Questions About Courses for English Language Learners

Program Director Rosario Navarro

Brown Pre-College Programs attract serious students from the U.S and over 70 countries across the world. Many are interested not only in learning something new but also in improving their English language skills in preparation for college. For those students, there are Summer@Brown courses for English Language Learners (ELL), which cover a range of disciplines, from sociology and medicine to chemistry and writing and give students the additional language learning support they need while they enjoy the full program experience and all that Brown’s campus has to offer.

Interested in learning more? Program Director Rosario Navarro has answered some of the most frequently asked questions about courses for English Language Learners.

What are the Summer@Brown courses for English Language Learners?

Originally called the Intensive English Language Program, it was developed to help students improve their English skills while also getting the full Summer@Brown experience. Rather than a separate program, it’s now embedded in Summer@Brown under courses for English Language Learners. There are 21 courses covering a range of disciplines, from sociology and medicine to chemistry and writing. When not in class, ELL students take part in all Summer@Brown activities and special events.  

Who are these courses best suited for?

Any student, no matter their native language, who wants to enhance or expand their knowledge of a subject area and have the college experience, while also strengthening their English speaking, writing and/or reading skills. That applies to domestic students, too. Many of the students that end up taking ELL courses are really bright students at the top of their class. It’s just a matter of the pace they will be most successful learning the subject matter in English.

How are the ELL courses formatted to support English language skill-building?

In each of the two two-week sessions, students are in class Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays students are given additional time to work on assignments and receive additional language support. In each ELL course, the instructor is joined by a teaching associate. While the instructor focuses on the delivery of content, the associate is there to focus solely on the students’ language acquisition. In general, ELL students benefit from longer class times and a pace that facilitates learning the content while improving their English. ELL students will still have the opportunity to participate in Summer@Brown activities and special events. 

Does the ELL student experience differ from that of other Summer@Brown students?

Not at all. Aside from a slightly different course format, all of the opportunities students have outside of the classroom are identical to those of their Summer@Brown peers. They live in the residence halls with other Summer@Brown students, socialize with classmates from around the world, attend the College Fair and have access to all student groups and workshops. The courses are even the same as those offered in Summer@Brown and are often taught by the same instructors.

Summer@Brown Carnival, one of many events students can participate in.

Writing is an integral skill in college. How do the ELL courses aid students in improving their English writing skills?

ELL course instructors help students understand the culture they are coming from and how they’ve been trained to write, and then teach them about writing in the style of the American academic essay. Exposure to and study of these different ways of thinking will help students write successfully in a U.S. college.

How can students enroll in ELL courses?

Students are guided to ELL courses if our admission committee or program director think that they would benefit from the opportunity to improve their language skills. To self-select, students can mention their desire to take an ELL course in their essay. A complete list of all ELL courses can be found by going to the Pre-College Course Catalog and filtering for the “English Language Learning” option under “Area of Study.

Course Catalog displaying Courses for English Language Learners


What kind of feedback have you received from students who have previously taken ELL courses?

Students, some having returned for a second summer, appreciate the smaller class sizes and the instructor experience teaching ELL. They also like the diversity of the experience, as ELL classrooms tend to have more international students. The mix of cultures and experiences means there are many perspectives to learn from and lots of interesting, globally focused conversations taking place.

For more information, visit the ELL website

2 thoughts on “Questions About Courses for English Language Learners”

  1. Hello! Thank you for your question. The cost of a 4-week course which includes board and meals is $6,764. If you have any other questions or would like more clarification please reach out to our Program Advisors at (401) 863-7900 or They will be happy to help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.