Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to an ELP program

Students must turn 18 years old within six months of the first day of their program. Some programs require that students be older than 17 to begin the program. If the student must be older than 17, it will be stated under "Requirements" for that specific program.

Yes, once you are in the United States, we can assist you in extending your I-20 so that you may lengthen your study period.

No, full-time students must attend our programs on a student visa (unless the student is a US citizen, permanent resident, or has another similar situation). For information about how to get a visa, see our How to Apply page. 

No, we do not offer conditional admission to Penn. If you are interested in studying in the US for your undergraduate or graduate degree, you can learn more about our University Connection program. 


You should plan to arrive in Philadelphia the day before your session begins. When you arrive in Philadelphia, you can go directly to your housing provider. Visit our Arrival and Transportation page for information about transportation from the Philadelphia International Airport. On the first day of the session, you will go to the ELP office at 110 Fisher-Bennett Hall, 3340 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. 

On the first day, you only need to bring your passport and a pen or pencil. You will receive an orientation folder when you arrive that will provide you with information, a map, and other details about your program. 

Academics and classroom

In the Intensive Program and University Connection program you will have orientation for the first two days of your program. On the second day of orientation, you will receive your class schedule. For all other programs, you will receive your class schedule on the first day of your program.

We have we have six levels ranging from 300 (pre-intermediate) to 800 (advanced communicator) at the ELP. Each of our levels corresponds to a range of proficiency levels within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). See the CEFR-ELP IP level equivalency chart on our Intensive Program Course page.

CEFR equivalents are loosely equated with a range of TOEFL and IELTS scores.

We provide certificates of attendance to students who do not violate the attendance policy, as stated in the student handbook. All students can request a transcript of their grades if they would also like a record of the courses they took and the grades they received. 

For the Intensive Program and University Connection Program, you will take an online placement test prior to arrival to determine your level. Please refer to the Intensive Program Admissions Requirements page if you have any questions about the online placement test.

We offer TOEFL preparation courses in the Intensive Program/University Connection Program. Students wishing to take the TOEFL test can register online through the TOEFL website to take the test at the Philadelphia Testing Center.

Campus life

There are many housing options for ELP students. Please check our housing page to learn about the different options. Students are not required to stay in one of the housing options listed. Students can make other housing arrangements according to their preferences.

Yes, Penn students are involved in over 650 clubs and organizations, such as the Tae Kwon Do Club, Thai Students Association, and Penn Cycling. As an ELP student, you will be able to join many of these clubs. The ELP staff can help you learn more about how to get involved in student organizations on campus.

ELP students can always go to lectures that are open to the Penn community. Students who wish to go to closed lectures can email the professor to request permission to sit in on a class. 

As a Penn student, you will receive a Penn student ID card. The PennCard will allow you to access Penn's many libraries, museums (Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Arthur Ross Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art), computer labs, Morris Arboretum, and Penn's transit services. Students may also access Penn's recreation centers for an additional fee.

In order to get a driver's license, you must have an I-20 that extends at least six months into the future. If your I-20 is for the appropriate length of time, you can go to the ELP main office to request a letter that you will need to take to the Social Security card center. With the letter from the ELP, you will be able to get a Social Security number denial letter. You will need to take the Social Security number denial letter, along with two forms of proof of residency, your immigration documents, and a medical exam DL-54A form, to the driver's license center. Once at the driver's license center, you will need to take three tests (vision, knowledge, and driving) to obtain a driver's license. Please visit the ELP main office for more details. 


Yes, it is University policy that all full-time students on F-1 or J-1 student visas must purchase the insurance through the ELP. Students not on an F-1 or J-1 visa will need to provide proof of medical insurance. 

More information about opening a bank account can be found at Penn's International and Student Scholars (ISSS) website.

Unfortunately, the ELP does not offer scholarships or financial aid. We recommend visiting EducationUSA to learn more about scholarships available for study in the United States.

You will need to submit a $90 enrollment fee and a $410 deposit along with your application. This amount will be credited toward your final bill. The remainder of the tuition and fees will be due at the start of your program.

You will need to pay the initial $500 through an international postal money order, traveler’s check, or wire transfer through Flywire. Unfortunately, we cannot accept cash or credit cards as a form of payment for any bills. 

Students on an F-1 visa may work part-time (up to 20 hours) on campus. However, ELP students need to compete with Penn university students for on-campus jobs. It therefore can be quite difficult for students to find on-campus jobs during their studies at the ELP.