How do I choose an ESL school?

Vancouver is a major centre for ESL training in Canada. Like many other destinations for international students, Vancouver has good schools and bad schools.

It is important to choose a well-managed school before applying. How does one go about choosing the right school?

Consider your personal needs and goals

Every ESL school has its own mission and target clientele. Because of this, understanding your personal needs is most important. Do you want to improve your English conversation skills to improve your employability? Do you want to improve your overall academic ability to meet the entrance requirements for higher education? Many ESL schools focus on conversational English. Such schools would not be suitable for students wanting to better their academic English.

Tip from the experts: Enrolling in the ESL program of a particular institution does not mean future enrollment into its undergraduate or graduate faculties. It is important to understand the nature of ESL education offered at each school.

The Professional Standing of the ESL School

The professional standing of an ESL school is determined by its public approval. An ESL school that is registered with the relevant public authority is a credible institution. Whether a school is properly registered can be verified through the official websites of the school and the responsible ministries.

Public perception is also an important indicator of a school’s quality. Student forums and academic forums on the internet are excellent sources of such information.

The ESL Classroom

What are the qualifications of the instructor? How many students are there per class? How is the program structured? What is the format of instruction?

International Student Services

Does the school provide Study permit application services? Does it offer information and advising on matters such as prospective school and major analysis, application package preparation, or interview preparation? What is the quality of such services? The availability of such services will ease the student’s burden and accelerate the pace of learning.


What kind of fees are there? Does the length of the program fit with your schedule and projected timeline? The fees charged by ESL departments at public universities are usually much higher than those charged by specialist ESL colleges are.