiency and place you in the appropriate level. 

How long should I study English?

The length of time you need to study English depends on your English proficiency. Students often underestimate the length of time it takes to acquire a new language. Most students feel pressure to get a specific score on a language test in order to gain admission to university. While the score is important, it does not always reflect the English language skills needed to succeed in university.

If you have an intermediate level of English, approximately TOEFL 470(PBT)/150(CBT)/52(iBT) or IELTS 5.5, you should plan on one year of study to achieve the Advanced level of English proficiency needed to be successful in university.

Will this program help me improve my IELTS or TOEFL scores?

The English Language Certificate Program (ELCP) is designed to help learners improve their academic English skills. Students generally find that studying in the ELCP helps them improve their IELTS or TOEFL scores, even without studying for these tests. 

What kind of social activities are available?

The main focus of our program is academic excellence; however, we still take time to have fun and learn about Canada. Each semester there are excursions to locations where you will learn about Canadian culture and history. We typically have weekly afternoon activities that include physical, social and cultural activities.

On campus, there are many opportunities for students to participate in sports, music, and cultural and social activities with the undergraduate and graduate student population.

What is the student profile?

Students come to the University of Guelph to improve their academic English language skills in order to enter a Canadian university. Some are mature students who are preparing for study at the masters and doctoral levels. Our students are dedicated to their studies and tend to achieve at a high level.

About the University of Guelph
What is the University of Guelph's reputation?

The University of Guelph has a very good reputation for high-quality education and research. The University is consistently ranked within the top comprehensive universities in Canada and was ranked as the number one comprehensive university in 2007. We are consistently ranked first in student satisfaction and research intensity. The University of Guelph has a worldwide reputation for excellence in the areas of science, hotel and tourism management, food science, rural planning and development, agriculture business and science, and veterinary medicine/sciences.

What does the University of Guelph specialize in?

The University of Guelph is very important in life science education. Important programs include veterinary science, agriculture, biological science, engineering science, computer science, food science, as well as hotel and tourism management.

How is the University of Guelph degree recognized?

A degree from the University of Guelph is recognized as a high-quality degree, and will be readily accepted at graduate programs around the world.

Will I be able to use the athletic facilities at the University of Guelph?

Your registration in the English Language Certificate Program includes a base membership to the Athletic Centre at the University of Guelph. The Athletic Centre has two swimming pools, two ice rinks, two gymnasiums, two fitness centres, a weightlifting room, many squash and racquetball courts, tennis courts, an indoor running track and badminton courts, baseball fields, soccer fields and stadium. In addition to these facilities, you will also have access to outdoor walking and hiking trails in the 1000 acre arboretum.

Will I have access to the library?

Your registration in the English Language Certificate Program gives you access to the University of Guelph Library resources. You can borrow journal articles, books and audio visual and research materials. You will also have access to the computer facilities at the library. The library has a wireless Internet service that you can access through your own laptop computer and wireless connection.

Can I use computers at the University of Guelph?

The University of Guelph has more than 1000 computers on campus that you can access. You will be given a computer account that allows you to log on to the network and gives you unlimited Internet access through WiFi.

Will I have Internet access at the University of Guelph?

You will receive a computer account and email address on the University of Guelph server that includes unlimited free Internet access through the high-speed network. Students who live in residence are connected through the high-speed network.

Where can I see a map of the campus?

Visit the Campus Map page. You may want to look for places such as Johnston Hall (the location of the English Language Programs offices), MacKinnon Building (where many classes are held), and the University Centre. Searching for these places will help you to learn more about the University of Guelph.

What is the University like?

The University of Guelph is a friendly university that is welcoming to international students. We have a diverse population of students representing over 95 countries. The University was founded in 1964 when three colleges--the Ontario Agricultural College, the Ontario Veterinary College and the MacDonald Institute--joined to become the University of Guelph.

The motto of the University is "Rerum Cognoscere Causas" - to discover the reason for things. The University has an impressive 1:22 faculty to student ratio. Most students study for two semesters each year, though it is possible to take courses during the summer semester. The University of Guelph is Canada's most research-intensive university. Macleans, a Canadian news magazine, ranked the University of Guelph as the top comprehensive university in Canada in 2007.

What is the campus like?

The University of Guelph has a beautiful campus with many gardens and old stone buildings. The Arboretum--on the east side of campus--is a research centre that contains a sample of every tree and bush native to Ontario. Sample gardens show you typical Canadian yards. Formal gardens include the traditional English garden, Japanese garden and Italian garden. The rose garden, lilac field and rhododendron garden add seasonal colour and interest to The Arboretum. Nature trails allow you to hike, run or bicycle through this scenic nature.

