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Headway English Language Program - HELP

Headway English Language Program - HELP
Academic and Cultural Advancement

Giving admitted international students the means to familiarize themselves with St. Louis, UMSL, and university-level, academic English.

The Headway English Language Program (HELP) allows international students time to adapt to campus and improve their English abilities before beginning degree programs at UMSL. As an alternative to taking the English placement exam during new student orientation in August, the summer program allows students time to demonstrate proficiency and improvement over time. 

Things you can do in six weeks: Familiarize yourself with the campus. Find a roommate. Make new friends. Try new food. Explore the city. Improve your English without worrying about grades. Talk to your teachers. Get good advice. Learn about life in St Louis without all the stress. Take care of paperwork. Get ready for the fall semester on campus. Use the computer labs. Have fun in the recreation center. 

In other words, if you enroll in the program, you will lower the culture shock and be academically ready for the fall classes. If you want to be ready for the fall semester, we are ready for you. 

The six-week summer course also gives faculty a better understanding of new students’ readiness for academic coursework at UMSL. The final exam for the course is the placement test for the fall. This program will prepare you for the placement test. 

Summer students

July 3 - August 14, 2017

Headway English Language Program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is designed to prepare international students for study in U.S. colleges and universities. The program is primarily for those students who need to improve their English to effectively participate in university-level classes and plan on furthering their education at either undergraduate or graduate levels.

University courses in the United States are demanding: extensive reading, presentations in front of the class, participation in group discussions, and writing original, well-researched papers. The program is designed not only to prepare international students for the rigors and expectations of the classroom, but also to equip them with the tools and confidence needed to participate fully in academic life on campus. The HELP program is perfect for newly admitted international students because it gauges whether or not they must enroll in English language courses during the first semester of their degree program.

We make every effort to provide students with a supportive and friendly learning environment, using the mos effective teaching strategies and appropriate technological tools. Our aim is always to be at the forefront of the latest research-based pedagogy in order to provide the best courses with the best set of instructors who can help the students reach and surpass their English language goals. Our role is to support the students along their academic journey and help make the transition to campus life as smooth as possible. In addition to classes, we organize excursions into the city so that students can learn about the local culture and speak English in a more informal setting. 


Arriving prior to the start of the fall semester provides the students time to get adjusted to life on campus: finding accommodations and roommates, making friends and speaking English with teachers and fellow students, getting accustomed to the food, and orienting themselves to the campus and the resources available to them. This program gives the students time to form the cultural knowledge and awareness necessary for a successful transition to a new academic environment. The course gives them time to develop their academic level of English by using English on a daily basis.

Course design

The summer program uses a project-based learning approach to learning English. Instead of isolating on the five components of English - reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar, the project-based approach integrates all of them into the course design. Students actively use all components to complete a project in much the same way they would in their regular academic coursework.

Cost and Admission

The Intensive English Language Institute (July 3 - August 14) costs $2500. The main objective of the program is to prepare international students for the American university classroom experience. The emphasis is on English for Academic Purposes, with a focus on presentation skills and academic writing. Classes are held approximately five hours per day, 9:30 am - 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Expect daily homework in all classes. Students will have access to the University language, writing, and computer laboratories to assist them with their studies. 

Please complete the Registration Form by June 5, 2017. Once you submit the registration information, you will receive an email with additional information. The registration form requires you to have a student number. 

Saint Louis skyline

St. Louis, Missouri

The metropolitan area has a population of nearly 2.8 million people from a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. A mix of urban and suburban settings in various historical and ethnic neighborhoods provides a unique experience to all visitors. Professional sports teams are the focus for many in this highly rated sports town. For others, it is all of the different museums, gardens, galleries and culture that grab their attention. All in all, St. Louis has something for everyone and offers a great opportunity to explore the many facets of a major mid-western American city.

UMSL campus

University of Missouri-St. Louis

The University of Missouri-St. Louis, established in 1963 as part of the University of Missouri system, has a student enrollment of over 16,500, with 900 faculty members. Degrees are granted in forty undergraduate programs, eight doctoral programs, and the Doctor of Optometry program.

The University is located in north St. Louis County with public transportation links to the city and various neighborhoods of the metropolitan area. Its libraries, state-of-the-art computer labs, and recreational facilities provide students with a complete environment to maximize learning.

UMSL recreation center

Housing/University Facilities

Housing in a single, air-conditioned, furnished room in a university residence hall is available, although not included in the cost of the program. The residence hall is accessible to the campus on foot or by the university shuttle bus. The hall has kitchenettes on each floor, a lounge area with a television, laundry facilities, access to an outdoor swimming pool and on-site staff.

Meals are not included in the program fee, but the university offers meal plans for the cafeteria, which is open for breakfast and lunch during the week. A shuttle service to area grocery stores is provided and there are several restaurants in the area. Participants should be prepared to either bring or purchase necessary cooking materials.

Upon arrival, the participants will receive a university ID (identification card). This card enables students to use the university library, the computer labs and the recreation center, including the gymnasium, exercise and fitness rooms, indoor pool and various other facilities and courts (basketball, tennis, etc). The ID card also serves as a ticket for the St. Louis regional transit, including all bus and MetroLink services. Transportation with the ID entitles the rider to travel free-of-charge.

On campus housing:

University Meadows Apartments
Located on UMSL South Campus
2 bedroom, 4 bedroom and efficiency apartments
Living room and fully equipped kitchens in all apartments

University Meadows

Oak Hall

UMSL students 

Visa/Financial Information

If a student chooses to participate in the summer HELP program, then the I-20 will be issued for the summer dates as well. Upon acceptance to the summer program, an I-20 form is provided. This form should be presented to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the applicant's country of residence to obtain an F-1 Student Visa for entry into the United States.

Health Insurance

International students are required to have medical insurance while studying at UMSL. Health insurance is available at the university for approximately $83.00 a month.

PROGRAM FEE: $2,500.00


Jerol Enoch
Coordinator, International Training Programs
International Studies and Programs
University of Missouri-St. Louis
366 SSB One University Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4400
Telephone: 314-516-6838