So you’ve decided to further your education and develop your language skills. This is great news, especially since English can provide you with so many benefits once you master it in all areas. Before you commence your studies though, you will need to choose a course to enroll in. This can be quite confusing as there is such a wide variety available. This guide will look at what you have to consider so you can then decide on which study program will be best suited to your needs.
What Is Your Level?
First, you’ll need to evaluate how well you can speak, listen to, read and write in English. There are generally multiple levels available for language learners to choose from:
- Lower intermediate
- Upper intermediate
Depending on which level you are at, there will be a limited range of courses for you to choose from. The right decision will put you in a class which is challenging but not impossible for you to get through. You’ll also avoid enrolling in a program which is far too easy for you and which ultimately bores you. Opt for a level which is just right and you’ll get the most out of your studies.
Why Do You Want to Study?
The reason behind you wanting to learn English will help show you which courses are right for your needs. This is because the top language schools often have the following tailored programs available:
- General English courses which cover everyday conversation and let you talk about topics like shopping, sports, pets, dining out, etc.
- Business English courses which look at more advanced areas such as networking, negotiations, scheduling, communication, etc.
- Academic English courses which focus on writing proposals, research papers and theses as well as reading textbooks, studies, etc.
By sitting down and working out what your purpose is when it comes to studying English, you can then choose a course which fits in with these goals.
What Type of Class Is Suitable?
The next question you’ll have to think about is whether you want to take group or private lessons. There are pros and cons to both these methods so you’ll have to determine which one you prefer.
Group classes let you interact with many people having the same conversation. This is great practice as you will often speak English to groups of people simultaneously. You’ll also get to hone your skills by listening to various accents.
Individual classes give you more personal time with the teacher. This is because the instructor won’t have to split their time between multiple students. They can adjust the level to suit your abilities and focus on developing your skills.
Is Your Schedule Busy?
Your timetable will also affect which classes you can and can’t enrol in. If you are working fulltime, you’ll be limited to English courses which are held in the evenings or on the weekends. On the other hand, those studying at university may be able to attend a language program during the day when they don’t have anything else on.
If you are really pressed for time, you may find that individual classes are more suitable as they can be tailored to your timetable. As you’re the only student attending, you’ll find that these courses are much more flexible. This makes them perfect for the busy business person who still wants to hone their skills in English.
How Much Can You Afford?
Money is also a crucial factor choosing a language program. Some are more affordable than others so you’ll have to compare prices before deciding. There are two ways to tackle this issue:
- Look at the hourly rate and see which one matches your budget. Doing a set amount of hours per month will tell you how much you have to pay every four weeks.
- Ask how much the full course costs. This is suitable if you want to pay upfront. Some schools may even offer a discount if you make this one initial payment.
The choice you make depends on the money you have available for your English courses and the payment options on offer for you.
What Schools Are in Your Area?
Where you live will also dictate which courses you can enroll in. This is because bigger cities typically have more options than smaller towns. For instance, London residents can find English schools such as more in the area. This means they have a wider selection available and a better chance to find a course suited to their needs.
If you don’t have many language schools to choose from, you can still talk with the staff at a local institute and ask about tailoring a program instead. This will work if you enrol in individual classes as there is far more flexibility involved. The top schools will strive to meet your goals no matter what.
Are There Online Options?
Lastly, you should have a look at whether there are any web-based courses available for those in your area. Even if you can’t gain access to a physical school, you should find that there are online options in which you study with a teacher via video chat. In some cases, there may even be a whole class of students studying simultaneously.
Be aware though that learning English online has its limitations and should only be chosen as a last resort for those who can’t find a nearby school or appropriate course. Seeing as you’re not face-to-face with the teacher, there are many subtleties that you will miss out on while studying on the web.
By asking yourself these questions, you will get a better idea about which English courses will suit your lifestyle, skill level, budget and location. You should then have a decent idea about which programs will give you the best chance to improve your skills in the right manner. In this way, you can expand on your language abilities.