There are many places to eat and socialize on campus. The University of Guelph is the recognized leader in university food service in Canada. Good nutrition and customer satisfaction are top priorities for the Department of Hospitality Services, which manages most dining facilities and other retail outlets on campus. There are 14 dining facilities on campus that cater to students.

There is an athletic centre and a sports dome for playing sports, working out, or participating in group fitness classes.

Life in Guelph, Ontario, Canada
What is the city of Guelph like?

Guelph is a very pretty, small city in a rural area of southwestern Ontario. Guelph has a population of 123,000. The city is not highly industrialized, so the air is clean and fresh. Because there is little pollution, you can almost always see beautiful blue skies, healthy trees and plants, and sparkling rivers and lakes.

Do Canadians like to live in Guelph?

Guelph is considered to be one of the best cities to live, in one of the best countries in the world. For the last six years, Guelph has been 'Canada's Safest City'. Guelph is rated among Canada's 10 best places to live by Chatelaine magazine (popular women's magazine). The United Nations ranks Canada as one of the best places to live in the world. 

How do you pronounce Guelph?

The city of Guelph was named in 1827 to honour the British Empire's King George IV, whose family name was Gwelf. The spelling has been altered to today's Guelph - but it is pronounced just as it was 170 years ago: gwelf (rhymes with self).

What is the weather like in Guelph?

Guelph has four exciting distinct seasons:

  • Spring: March to May, ranges from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (sunny, some rain)
  • Summer: June to August, ranges from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (sunny, humid)
  • Fall: September to November, ranges from 7 to 20 degrees Celsius
  • Winter: December to March, ranges from -15 to 2 degrees Celsius (snow, sunny)

Check the local weather website for short-term and long-term forecasts.

What type of clothing should I bring?

You will need clothing appropriate for the weather. Guelph has four seasons. Students coming during the fall or spring semesters should be prepared for a wide range of temperatures, from warm temperatures in early fall or late spring to cold temperatures in the winter months (December and January). If you do not bring the appropriate cold weather clothes (warm coat, hat, gloves, scarf, etc.), you will be able to buy them in Guelph for a reasonable price.

Are there any Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Thai/Vietnamese restaurants in Guelph?

Yes, there are. Guelph has many ethnic restaurants as well as several Asian grocery stores. There is a large supermarket near the University that stocks many ethnic Asian foods.

How close is Guelph to Toronto?

Guelph is about one hour to downtown Toronto by bus, train or car. The Greyhound Bus and GO Bus provide service directly from the University Centre to downtown Toronto. Students may also travel by GO Train to Guelph. Students receive reduced rates on bus tickets. Guelph is located about 40 minutes from Toronto's Pearson International Airport (YYZ).

How close is Guelph to Niagara Falls?

Guelph is located about 1.5 hours from Niagara Falls. This is a popular tourist spot that attracts many visitors year round. English Language Program Activities arranges travel to Niagara Falls each semester.

Homestay Accommodation
What is homestay accommodation?

Homestay accommodation is when you live with a local Canadian family.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a homestay?

Students who live in a homestay enjoy the benefits of having a family to look after them and care about them. It is much easier to learn English when you live with a Canadian family that speaks the language. You will be able to participate in family activities, make friends easily and have someone to explain Canadian culture. Students who live in a homestay tend to be happier and learn English more quickly than those who live in residence. The disadvantage of living in a homestay is that you will need to follow the rules of the family--especially about quiet time, sleep times and cleaning up after yourself. It is like having another parent to watch over you.

How much does homestay cost?

Homestay costs $850 per month. Meals are included in this cost. The minimum commitment is two months.

Do I pay a homestay placement fee?

There is a one-time homestay placement fee of $375.

How can I request homestay?

To request a homestay, complete the homestay application form and email it to the homestay coordinator, who will begin the process of matching you with the best Canadian family for you.

On-Campus Accommodation
What are the advantages and disadvantages of living on campus?

It is very convenient to live on campus. Students who live on campus are located close to the library, classes, athletic services and student activities. Since students that live on campus are so close to everything, they are more likely to fully participate in campus life.

Sometimes, depending on your lifestyle, off-campus living is less expensive. Depending on the residence where you live, your neighbour might be noisy and disruptive, making it difficult for you to sleep and study. Residence is quiet during the spring/summer semester (May to August).

What are the options for meals?

When you live in campus residences, you may purchase a meal plan to allow you to eat your meals on campus at a discounted rate. You may purchase meals on campus without a meal plan at a slightly higher cost. In some residences, you will have a kitchen where you will be able to make your own meals.

