English Tips ESL Trends TLC News


Written by McGovern Education Group, Contributions by Mina Morgan, TLC VP

Lie #1. I should only apply to Top 50 ranked US universities.

There are more than 4,000 universities in the United States and no one, including a magazine ranking system, can accurately determine which is the best school for you. Unless your academic profile is in the 95th percentile, your Top 50 university application will likely be denied. We recommend you find a international student placement agency in the United States that can help you discover great-fit American universities for your academic profile.

Lie #2. I should only apply to the universities with low tuition fees.

Many “affordable” universities with low acceptance requirements are not regionally accredited, which means your investment may result in a disappointing educational experience. Examine the curriculum guide on each university’s website to see if the degree program offered is a good match for you. Create a list of questions and schedule a video conference call with the international admissions department. Again, a knowledgeable international student placement agency can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration.

Lie #3. I need to apply to at least ten universities.

In the end, you can only attend one university. If you are unable to determine the unique differences between 10 universities then look for the aid of an academic advisor or placement agency such as McGovern Education Group. There are many free online resources that can help you get started. However, studying abroad is a big investment, so we recommend finalizing your plans with help of an educational professional. Let McGovern help you to plan your complete study abroad experience from arranging any necessary ESL courses with our exclusive ESL partner, The Language Company, to finding the right university that fits your credentials, program preference, and budget. Finally, keep in mind that the application processes for universities can be time consuming and expensive. Therefore, narrow your list of prospective schools before applying and going for your visa appointment because moving schools and states can be quite costly too!

Lie #4. I should make my decision based solely off of the advice of an online review/agent/relative/friend.

While reputation and recommendation should be highly considered in making a decision about your study abroad destination, please remember that you should do your own research to make sure your personal preferences and needs will be met by a particular school or city. Registered agents (TLC and McGovern have many that we can recommend worldwide), social media, family and friend referral, government/embassy education websites, and google can assist in providing some guidance on a given institution, general locale information, and immigration procedures.  However, we highly recommend that you also consider turning to an experienced, American placement counselor before making your final decision because they will know more about each university he or she represents (and the surrounding city). You can also rely on these professionals should something go wrong, to help answer questions before, after, and during study, and for sound study abroad advice. Unfortunately, Wikipedia will not be there to help you if your institution refuses to give you a refund due to visa denial or denies your acceptance because of lack of English proficiency or if you are stuck at the port of entry.

Lie #5. International student placement agencies are expensive.

A good placement agent serves as a kind of trusted advisor who can help you choose from the 4,000+ US universities, avoid application mistakes, receive application fee waivers and visa interview training, and significantly improve your chances of getting into your dream school in the United States. McGovern offers these services at no cost to international students.

Lie #6. My university application essay doesn’t matter.

Your essay is your opportunity to write directly to the admissions committee, who will determine if you will be accepted or denied. If your statement of purpose essay contains errors or is plagiarized or is too vague, then you have will likely be denied. Many programs are very competitive so do not waste your chance to shine.

Lie #7. It is acceptable to transfer to another university upon arrival.

If you arrive in the US on a visa provided by one university with the intention of immediately transferring to another university, you are in a sense violating immigration regulations. In addition, different institutions have different refund policies so you may be putting yourself at financial risk. You are also potentially putting your immigration status at risk by not planning ahead because most universities are not going to accept you overnight. Many universities do not take too kindly to this type of unethical action and generally do not make it easy to transfer.

Lie #8. Universities are better than colleges.

There is no significant difference between a college and a university in the United States. For example, Dartmouth College and Harvard University are both highly selective and are both Ivy League schools. Additionally, sometimes it is easier, especially for an international applicant to start at a college and then move on to a reputable university.

Lie #9. I can get a free university education in the United States.

Most US colleges and universities do offer international scholarships for well-qualified applicants; however, we are unaware of any US university offering a fully funded (free) education to international students, unless it is specialized student and a specialized program.

Lie #10. I can easily get accepted to a US medical school or law school.

