-Sultan Almusam, Contributing Writer
Each year students enroll themselves in the Mississippi College Intensive English Program. Its mission is to train international students about the English language so that they can easily achieve their goals in completing their undergraduate and graduate studies. This program aims to enable international students with English skills needed to attend and complete their courses successfully; to equip international students with information regarding American culture so they may transition into the college easily; and to provide international students with enough opportunities to practice and improve their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. This program also provides awareness about distinction between native and non-native English speakers, so that international students can continue to increase their competency after the completion of the program. It is the goal that this goal will be enough to lay the foundation of confidence in English, upon which these students can build by engaging in activities and work while learning at Mississippi College.
IEP, which is the Intensive English Program in Mississippi College, consists of four levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advance 1, and Advance 2. Hope Vandersteen, the Intensive English Program coordinator, says, “Beginner level is for those students who know about the basics but are having a hard time communicating independently. Intermediate level is for students who are becoming independent in the language. Advance 1 and Advance 2 are the top two levels which prepare students in understanding their courses and help them in technical writing.” Vandersteen also explained the current construction to provide an extra building for the campus, which will make available small classes for the IEP program, a situation that will be solved in the coming year. Other than that, Vandersteen is hopeful that Mississippi College will not stop this program in the future.
The intensive English program is ultimately for the well being of the international students studying at the college. “This semester forty students are enrolled in this program–this number is greater than the last year,” said Vandersteen. “In fact, each year the number of enrolled students is increasing over the last few semester, except for the summer semester because the majority of the international students go on vacations and go back to their homes.”
Wen Weng, the admissions specialist in the Global Education Office, articulated that for Spring 2015, 96 applications were received from the international students, out of which only 11 students enrolled themselves for the IEP. Sixty-two graduates got conditional admission and 23 undergraduates also got conditional admission. According to Weng, most of the international students have already passed the IELTS and TOFEL exams, which completely elaborate their competency regarding English language. If some students do not have the passing test scores (IELTS and TOFEL), they can easily take placement tests in the IEP, which are originally under the TOFEL exam. If they make the required scores, then they are not required to take IEP classes. This would allow them to immediately began their academic classes at Mississippi College.