International Student FOCUS Program

  • English Proficiency and ESL Support

    At many U.S. universities, students who do not meet minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores must take remedial, non-credit ESL classes. This often means extra time and money to earn a college degree. At Dean, we’re more flexible. While we prefer TOEFL scores of 79 and above, IELTS scores of 6.5 or above, or Cambridge English scores above 175, we know students sometimes score lower despite having good academic records. When this is the case, students may enroll in our International Student FOCUS Program where they receive English language support in credit-bearing classes that count toward their Bachelor’s or Associate Degree. Our unique FOCUS Program embeds ESL skill development—writing, listening, and speaking—into special sections of required college courses just for international students.

    FOCUS is not a conditional admission program. Students are fully admitted to Dean College and are expected to graduate on time. The program also combines cultural orientation, English language development, optional individual tutoring as well as academic classes to give international students a holistic educational experience.

    There are three levels in the FOCUS Program, and students are placed in classes according to the TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent ESL assessment score submitted for admission. Students who place into level I of the FOCUS Program are required to enroll in one hour of one-on-one academic coaching per week. There is an additional fee of US $850 per semester *Students who submit a TOEFL iBT of a 79 or higher, IELTS of a 6.5 or higher, Cambridge English score above 175, or who place above our FOCUS program through Dean College’s English language assessment will be fully matriculated into Dean College, and complete first semester courses as outlined by their academic major. The following table outlines the courses and credits in the three FOCUS levels. 

    Focus Program Course & Placement Chart

    FOCUS Chart

    *Students who do not submit scores from TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge English test, or an equivalent ESL assessment as part of their application to Dean College must take an English language assessment during International Student Orientation (ISO).

     

    SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE FOCUS PROGRAM 

    Dean’s International Student Orientation (ISO) program introduces students to the academic, social, and student life aspects of college in the United States. Orientation activities help students ease into college life and become familiar with other students, the campus, and Dean College staff. During ISO, all students complete a math placement test to determine their level of math proficiency.  Students who did not submit scores from TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge English, or an equivalent ESL assessment as part of their application to Dean College are also required to take an English language assessment during ISO.* Ongoing orientation is considered vital to student success at Dean and throughout their first semester, students receive support from the international student advisor and their academic advisor. 

    Communication Fundamentals: All students at Dean are required to complete Communication Fundamentals (SPC 101) to earn their degree. Students who submitted a TOEFL iBT of 78 or less, IELTS of 6 or less, or Cambridge English score of 175 or less, or who place into FOCUS through Dean College’s English language assessment administered during ISO,* will be placed into an intensive (6 hours per week) section of this course designed specifically for international students. These sections help students improve their oral communication skills in English while building their interpersonal, small group, and public speaking skills. Listening, pronunciation, stress, and intonation skills may also be emphasized. 

    English Composition: All Dean College students are required to complete Composition (ENG 111) in their first semester. Students who submitted a TOEFL iBT of 78 or less, IELTS of 6 or less, or Cambridge English score of 175 or less, or who place into FOCUS through Dean College’s English language assessment administered during ISO,* will be placed into an intensive (6 hours per week) section of this course designed specifically for international students. Students will strengthen reading comprehension skills as well as sentence, paragraph, and essay writing abilities. 

    DEGREE ACCELERATION 

    Dean College does allow students to accelerate their degree program in order to complete their degree studies more quickly. Through careful advising and selection of courses, it is possible for students to complete their associate degree in less than two years or their bachelor’s degree in less than four years. Typically, this requires students to take courses during the winter session and both summer sessions, and to enroll in more than the traditional 15 credits each semester. 

    International students who are interested in pursuing this option must enter Dean with a TOEFL iBT of 79 or higher, IELTS of 6.5 or higher, Cambridge English score above 175, or who place out of the FOCUS Program on the English language assessment administered during ISO,* place into the appropriate level of mathematics necessary for their degree program, and should schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor to develop a plan to achieve this goal. 

    Academic Coaching 

    All students at Dean have the option of enrolling in one-on-one or small group tutorial support through the College’s Academic Coaching program. Academic coaching is designed to provide structured support and assistance to help students strengthen writing skills and study strategies. Academic coaches work closely with international students to create a foundation for success in their academic classes. 

    International students who place into level I of the FOCUS Program are required to enroll in one hour of one-on-one academic coaching per week. There is an additional fee of US $850 per semester. Students may also enroll in up to 4 additional hours of coaching per week as needed, at a rate of $850 per semester for each additional hour. 

    Students in levels II and III are strongly advised to enroll in academic coaching. Many of the competitive bachelor’s degree programs to which international students transfer after Dean require a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 79. 

     

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