Program Details

IEP University Pathways Track

Your first step on our University Pathways track is to join the Intensive English Program (IEP). When you’re an IEP student, we can help you apply for admission to our partner schools. If you show B2 (upper intermediate) English level in the IEP, you do not need to take the TOEFL or IELTs — our University Pathways recommendation will satisfy the university’s English requirements.

University Pathways Program at ILI

At ILI, we want you to succeed at university. Successful students need to learn not only English but also U.S. academic culture. That is why many international students choose ILI’s University Pathways track in the Intensive English Program.

In the University Pathways track in the Intensive English Program (IEP), you will receive individualized support to transition successfully to a university or college. Instead of cramming for exams or memorizing grammar rules, you will practice a well-balanced set of skills including essay writing, classroom participation, interactive presentations, small-group discussions, team collaboration, academic research, and critical analysis. By focusing less on test taking and more on academic training, you will be better positioned to succeed in your university program. 

Three students sitting on the lawn on a college campus studying and talking.

Who are these University Pathways suited for?

If you would like to attend a university in the United States, but don’t want to take the English test required by schools, ILI’s University Pathways Program is a good option for you. ILI’s University Pathways students do NOT need to take the TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or other standardized ESL test. A University Pathways recommendation letter from ILI satisfies our partner university’s English requirements, thus exempting students from taking additional ESL exams.

ILI partners with 12 carefully selected regional colleges and universities and with Shorelight Education, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees at 14 schools around the United States.

Quick facts

  • ILI’s University Pathways track schools offer diverse programs
  • ILI partners with low-cost, highly accessible community colleges. Community colleges cost less and offer more flexible admission pathways
  • You don’t have to take the TOEFL to be accepted as long as you can reach the B2 level at ILI
  • Focus on being a successful student in the U.S. academic culture
  • Develop skills in essay writing, classroom participation and presentations, small-group discussions, team collaboration, academic research, and critical analysis.
  • Individualized support to help students transition successfully

Partner Universities

Here are our partners

Below is a list of our 12 regional partner schools in the University Pathways track and their most popular programs for international students.

  • Bay Path University – Programs: Business, Education, Biology, Legal Studies, Psychology, Forensic Science, Occupational Therapy and Criminal Justice
  • Boston Architectural College – Programs: Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation, Sustainable Design and Design for Human Health
  • Cambridge College – Programs: Management Studies, Human Services, Psychology, Early Childhood Education, & Health Care Management. Graduate: Mental Health Counseling, Master of Business Administration, Autism/Behavior Analyst, School Nurse Education, Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities
  • Elms College – Programs: Business Management, Computer Information Technology, Post-baccalaureate Pre-medical and Master of Business Administration
  • Greenfield Community College – Programs: Renewable Energy, Engineering, Farm and Food Systems, Business Administration, and University transfer options (automatic acceptance for qualified students)
  • Holyoke Community College – is a two-year college located in Holyoke, Massachusetts offering academic, transfer, and non-credit programs
  • Lasell University – Programs: Fashion Design, Fashion and Retail Merchandising, Business, Communication, Resort and Casino Management
  • Paul Smith’s College – Programs: Culinary Arts; Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management; Baking and Pastry Arts; Environmental Science; Natural Resource Management and Policy; Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
  • Springfield College – Programs: Arts, Sciences and Professional Studies; Health, Physical Education and Recreation; Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies; and Social Work
  • Western New England University – Programs: Business, Sports Management, Engineering, Criminal Justice, Communication
  • Westfield State University – Programs: Business Management, Criminal Justice, Education, Movement Science, Psychology and Communications
  • UMass Amherst Graduate School – Programs: Computer Science, Psychology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Polymer Science and Engineering
  • For more information about our National University Partners, contact Chris Elliott:

Levels & Progress

When you arrive at our English school in Massachusetts, we will give you an assessment test to place you in the best class for your level.