Can I cook if I live in the campus residence?

Some residences have kitchens. The East Village townhouses and East Residence apartments both have shared kitchens where you can prepare your own meals. All of the other residences do not have kitchens. If you live in one of the other residences, you may be required to purchase a meal plan. 

Can I use the Internet in the dormitory?

All campus residence rooms have high speed Internet connections. The Internet access is part of your residence fee. You will be provided with an account as part of your program registration and will have unlimited Internet access in your dormitory. You will need to provide your own computer in your residence room. If you do not have a computer, you can use computers in the library or computer labs.

How much does it cost to live on campus?

The cost of each residence is slightly different. A guideline would be to estimate about $650 per month for a single room with a shared kitchen and bathroom. Meals are not included in this cost. There is a minimum commitment of four months.

Off-Campus Accommodation
What is the advantage of living off campus?

When you live off campus, you could have more privacy and quieter living conditions than in residence. Off-campus accommodation could cost less than living in residence on campus. The disadvantage of living off campus is the distance that you are located from campus. You will need to take public transportation to the campus. In some situations, you will need to prepare your own meals and do your own grocery shopping and cleaning.

What housing choices do I have?

When choosing to live off campus, there are several options:

  • House - the entire house is available for rent
  • Shared house - you rent one bedroom in the house for yourself, all other facilities in the house (living room, kitchen and bathroom) may be shared by everyone in the house
  • Apartment - the entire apartment is available for rent
  • Shared apartment - you rent one bedroom for yourself, all other facilities in the apartment are shared by everyone in the apartment
  • Single room with cooking facilities - this room is in a home with the homeowner, you rent one bedroom for yourself and share the kitchen and bathroom, usually with the homeowner, often there is a private bath and/or private cooking facilities for you (and other students)
  • Double room with cooking facilities - you and another student share one bedroom, and share a kitchen and bathroom, usually with the homeowner
  • Single room, no cooking - you rent a room with the use of a bathroom, there are no cooking facilities available
  • Room and board - the room is rented with the use of a bathroom, meals are provided

Using these definitions as your guide, you can search the listings for available housing.

What is the best choice for housing?

We recommend that you live with people who speak English so you can develop your language skills more quickly. If you live with someone who speaks your native language, you will end up speaking your native language and will not practise or learn more English. Because your semester is four months long, we encourage you to make short-term housing arrangements (four months) rather than committing to a long-term (one year) lease. 

Can I live with other students?

To live with other students, you would seek shared apartment or shared house accommodation. Living with native English speaking students is a good choice to help you learn more English and to learn about student life in Canada.

Can I live with a Canadian family?

To live with a Canadian family, you would seek room and board accommodation. Living with a Canadian family is a good choice to help you learn more English and to learn about Canadian family life.

How can I travel from my home to the University?

As a student in the English Language Programs, you will receive a bus pass for transportation anywhere within the city of Guelph. The bus service is frequent and there are several bus stops on campus. The University is well served by city busses.

Do I need to select my own housing?

The University is not responsible for finding you accommodation so you are required to make your own housing arrangements. Our accommodation and activities coordinator can assist you in understanding the options and will help you to make phone calls. You must make the decision on where you will live, what you are willing to pay, and the type of accommodation that best suits your needs. Contact our accommodation and activities coordinator if you would like some assistance.

Where can I stay while I look for accommodation?

If you require temporary accommodation, please contact our accommodation and activities coordinator. Temporary accommodation costs approximately $42 per night. Please request this accommodation at least two weeks in advance of your arrival.

Do you have a meal plan for off-campus students?

Students who live off campus may purchase a meal plan that allows them to eat meals on campus at a discounted rate. The meal plan saves you 25% on all meal purchases, gives you a 13% tax savings, is useable at all campus restaurants and food locations, and can be used at several off-campus locations. The meal plan card is convenient and you do not need to carry cash because the food plan is prepaid. You can put a minimum of $475 on your card and you can add money in increments of $100.

How much does it cost to live off campus?

Depending on where you live and what type of accommodation you choose, the prices can vary dramatically; for example, off-campus residence costs ranges from $400 to $500 per month for the room and utilities only. A one-bedroom apartment on your own can cost between $500 and $700 per month.

Please consult the accommodation listings to see the prices of available housing.

Finances and Money
Are the fees on the website shown in Canadian or American dollars?

All of the fees listed on our website are in Canadian dollars. To know how much the Canadian fees amount to in your own currency, please visit the online Currency Converter.

Can I pay my tuition semester by semester if I apply for more than one semester?

