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Attending college in the United States when English isn’t your first language is a noble pursuit. However, that doesn’t mean doing so is easy. Fortunately, you can incorporate a number of tips to make this experience less jarring.

English As A Second Language? How To Overcome The Struggle In College

Writing Centers

Most college campuses have writing centers. You may even find that some centers hire students who specialize in working with students who don’t speak English as their first language. Writing centers have varying theories that govern their methods of instruction. However, many of them focus on helping you to help yourself. While you may not be able to get your paper edited, you can work with a tutor who helps you to learn a specific set of skills and encourages you to apply those lessons in future projects.


Colleges and universities often have resources to support their ESL students. For example, you might take ESL classes, such as those at the Interactive College Of Technology, or you may join an organization at your school for students who are in a similar position as you are. Taking advantage of the resources on campus designed specifically for ESL students also helps you to build a community. You and your peers can learn from one another.

Culture Immersion

Busy Teacher suggests enjoying your studying of English. You don’t always have to integrate more English into your vocabulary through using workbooks and online exercises. Instead, seek out opportunities to interact with people who speak English. For example, you could join an art club on campus, or you might start visiting museums or taking music lessons in a nearby city. Opportunities to practice English in a more casual manner are important to your growth.

Set Reasonable Expectations

You might start college thinking that you have to earn A’s in all of your courses. Remember that you are going to college to learn. Setting this expectation of perfection can cause unnecessary stress in a time period that is already stressful. For example, if you have very weak grammar and sentence structure skills, essentially demanding an A in writing courses is a useless approach. Instead, focus on improving specific areas of your writing. You may also find that professors are more willing to work with you if you express a desire to improve your personal weaknesses as opposed to expressing a desire to have the highest grade in the class.

You should feel proud of yourself for deciding to embark upon this journey. Know that resources are available to guide you along the way.