Intensive English Program Student Handbook
Welcome to the Tutorium in Intensive English! We are happy you have come to study here. This handbook will give you important information that you will need while you are a student.
Download our full handbook or open individual chapters below to read each topic. Important topics in the handbook include Tutorium services and policies, transportation, banking, immigration, and health.
If you have a problem or question that the handbook does not address, please contact the Tutorium Office. Your teachers can also help you or tell you where to go for help. We are all here to help you, and we want your experience at the Tutorium to be rewarding.
The U-Pass is a card that allows you to use Chicago public transportation (CTA trains and busses).
Intensive English Program students are automatically enrolled in the UIC U-Pass program.
Any student who does not want a U-Pass must opt out (choose not to enroll) online at https://go.uic.edu/fall_upass by September 12.
- The fee for the U-Pass for the Fall 2021 semester is $163.
- You can use your Fall U-PASS from August 18 to December 15. After December 15, the U-Pass is no longer active.
Remember: If you do not want a U-Pass, you must opt out online at https://go.uic.edu/fall_upass by September 12.
IEP Student Handbook Chapters and Appendices
Message from the Director
Message from the Director
Welcome to the Tutorium in Intensive English! We are happy you have come to study here. We have prepared this handbook to give you important information that you will need while you are a student.
We encourage you to refer to this handbook throughout your entire time at the Tutorium and to use it whenever you need an answer. Some important topics you will find in the handbook are Tutorium services and policies, transportation, banking, immigration, and health. If you have a problem or question that the handbook does not address, please contact the Tutorium Office at email@example.com. Your teachers can also help you or tell you where to go for help. We are all here to help you, and we want your experience at the Tutorium to be rewarding. We want you to have a great experience. Good luck in your studies.
Jason Romano, Director
Tutorium Mission and Vision
The Tutorium has been offering English for speakers of other languages on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus (UIC) since 1978. Under the UIC course subject code English Language and Support for Internationals (ELSI), the Tutorium offers non-degree English courses through three programs: the Intensive English Program (IEP), the English for International Professionals series (EIPS), and the Undergraduate Accelerator pathway program.
The EIPS program provides evening, weekend, and asynchronous online courses, custom courses for UIC departments and external partners, tutoring and editing services, as well as test preparation and testing services. The Undergraduate Accelerator program combines English language instruction, academic preparation, and degree coursework for students accepted to UIC through the pathway program.
The mission of the Tutorium in Intensive English at UIC is to:
- provide English language instruction enabling non-native speakers to acquire the skills necessary to meet their academic, professional, social, and personal goals.
- support the profession of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) by contributing to the field and maintaining model English language programs.
The Tutorium, as a long-standing leader in English language instruction and support, will be an indispensable resource to the University of Illinois at Chicago and the larger international community by empowering learners to achieve their academic and professional pursuits.
Tutorium Accreditations and Memberships
The intensive English program is accredited by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation, CEA, through the year 2027.
The Tutorium is also a member of EnglishUSA, University and College Intensive English Programs (UCIEP), and NAFSA – the Association of International Educators.
Chapter 1: Academic Life
- Program Description
- Placement Procedures
- Evaluation of Students
- Evaluation of the Program
- Student Responsibilities at the University
- Student Responsibilities at the Tutorium
- Academic Expectations
- Student Suggestions and
- Classroom Guests
- Electives Week
- Preparing for Study at American Universities or Colleges
- Tests of English Competency
Table of Contents
- University Identification Card
- New/Continuing Student Registration
- Social Security Number
- Field Trips
- Tutorium Publications
- Special Letter Requests
- Volunteer Opportunities
- SCAILAB Services
- UIC Netid & Email
- Student Records – FERPA
Table of Contents
SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System)
- United States Entry Visa
- Form I-20 (F-1 Students)
- Form I-94
F-1 Student Requirements
- Maintaining Full-time Status
- F-1 Students Transferring from Another US School
- Traveling Outside of the US for F-1 Students
- Program Extension for F-1 students
- Transferring to Another School for F-1 Students
- Reinstatement of Student Status
Chapter 4: Healthcare and Medical Insurance
All university students are required to have medical insurance to cover the cost of health care while at UIC. While you are studying away from home, you will be making many adjustments to food, language, the educational system, and a whole new lifestyle. You may even get homesick. All of these can make you more vulnerable to illness. So it is very important that you understand how to get health care in the United States
Health Care in the United States
The health care system in the United States is probably very different from the medical system in your home country. In the United States, there is no national system of free health care, and costs can be very high. Without health insurance, a daily charge for a hospital bed is about $2,000, and the average cost of having a baby in the hospital is about $18,000. Therefore, it is very important for you to get health insurance for yourself and your family.
