Pierre-Adrien V. of France attended Penn’s English language programs to improve his English for college.
Why did you attend ELP?
I attended the English language program (ELP) at University of Pennsylvania (Penn) because I needed to improve my English for college. I especially needed to practice my reading and listening. I was looking for English language classes in the U.S., and ELP fit exactly with my needs. Furthermore, I found out that UniConn [University Connection, one of Penn’s ELP programs] helps students to apply to American universities.
How did your program at the ELP help you?
I improved my English skills. I had also the opportunity to meet Penn students and to ask them about their experience. It gave me another aspect of university life and helped me make my decision on where to apply and why to apply there.
What did you learn at the ELP that you use in your current life?
English! Now I am not scared of books in English and movies in English. Moreover, I learned how to communicate with people from other cultures. At ELP I got used to talking with people from everywhere, so now when I meet a tourist in France, I go to talk to him/her in order to keep practicing my English, and because I am used to it and I love it.
Did you participate in any on-campus organizations or activities?
With a friend, I participated in a French club. I was also student ambassador and then student representative.
What advice would you give to students currently at ELP?
If they want to improve their English skills, the most efficient way is not to stay with people from their country. It is the easy way, but it does not help to improve their English. They should try to make friends with people from everywhere and try to speak English at least 90% of the time.
Also, when they speak English with their friends they should correct their mutual mistakes. At first it is a little bit annoying because we make a lot of mistakes, but then it helps so much. I realized halfway through my time at ELP that my English level had increased really fast! For example I told my friend Daby to correct me each time I forgot an “s” with he/she/it. The first week he literally corrected me 30 times per day. But after two weeks I was almost done with that mistake.
You were in the University Connection program, tell us about that.
I spent a lot of my time working on my application with Erick (an ELP college counselor). I went to appointments with him and took his class “Applying to U.S. Universities” twice (fall 1 and 2). He helped me a lot, really a lot.
Erick helped me to understand a system that was completely new for me. He helped me with my essays too by correcting mistakes and telling me how to improve the essays. He was always ready to help when I was at ELP and even when I went back to France for Christmas, he continued helping with essays.
Were you accepted at any universities?
I got accepted at William and Mary, Brandeis, and Boston University. I am wait-listed at Penn (College of Arts and Sciences) and University of Virginia.
Where are you planning to go?
My first choice is definitely Penn. I loved my experience here, and after six months on campus, I’m sure I will be happy and successful here. It is the university I know the best, thus I am really sure of my choice.
Do you have any advice for other international students hoping to attend college in the U.S.?
Have fun during your application — it is the best way to make a good one, especially the essay part. Spend a lot of time picking the right college for you, not only based on ranking. You have to apply to colleges where you know you will be happy and successful, and colleges that you will be excited to go to when you are accepted.
Update: Pierre is now studying at Penn!
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