You will find yourself in a class with other students of a level similar to yours, with everybody working together to reach individual English goals.

Our English language level system at ILI

The six Intensive English Program levels are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The learning goals of your IEP classes help you reach proficiency in your current level so that you can move on to the next level.

Tier 1: Basic English in Use 

A1 Beginner Level : IEP classes teach you basic vocabulary and short phrases for survival in everyday situations. You learn the fundamentals of building sentences and naming important objects, places, people, and activities.

A2 Elementary Level: IEP classes  help you engage in simple conversations, give short presentations, write complete sentences, and develop short paragraphs about familiar topics. You improve basic grammatical structures, pronunciation, and vocabulary to communicate about travel, school, and daily life using general English.

Tier 2: Intermediate English in Use

B1 Intermediate: IEP classes teach you how to communicate appropriately and clearly in most social, work, and school situations with greater ease. You work on correcting grammatical errors as you expand your knowledge of most common grammatical structures, while incorporating some idiomatic language into presentations and texts.

B2 Upper Intermediate: IEP classes help you communicate effectively about both familiar  and unexpected topics in most social, business, and university situations with less strain and greater detail. You expand your academic and business English skills while reading authentic articles, composing essays, and conversing with a large degree of independence. Students on the University Pathways track may receive a recommendation for an ILI Partner School upon achieving competency in B2 CEFR, which correlates approximately to TOEFL iBT 80+ and IELTS 6.5+. 

Tier 3: Advanced English in Use

C1 Advanced: Classes prepare you to speak, write, read, and listen in collaboration with native speakers in most professional and academic situations with relative ease. You enhance interpersonal skills to advance your career in an English speaking country, fixing minor grammatical errors and incorporating a wide range of grammatical structures, idioms and nuanced expressions to persuade, clarify, and elaborate.

C2 Proficiency:  Classes support you as you master the ability to understand, synthesize, and analyze virtually everything heard or read. You enhance your knowledge of slang and jargon, perfect complex grammar and idiomatic language, and polish your communication skills for any professional or academic setting with consistent ease.  

Students who show satisfactory progress and attend at least 80% of classes receive a certificate of completion. You graduate from the IEP with a Certificate of Completion that states your CEFR English proficiency level (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2) and number of weeks you studied. Your Certificate of Completion  enhances your resume, CV, and college application. Plus, your  Certificate of Completion travels home with you as a souvenir of your amazing experience!

Your Progress in English

One big question you might have is how long do you need to study English until you reach your goals? The answer is not simple. Many factors affect the rate of your progress in English, such as:

  • Your start level in English
  • Your learning pace and style of learning.
  • Your commitment to homework, self-study, and using English outside of school.
  • How well you cope with English-only instruction in the classroom and how comfortable you are joining in with classroom activities.
  • Your native language. It’s a fact that some native languages, like Spanish or French, make progress easier than languages like Arabic or Chinese.

Here is an approximation of how long it takes to go from Beginner level to each of the following levels:

  • A0 – A1 | Beginner to Elementary2-3 monthsThe learning journey from Beginner to Elementary takes about 2 to 3 months on average.
    Elementary is TOEFL iBT 0 – 20 | IELTS 0 – 2
  • A1 – A2 | Elementary to Upper Elementary3-5 monthsIt takes about 3 to 5 months to go from Beginner to Upper Elementary.
    Upper Elementary level is TOEFL iBT 20 – 40 | IELTS 2 – 4
  • A2 – B1 | Upper Elementary to Intermediate 6-8 monthsIt takes about 6 to 8 months to go from Beginner to Intermediate level in English.
    Intermediate is TOEFL iBT 40 – 60 | IELTS 4 – 6
  • B1 – B2 | Intermediate to Upper Intermediate8-9 monthsIt takes approximately 8 to 9 months of lessons and language immersion to go from Beginner to Upper Intermediate English.
    Upper Intermediate is TOEFL iBT 70 – 95 | IELTS 6 – 7
  • B2 – C1 | Upper Intermediate to Advanced9-10 monthsIt will take around 9 to 10 months to go from Beginner to an Advanced level of English.
    Advanced is TOEFL iBT 95 – 110 | IELTS 7 – 8
  • C1 – C2 | Advanced to Proficiency11 months +It will take at least 11 months to go from Beginner to Proficiency, with a considerable amount of time and effort in and out of class.
    Proficiency is TOEFL iBT 110 – 120 | IELTS 8 – 9


Got a question?