Yes, you may pay your tuition by semester. When you submit your registration, you are required to provide a deposit for one semester only. You may pay for the second semester just prior to beginning the second semester.

If I do not receive my student visa, can I cancel my registration and receive a refund?

If the Canadian Embassy rejects your application for a student authorization, we will refund your tuition deposit. Copies of documentation from the embassy will be required. A request to cancel your registration must be made in writing and requires a brief explanation for the withdrawal. The application fee is non-refundable.

If I cancel for other reasons, can I receive a refund of my tuition payment?

Please see our refund policies for the English Language Certificate Program and the Graduate Preparation Program.

If I want to transfer my registration to a later semester, is there a charge?

Students may transfer fees between semesters if there is space available in the program. There is an additional $100 transfer fee for this service.

How much money do I need for living expenses for one year of studies?

International students can expect to need between $20,000 and $25,000 Canadian dollars per year to pay for tuition, books, transportation, residence, food, and personal expenses.

Are textbooks included in the tuition fee?

You will need to purchase all of your textbooks. Textbooks will likely cost about $300-600 per semester.

Is local transportation included?

As a student in the English Language Certificate Program, you will receive a monthly bus pass that gives you unlimited travel on city busses. This pass makes transportation to school very convenient.

Do I need to purchase health insurance?

Hospital and medical costs are very expensive in Canada. It is in your best interest to have medical insurance to protect you from the high cost of hospitalization and doctor visits. Medical insurance is compulsory for all students in the English Language Certificate Program and is arranged by the English Language Programs office to become effective upon your arrival. The fee for medical insurance is $200 per semester. During medical emergencies, you may ask the ELP staff for help to make arrangements.

Can I work in Canada while I am attending school?

Please check the IRCC website to see if you qualify to work in Canada.

How can I pay for my tuition?

You may pay your tuition deposit by cheque, bank draft, credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or bank transfer. Please contact our office for details on how to do this.

Undergraduate Admission
What are the English proficiency requirements for undergraduate study?

Lectures, seminars and examinations at the University are conducted in English. It is essential for all students to have strong English skills in order to be successful in university studies.

Graduates of the Advanced Level (Levels 9 and 10) of the English Language Certificate Program meet the English proficiency requirements for the University of Guelph undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and do not need to write TOEFL or IELTS to prove their English proficiency.

Applicants for admission will be required to present evidence of English proficiency if:

  • Your primary or first language (meaning the language first learned as a child) is not English;
  • You have had less than four years of full-time secondary or post-secondary study, demonstrating satisfactory academic progress, in an English-language school system.

Please see the English Proficiency requirements and Admission Information in the University of Guelph Undergraduate Calendar for more details.

If I graduate from the English Language Certificate Program am I guaranteed admission to the University of Guelph undergraduate program?

English proficiency and academic qualifications are both required for admission into an academic program at the University of Guelph. This means that you must apply and be accepted into undergraduate studies.

When you earn the advanced level of the English Language Certificate Program, you have met the English proficiency requirements of the University of Guelph and do not need to write the TOEFL or IELTS test.

Do you offer conditional admission into the undergraduate program?

The University of Guelph does offer conditional admission into undergraduate programs in some cases. Please contact the English Language programs office to determine if you are eligible. 

Can I take University of Guelph classes while I am an ELP student?

The English Language Certificate Program (ELCP) is an intensive full-time program. In general, students in the ELCP cannot take University of Guelph classes for credit while studying English, unless they have already been admitted to the University.  Students who achieve an overall average of 80% or higher in Levels 7 and 8 or in Levels 8 and 9 are eligible to take one Open Learning course in the following semester. Open Learning course offerings begin in January, May and September.

How can I apply to undergraduate study at the University of Guelph?

There are two ways to apply to the University of Guelph:

  1. Direct admission - If you have good high school marks and a good test score on an applicable government entrance examination, you may apply for direct admission to the University of Guelph. Please visit the University of Guelph website for information on direct undergraduate admission and follow the links to the application site.
  2. Open Learning program - If you do not have any previous study in a post-secondary institution, you have the option to apply for admission through the Open Learning program. With this option, you are required to complete the advanced level of the English Language Certificate Program, and then take four Open Learning undergraduate degree-credit courses. If you achieve a 70% cumulative average on these four courses, you are guaranteed admission to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Commerce program.
What are the admission requirements to the ELCP plus Open Learning program?