Health Insurance Requirements from the University
All students who are in the United States while enrolled in our program are required by the University of Illinois to have health insurance.
Your proof of insurance must include these minimum requirements:
- Name of student
- Dates of coverage
- Sickness Minimum coverage of $50,000 USD per incident
- Injury Minimum coverage of $50,000 USD per incident
- In English
- U.S. contact information listed
The Tutorium Can Help Recommend Health Insurance
Unfortunately, our program does NOT offer health insurance; however, we can recommend different providers. Some questions you need to ask when choosing a health insurance plan are:
- What medical services are covered?
- Do I have to pay? How much?
- Are there forms to complete?
- Who can I call if I have questions?
- Where can I receive medical care?
The Tutorium highly recommends health insurance for F-1 students in the United States (not citizens or residents) that includes:
- Repatriation ($7,800 USD minimum)
- Expenses associated with medical evacuation ($10,000 USD minimum)
Important Advice Regarding Health Insurance
- Keep your insurance card in your wallet at all times.
- Get the telephone numbers of both your insurance company and doctor before you need them. If you are sick, you will be happy you already have the information and know what to do.
- Before your appointment, we strongly suggest you write down a list of your symptoms and bring it with you to the doctor’s office.
- In the case of a life-threatening emergency, dial 911.
For help or more information, contact the Tutorium office at 312/996-8098 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chapter 5: Housing and Transportation
- University Housing
- Homestay Program
- Private Student Dormitory
- Other Off-Campus Housing Resources
Vocabulary for Apartment Searching
- Campus Shuttle Bus
- Driver’s License
- Parking at UIC
- Parking near TIE Office
- Car/Ride Sharing
- Public Transportation
Chapter 6: Currency and Banking
Table of Contents
- Checking Accounts
- Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) & Debit Cards1
- Savings Accounts
- Banking at UIC
- Receiving Money from Another Country
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
Chapter 7: Safety
- Campus Safety Tips
- Report Lost or Stolen Items
- Campus Alarms
- UIC Police
- UIC Police Community Relations
- CTA Lost and Found
- UIC Campus Alarm Emergency Stations
- Campus Emergency Information
- Nighttime Campus Services
- General Safety Tips
- Dealing with People Who Ask for Money
- City of Chicago Phone Numbers
- Public Transportation Safety Tips
- Online Safety
- Title IX and Sexual Misconduct
Chapter 8: Cultural Adjustment
Table of Contents
- Culture Shock
- Understanding Americans
- Tipping in the United States
Chapter 9: Tutorium Students
Advice for Learning English from Students
Learning another language can be a very difficult and challenging task. There are many different techniques and strategies that can make the process of learning English easier and more enjoyable. We asked Tutorium students about their experience with language acquisition in order to help you with your studies at the Tutorium.
“I was usually shy in class and that is not good for practicing English. I met people from other countries that could not speak English very well because they were too afraid. But you have to speak English, then your English will improve. Do not speak your native language in class because it does not help your English practice. Find students from other countries to talk to and enjoy it!
In addition, you should not be afraid of American people because you can ask them anything and they are very helpful. Also, you should have a native speaker for a friend because it is good practice for you. When you are at home, you should watch English TV to help improve your listening. If you follow this advice, it can help your English improve.”
“Hi new TIE student!! Forget about your former schools with all the bad experience of common teachers and piles of boring homework, cause it is not a regular school. Here you will gain new experience in learning English within American University surrounded by the multicultural atmosphere. You have to remember that you will only learn English if you really want to. There’s no one here who is going to force you to learn. So, working regularly is a basic rule to be successful.
A good method that we practiced is to avoid speaking in your native language. Try to think in English, read in English, write in English, sing in English…. and dream in English. At the beginning, you will be fed up with it, but don’t give up and carry on!!! One day you will notice the improvement!!!”
The Best Way to Learn English
- Speak and listen.
- Don’t worry about mistakes.
- Speak English often.
- Listen carefully to people .
- Watch TV and listen to the radio.
- Read an enjoyable novel. Unconsciously, you can improve reading speed.
- Try not to use a dictionary. You do not have to care about every single word.
- Try to read fast.
- Do homework every time. It’s enough.
- Try to use new vocabulary when you write an essay.
- