Loyola University Chicago

English Language Learning Program

Loyola’s ESL program

LEAP Forward@Loyola

Loyola University Chicago’s English & Pre-College Preparation Program

LEAP Forward@Loyola is a unique learning experience for international high school students that combines meaningful English language instruction with memorable co-curricular activities that will familiarize students with U.S higher education, the college application process, and American culture. In this two-week program, students will enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that will improve their communicative competency, prepare them for future English language testing, and incorporate key curricular themes of particular interest to the group. In the afternoon, students will participate in a variety of activities that focus on topics such as the U.S. college admissions process, a mock U.S. college course, choosing a major, and more.
Click LEAP Forward Summer 2019 for a downloadable description of the LEAP Forward @ Loyola program.
LEAP Forward@Loyola’s combination of curricular and co-curricular components, taking place across Loyola’s beautiful Lake Shore Campus and throughout Chicago’s many diverse neighborhoods, will provide students with a competitive advantage in English language assessments for college applications and in the application process itself.

The core of the LEAP Forward@Loyola program centers around two morning courses, with academic levels tailored to students’ unique English language proficiency and post-secondary goals. Each student will enroll in one English as a second language skills course and one test preparation course.  Each course will meet for 90 minutes, five mornings a week.

English Skill Development Course

This course will utilize the expertise of Loyola’s ELLP faculty to provide ESL instruction and development across the four major skill areas: writing, reading, speaking, and listening.  The learning outcomes of this course include:

  • Enhanced ability to write a well-developed, academic essay, emphasizing grammar points and practicing all steps of the writing process;
  • Improvement in academic reading and vocabulary skills through a variety of authentic materials;
  • Expanded listening and speaking skills, with exposure to a variety of listening passages and opportunities to practice speaking and pronunciation skills in large and small group formats.

Students will be divided into different sections to ensure support for varying levels of language proficiency. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a certificate of completion noting their English proficiency level, and will be prepared for higher level ESL courses or for their future university-level content courses.

Test Preparation Course

In this course Loyola’s ELLP faculty will help students prepare for the qualifying exams – such as TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT – that will be necessary for their upcoming university applications. This course will use individual and group work, as well as practice exams, to help students learn test-taking strategies and familiarize themselves with the formats of these tests. Students will continue to practice each of the four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The exercises and practice tests completed in class will reflect actual conditions of these tests, where language skills are integrated. Upon completion, students will be more comfortable with, and better prepared for, the exams that they will complete as part of their college applications.


The co-curricular elements of the LEAP Forward@Loyola program provide the opportunity for continued learning and exploration related to college life and college admissions. These activities, offered in the afternoons, will also provide students with the chance to get to know Loyola University and to enjoy the city of Chicago. The main components of the co-curricular portion of the LEAP Forward@Loyola program include:
U.S. Education System Overview: An introduction to the complicated world of private universities, public universities, state universities and colleges, and community colleges.  Students will learn about college rankings and their usefulness and shortfalls, the factors they should consider when choosing a university or college that make it a good ‘fit’ for them, financial aid and how it works, and how important grad school may be.
Learning about the Admissions Process: Students will meet with LUC admissions staff to get first-hand perspectives on what admissions teams are looking for when they review applications. Students will have the chance to ask questions, do practice interviews, and learn more about how funding works for international students.
Strategies for Success in the Admissions Process:  Students get answers to their most common college preparation questions: What courses should I take in high school?  How do I best use IELTS and TOEFL prep courses as well as SAT and Advanced Placement prep courses once I am back home?  How important are extracurricular activities in the admissions decision?  Do I really need to go to Harvard? Can I get into med school if I go to a university that isn’t a top-ten ranked school?  How important is the school’s ‘personality’ in my success? 
Institutional Visits: In addition to close familiarity with Loyola University Chicago, students will have the opportunity to learn about different types of institutions in the U.S., with visits to other colleges and universities in the Chicago area. These may include, for example, a large public university as well as a small private college and community college.
Mock U.S. College Course: As active participants in a mock U.S. college class, students learn first-hand from Loyola faculty what the U.S. classroom environment is like, and what is expected of students in terms of participation, classroom discussion, academic integrity, and academic performance.
Academic Advising and Choosing a Major: Students will have the opportunity to hear from academic advisors and learn more about major options available to them in the U.S.  The session will also include a discussion of internship options in the U.S. as well as how career outlook may influence one’s choice of major.
Do’s and Don’ts of Applying to College: Hear from current international students studying at Loyola University Chicago about what to do, and what not to do, when applying to universities in the U.S.  International students will share their stories and talk about what their transition to U.S. college life was like.
City Sights: Students will partake in excursions to get to know the city of Chicago, its history and its culture. This may include visits to local museums, ethnic neighborhoods, company tours, and other fun Chicago-only sights and experiences.
In addition to these co-curricular offerings, students may also have the opportunity to do things such as get to know current students, experience American college residential life, and enjoy the beautiful lakeside setting of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus.


Summer 2019 Dates: Arrival on Sunday, July 7, 2019.  Departure on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
Program fee: $2999.00
Program fee includes: tuition, accommodations (double occupancy), meal plan (three meals per day), co-curricular program, all program transportation, and a local transportation pass.
Program fee does not include: round trip flight to Chicago; visa application fees (if applicable), Personal spending on travel, additional food, and activities not included in the program itinerary; Emergency medical and evacuation insurance*
*Students must provide proof of insurance upon acceptance into the program.
Accommodations:  LEAP Forward@Loyola program participants will be housed in Loyola’s International House, located on the Lake Shore Campus. This convenient residential arrangement provides students with double occupancy rooms with private bathrooms and a kitchenette, as well as access to a full kitchen, a student lounge, a computer lab, and on-site laundry facilities.  The International House is close to the Granville Red Line subway stop as well as multiple bus lines, making travel around the city easy and convenient.
Meals: All participants will be enrolled in a campus meal plan for the duration of the program. 
Transportation:  Student transportation to and from O’Hare International Airport will be included in the program fee, as will all program-related transportation per the itinerary. Students will receive a public transportation card that works for CTA buses and trains.
Eligibility Requirements:
  • Education Level: Must have completed lower secondary school/junior high school
  • Academic Standing: Must be in good academic standing at high school
  • Age: Must be between the ages of 16-18 years old by the application deadline.
  • English Language Level:Intermediate level and above; assessed via online placement test as part of the application process.
If you wish to apply to the Summer 2019 LEAP Forward @ Loyola program, please click here and follow the instructions. Then, on the "Academic Information" page of your application, choose the "Summer 2019 LEAP Forward@Loyola Pre-Collegiate Program.

Questions?  Please email ellp@luc.edu with any questions or concerns you may have.