Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Student with a friend


Admission to CESL

Thank you for your interest in the Center for English as a Second Language (CESL), the intensive English program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). As a part of SIUC, CESL is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students and issue the I-20 form required to apply for a student visa. Admission is open to individuals who:

  • are 18 years or older and/or have completed high school
  • have enough funds or a scholarship available to cover their expenses (tuition, fees, and living expenses) for the entire time of study at CESL
  • are willing to work hard in a demanding language-learning program

Application Process

  1. Fill out the CESL application form:
  • Complete the on-line application form
  • Request a PDF application form by e-mailing
  • Visit the CESL office at Faner Hall 3242 in the SIUC campus and ask for a paper application
  1. Send a copy of your passport (it must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your period of stay in the United States)
  1. Send proof of funding: A copy of a bank statement from the person paying for your education or a copy of your financial guarantee if you have an scholarship.
  1. Complete the Financial Statement Form (pdf)
  1. Pay a $50.00 non-refundable application fee*:
  • via
  • using the attached Credit Card Form (pdf)
  • sending a check or money order payable to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
  1. Provide transcripts of your academic records (if you are under 18 or if you are a transfer student)

You may send copies of the supporting documents to but you will need to take the originals to your visa interview and bring them to the CESL office during registration week. You may also send the documents via mail to:

CESL Admissions 
1000 Faner Drive
Mail Code 4518
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois 62901

*In addition, a $1000 initial non-refundable tuition deposit might be required before granting admission. This one-time fee indicates your commitment to attend CESL and secures your course enrollment. When you register as a new student, the $1000 deposit will be applied towards the tuition of your first term. Please note that this deposit will not be refunded if you withdraw CESL before finishing the term.


Carbondale is easily accessible from the Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri. This airport is a 2-hour ride away from Carbondale (100 miles/160 km).  There is a private van service from St. Louis to Carbondale called BART Shuttle. You can make your airport transportation reservation HERE.

If you decide to flight to Chicago's O'Hare Airport instead of St. Louis, you can take a Blue Line Train to the Clinton Metro Station in downtown Chicago. From there, you will need to walk or take a taxi to the Union Train Station a few block away. There, you can take the Amtrak Train to Carbondale (about 5 hours south). Amtrak information is available HERE.


Please let us know if you would like us to send you an email with information about housing before arrival. We can also help you upon arrival in making arrangements for living accommodations. Most students prefer to live in dormitories near campus. The approximate cost of room and board in dormitories is indicated under the COST tab. Click HERE to see SIU housing options.

Admission to a Degree Program in SIU

SIU offers Conditional Admission in all undergraduate programs and most graduate programs if you have a low score on an English proficiency exam but you meet all other academic requirements for your major. Conditional admission means that you will receive admission to the university with the condition that you will study intensive English at CESL before starting classes at the university level. If you receive conditional admission to SIU, you do not have to complete an additional application for CESL; you are automatically admitted to CESL. Just send a copy of your conditional admission letter or I-20 to International students that already meet the English proficiency requirement can apply for full undergraduate admission at the UG admission site or graduate admission at the graduate admission site.