Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The ESL Program is open to all students age 17 years or older. Applicants do not have to be university students or intend to enroll at Niagara University or another U.S. university.

The application and student visa application process takes time, please plan ahead.  

  1. Complete your ESL application

  2. Pay application fee

  3. Receive notice of acceptance into program 

  4. Complete ESL, I-20 application, submit with supporting (financial) documents I20.pdf

  5. Your information will be submitted to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which will issue your Certificate of Student Eligibility (Form I-20).

  6. Pay deposit to Niagara University

  7. Pay a nonrefundable SEVIS fee.

  8. Make an appointment with nearest American consulate to apply for your student F-1 visa

  9. Be on time, prepared for your visa interview- pass the interview

  10. Make airline reservations

  11. Welcome to Niagara University

The ESL programs are divided into four skill levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced and bridge to university. At the start of your program you will be given tests to place you in a class appropriate to your English level. You will also be interviewed by center faculty to assess your spoken and listening skills.

Students will receive instruction in grammar and writing, reading and speaking and listening.

All courses meet Monday through Friday. The hours vary slightly per day, classes are approximately 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

You will receive written evaluations covering all skill areas at mid-semester and at the end of the program.

The Brennan Center will arrange for you to stay in a single or double room on campus. Living in the residence halls is considered an integral part of the program and enables participants to get to know many international and American students.

Residence halls feature television lounges, recreational facilities, computer labs with Internet access, and laundry rooms. The Brennan Center staff are always available to help students with questions and problems.

Available rooms are limited in fall and spring - please apply early

As a member of the university community, you will have many opportunities to meet American students in the residence halls, participating in the Brennan Center's chat room, lectures, in the Gallagher Center, and Dining Commons, and through student clubs, social functions and sporting events. You can also get to know American classmates by auditing ($300 fee) some regular university courses.

Brennan Center students come from all over the world, they represent a variety of different cultures and languages. At the Brennan Center, you will get to know people from many countries whose cultures and ideas will enrich your learning experience.

Students may stay up to two semesters to complete each language level. Students are encouraged to remain until they attain satisfactory English proficiency. Many choose to continue their English training at Brennan Center for at least two semesters.

The fall semester begins in early September and is approximately 15 weeks long. The spring semester, which also runs 15 weeks, begins in mid-January. The ESL program is offered in the summer semester: an eight-week program beginning in mid June.

You arrive on campus, In the first week of each program, students get an orientation to the Brennan Center and the Niagara University, take a tour and learn about facilities and services available. They also get a tour of Niagara Falls and Buffalo.

Special Activities and Field Trips
Activities are in addition to a tour of Niagara Falls and Buffalo during student’s orientation. Special weekly activities are organized to immerse students in American culture. Students will enjoy a visit with a local family, have an opportunity to watch a professional sporting event, visit a local farm, shop at the fashion outlets, attend a concert and so much more.

University Facilities
Students have access to all Niagara University student services. These include library, computer laboratories; athletic, entertainment and recreation facilities available to other Niagara University students.

Students who attend classes regularly, receive satisfactory progress reports, and fulfill program requirements, receive an official final progress report and attendance certificate. Outstanding students receive special recognition on their certificates.

Health Insurance
All students on F-1 and J-1 visas are required by the state of New York to purchase, for a modest fee, the comprehensive health insurance policy available to international students at NU.

On Campus Housing/Meal plan
Students are responsible for their housing costs. There are a wide variety of choices available in our “all you care to eat” dining hall.

Students purchase their own textbooks/software through the Brennan Center at an approximate cost per semester of $200.