We’re here to help make it as easy as possible for you to get from where you are now, to studying English in Massachusetts with ILI.

Here are some questions other students have asked us:

Selected FAQs

Your English needs to be at a B2 level (Upper Intermediate) to attend most universities in the US. If you come to us with a B1 level, we recommend 6 months of English study before applying for college. If you’re currently A2 (High Beginner), you’ll definitely need 12 months of English study for college.

But remember there’s more to college prep than TOEFL and IELTS cramming. You need practical training for the US academic environment. You need to speak up in class actively, write well-organized original essays, and read hundreds of pages of English every week. Our University Pathways option provides that training to transition successfully without needing to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or any other test.. We require a minimum of 3 months in our University Pathways option before potential consideration for a recommendation to our partner colleges.

The minimum age for ILI students is 17 years, however many are already pursuing their careers and tend to be older. Students come from all over the world and from a wide variety of backgrounds with diverse ethnic and religious beliefs. Students enrolled in the Intensive English Program often need to prepare for university studies in the US and need to improve their English skills. Some need to learn English for business purposes, or perhaps they are just here for the experience of living and studying English in the US.

Students enroll in the intensive program for 21 hours a week or more. The typical schedule is Monday through Thursday from nine in the morning to two thirty in the afternoon, nine in the morning until twelve noon on Fridays (There are no classes on Friday afternoons). Some students like to spend the afternoons in our computer lab or with new friends exploring the town, while others may go home and study.

We assign optional homework as many of our students are working adults with very busy schedules. However, we encourage our students to practice outside of class as much as possible.

We offer monthly field trips that take students to various places, such as museums, food distribution centers, historical sites and more. Through these diverse outings, students learn firsthand about culture and history, and foster a deeper appreciation for the world around us.

We’ve got you covered. Just contact Macey Faiella, Director of English Programs, at, and our team will make sure you follow the correct steps to get your F-1 Visa. Please note that Change of Status applications are currently taking 9-12 months for USCIS to process.

Northampton is 2 hours from Boston and 3 hours from New York City. Students can take a bus to Boston or NY City for about USD$39-45 (one-way) sometimes even less. By train it can cost USD$35-81.

Ask Macey a question about our Intensive English Program

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Ready to get started with our University Pathways Program?

Simply follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Learn more about our Intensive English Program.
  2. Fill out the application form.
  3. We’ll contact you personally to go through your needs.
  4. You book and pay and we support you as you plan your trip.

Still not sure?

Not a problem! If you are searching for more information you can:

The ILI Promise

At ILI, we believe that all our actions should stem from grace and loving kindness.

Portrait of Caroline Gear - Executive Director
  • We operate as an equal opportunity organization.
  • We nurture relationships beyond the classroom.
  • We are committed to providing the highest quality language instruction and teacher training.
  • We promote intercultural understanding and celebrate the diversity in our local communities.
  • We work collaboratively to build and sustain the communities we serve.
  • We believe in life-changing teaching and learning.

Other ways to learn

Private English Lessons

Male student writing about first US experience.

Choose Private English Classes for exclusive one-on-one time with your teacher, or add them to your Intensive English Program for an extra boost.

English for the Workplace

A large group of ESOL students who work in a hospital.

Workplace English boosts English language communication skills in your place of work. Individual or group, online or face-to-face, it’s all possible.