Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I enroll in IEOP?

IEOP typically has 100 or more students from 8 to 12 countries in the fall and spring sessions, with a lower number in the summer session. Students study in IEOP for a variety of reasons:

  • To prepare for academic course work in English
  • To improve English skills in order to pass an English proficiency exam
  • To experience living an English-speaking country
  • To live overseas before continuing studies in their home country
  • To improve their international employment opportunities

2. How long do most students spend in IEOP?

This depends on the amount of English students have studied before they arrive and how hard they work once they are here. Students are usually here one or two semesters.

3. Does IEOP prepare students for the TOEFL and the new ibt TOEFL?


Yes. We have an optional test preparation class/workshops. It includes preparation for the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT), the paper-based TOEFL (PBT), and the IELTS. IEOP students may enroll for a fee. Study in IEOP includes time in a computer lab. This is called Testing Tutoring Lab. Resources available on the computers help students prepare to pass the TOEFL.

Our classes prepare students to read, write, speak, and understand English. Our goal for students goes beyond passing the a test. We prepare students to succeed at university-level work once they finish IEOP.

4. Does IEOP prepare students for the IELTS?

Yes. We have an optional test preparation class/workshops. It includes preparation for the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT), the paper-based TOEFL (PBT), and the IELTS. IEOP students may enroll for a fee. Study in IEOP includes time in a computer lab. This is called Testing Tutoring Lab. Resources available on the computers help students prepare to pass the IELTS.

Our classes prepare students to read, write, speak, and understand English. Our goal for students goes beyond passing the a test. We prepare students to succeed at university-level work once they finish IEOP.

5. How big are IEOP classes?

We have small classes of 15 students.

6. Does IEOP have computers for student use?



Yes. Computers are available for IEOP students in the Language Learning Center in the Landscape Architecture building. Full-time IEOP students also can use computers throughout the Iowa State University campus.

7. Is wireless Internet available for student use?



Yes, free wireless is available for students throughout the Iowa State University campus.

8. What activities does IEOP offer?


IEOP offers field trips, a Conversation Club, and a Cultural Awareness class. IEOP takes students on one or two field trips or to other special events during the semester. During fall and spring semesters, IEOP has a Conversation Club that meets on Mondays and Wednesdays. ISU students lead these meetings and take Club members to different places on campus, in Ames, or occasionally to other communities. The Conversation Club also watches and discusses movies, has guest speakers, plays language games, or discusses current events. Attendance and participation in Conversation Club is optional. The Cultural Awareness class is required for new IEOP students and provides an orientation to American culture that helps new students feel comfortable in the United States. IEOP students may also choose to participate in many activities at Iowa State University. Some of these activities are free. There are many clubs and organizations at Iowa State, and the University also has an Events Calendar.

9. Can I take an Iowa State class while I am in IEOP?


If students meet the following criteria, they may take one ISU class for credit:

  • Be in at least three high level IEOP skills class
  • Have a score of 500 or higher on the paper-based TOEFL exam (or equivalent)
  • Have to be doing well in In-Class Performance, Assignments, and Assessments in each IEOP class
  • Have the recommendation of IEOP instructors
(if returning)
  • Have the approval of the IEOP Director
  • Have approval of the ISU course instructor

  • Have approval of either the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (undergraduate students) or the Graduate College (graduate students).
  • The ISU class that a student takes cannot meet at the same time that IEOP classes meet.

Students must pay additional tuition to take an ISU class.

10. Is admission to IEOP the same as admission to Iowa State University (ISU)?


No. The IEOP teaches English to international students. This helps students improve their English skills so they are prepared for academic study and can gain admission to ISU.

11. Is it possible for an international student to apply to both ISU and IEOP?


If you know you need to improve your English, you should apply directly to IEOP. Be sure to choose “IEOP” when you answer question number 9. Use the application at the bottom of the nondegree application page

You may apply to ISU as an international student. If you do not meet the University’s language requirements, you will be invited to apply to IEOP as you apply to ISU. This is called “conditional admission.” Learn more about the requirements you need to be admitted to ISU. You may fill out an international application for ISU here.

If admitted to the University after completing IEOP, your Visa is easily transferred from IEOP to ISU. You will not need to apply for a new student Visa.

12. Is IEOP worth the cost?


Yes. The IEOP offers 20 hours of class for 16 weeks. Class sizes are small, and the IEOP has excellent instructors! IEOP students can participate in Conversation Club, the Cultural Awareness class, practice TOEFL tests, and IEOP field trips. IEOP students also have access to the Language Learning Center (LLC) computer resources. Learn more about IEOP facilities here.

Tutors are available at the LLC to answer questions and help students as they study.

13. Must I purchase health insurance before my arrival or will I be able to buy insurance through IEOP?

International students must have health insurance. Most international students must purchase health insurance through Iowa State University. You will be charged for this insurance unless you seek a waiver. Iowa State University’s health insurance information is available online. If you have questions, contact the Student and Scholar Health Insurance Program Office at (515)-294-2394 or isusship@iastate.edu.

14. What documents do I need to bring with me when I check in at ISU?

Please bring your stamped I-20, passport, I-94, proof of immunizations, and your admission letter.

15. Where is IEOP located?

We are located on the east side of campus in the Landscape Architecture building in offices 101-104. This building is between the Food Sciences building and Agronomy Hall. It is a short walk from Bessey Hall, where many buses stop. Look for buildings on the ISU interactive campus map.

We look forward to meeting you!