Applying for either medical school or law school is not advised. Both applications are extremely unlikely to be approved. A law degree makes a student an expert in US law and is therefore not applicable to international students returning home. Most public institutions will not accept international students for medical school because of funding restraints and transcript credit issues. In many cases a law degree in other countries does not equate to the credentials of a lawyer in the United States.

For more information about TLC university partners, please visit our Cooperative Institution Database

For more information about our FREE and exclusive placement service, please visit McGovern Education Group.

For more information about how TLC can prepare you for university study and admission, visit The Language Company

TLC Presents U.S. Pathway Possibilities

Written by Christina Stefanik, TLC Director


I’ve been part of the TLC family since 2009 when I joined the instructional staff at TLC-Bowling Green, which opened in 2007. I became Director of TLC-Bowling Green in the spring of 2012, and helped our school relocate from Bowling Green to Toledo in June of 2014.

I spent several years of my life as an international student in Germany and Austria. I know how hard I worked to learn German, one day at a time, and I also strived to understand cultural differences. My own experiences as an international student greatly enriched my life, broadened my perspective and worldview, and also inspired me to work with international students. In my opinion, language learning is uniquely challenging and rewarding, and I firmly believe that the world’s people benefit from all forms of international study. Any person will benefit from gaining a deeper understanding of other cultures. In addition, by virtue of living abroad, people gain a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of their own culture.

The best aspect of my job is watching students evolve and reach their goals. It’s immensely exciting for TLC employees to celebrate student success, such as when students receive admission letters for universities in the United States.

Because Northwest Ohio is a popular destination for Chinese students wishing to study abroad, I was given the opportunity to travel to China for TLC in December of 2014. Chinese students have been coming to Northwest Ohio for decades because of the low cost of living, the safety of the region, and the vast number of academic programs available at nearby universities.

I have traveled quite a bit, but this trip was my first to China. I traveled with a longtime TLC partner, Dr. Chen, who also organized the trip, one representative from Bowling Green State University, and one representative from the University of Toledo. We visited many high schools and universities in different cities, such as Chongqing, Guiyang, Renhuai, and Kunming.

My favorites parts of the trip were meeting the students, taking in the scenery, and the never-ending delicious hotpot dinners.


The students had many questions for us, and I was happy to talk with them about the different pathways that are available to them in terms of study in the United States. Many students seemed excited to learn that TLC can issue an I-20 for short-term study. Because TLC has thirteen four-week sessions each year, new students join TLC programs every four weeks and they’re not required to study for a specific number of sessions. For some students who are unsure about committing to an entire Bachelor’s or Master’s program in the U.S., studying at TLC first can give them a chance to “try out” the United States with a much smaller time and financial commitment. If they enjoy the experience at TLC, then TLC can assist the student in the admissions process for universities. Many students were pleased to hear that TLC has over 100 universities and colleges in its affiliate network. In most cases, these institutions accept Level 9 completion from TLC in lieu of a TOEFL or IELTS score. This information was also very exciting for the students I met in China.


Now I’ll share something that surprised me in China: Everywhere I went, people wanted to take pictures of me or with me. It did not matter if I was in a big city or a remote area, walking on the street or inside a bank–people took my picture constantly, even in the mornings at the hotel breakfasts. In some cases, people put their babies or dogs in my arms before they took the pictures! I am tall and quite pale, and I was told by many people that these were the reasons for all of the photos and stares. Actually, at one of the schools we visited, when a student asked a question in the microphone, he asked what I ate “to get so tall and strong” instead of asking about studying in the United States! Police officers, school officials, bank security guards, department store employees, hotel employees, and so many other people asked for photos with me; I almost felt like a celebrity!

Even though my appearance was of interest to the people and students I met in China, I hope they were more interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and coming to the United States to improve their English, to learn about American culture, and to reach their academic goals! I know that TLC-Toledo and all TLC locations are ready to enable these students to reach their goals; TLC has been doing this for over 30 years, and in my past six years with TLC, I have seen so many students achieve their academic goals.


TLC International Pathways Programs

Pathways to a US Education

A traditional four-year college education in the United States is expensive. In fact, it’s never been more expensive. With competition rising, it feels like it’s never been harder to get an American education. International students must carefully choose the path they’ll take to get their education.
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