This option is only available for students with a high school education and is not available to students who have already studied in a post-secondary institution. To apply to the Open Learning program, you must have strong high school marks and register in the ELCP. After completing the advanced level of the ELCP, you are required to take four Open Learning degree-credit courses. If you earn a cumulative average of 70% on all four Open Learning program courses, you are guaranteed admission into the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Guelph. This is a straightforward method for international student admission to the University of Guelph. Please contact the English Language programs office for more information. 

Graduate Admission
What are the English proficiency requirements for graduate study?
Lectures, seminars and examinations at the University are conducted in English. It is essential for all students to have strong English skills in order to be successful in university studies.Graduates of the Advanced Level (Levels 9 and 10) of the English Language Certificate Program meet the English proficiency requirements for the University of Guelph undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and do not need to write TOEFL or IELTS to prove their English proficiency.Applicants for admission will be required to present evidence of English proficiency if:
  • Your primary or first language (meaning the language first learned as a child) is not English;
  • You have had less than four years of full-time secondary or post-secondary study, demonstrating satisfactory academic progress, in an English-language school system.

Please see the English Proficiency requirements and Admission Information in the University of Guelph Graduate Calendar for more details.

How do I apply for graduate degree programs?

Visit the Graduate Studies home page for the online application and for other important application information, including general requirements and department specific requirements. 

How much time should I allow for the application process?

If you are applying from outside Canada, it is recommended that you apply at least nine (9) to twelve (12) months in advance of the semester in which you wish to study. Please visit our Graduate Studies Information for International Applicants page for more details. 

Does the University of Guelph offer conditional admission to graduate studies?

When you apply for graduate studies, you can request conditional admission based on the successful completion of the advanced level of the English Language Certificate Program. Please consult the appropriate academic department for directions on applying for conditional admission. 

Travel to Canada
How do I get information about student visas?

To get information about student visas, please contact your nearest Canadian Embassy or Canadian Consulate

What should I bring to Canada?

You should bring the following items to Canada:

  • Your medical records of your inoculations from your doctor--this will save you from having to get them again once you're here
  • An international driver's license--this will be useful if you want to rent a car
  • Money in travelers cheques to open a bank account here
  • Translated and certified transcripts, diploma, degree and certificate, and entrance scores on government examinations
  • Score reports from any language proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS, CAEL, etc.)
Registration
What are the requirements for the English Language Certificate Program?

To register for the English Language Certificate Program, you must be 18 years of age or older, have completed high school with good marks, and have an academic goal to study at the undergraduate or graduate level in a competitive university. Students should have an intermediate level of English skill. 

What are the application deadlines?

We accept registrations until two weeks before the semester begins or until the program is full. You should apply and receive your letter of acceptance in sufficient time for you to get your student visa or tourist visa, whichever is needed. For some countries, it could take up to five months to get a visa; for other countries, you could get a visa within three days. Please consult the nearest Canadian Embassy or consulate to learn the processing time for your country. 

How long will it take to process my application?

After your application file is complete--including application form, application fee, tuition deposit and student profile form--your application will be processed quickly. Typically, you will receive an email response within five working days. 

When do I get my letter of acceptance?

Your letter of acceptance can be scanned and emailed to you or it can be faxed to you within five working days after your file is complete. Your original letter of acceptance will be sent to you by airmail. 

May I have the acceptance letter sent by express mail?

Your original letter of acceptance will be sent to you by airmail. If you require faster service, you can request courier delivery (FedEx). There is a charge of $50 for this service. 

Can I study for less than a full semester?

For your benefit, and to minimize disruption in the classroom, students begin at the start of the semester. In some circumstances, students are allowed to leave the program early when required to accommodate their academic schedules. 

When can I start the English Language Certificate Program?

There are six start dates each year. Please see our program Programs & Pathways page. 

Do I have to have a certain English proficiency to attend?

We encourage students to have a minimum high beginner level of English, which about TOEFL PBT 400/CBT 97/iBT 32 or IELTS 4.5 or equivalent. You do not need to take this test before you come to Canada. We will test you a few days before the first day of class.

What if I don't get my visa in time for the start of the semester?

If you do not receive your permit in time--for you to arrive and begin the semester--you may transfer your registration to the following semester one time only. We will provide you with a new letter of acceptance without charge, only once. If you require a third letter of acceptance, there will be a $100 fee for this letter and transfer. 

Can I fax my application?

Yes, you can fax your application. With a faxed application, you can make your payment by credit card or by wire transfer. Our fax number is 1-519-767-1114.

How can I pay for my tuition?

You may pay by cheque, money order, bank draft or by credit card (Visa or MasterCard). Cheques are payable to the University of Guelph. If you wish to pay by bank wire transfer, please email us for specific instructions.

*All fees are subject to change without notice.

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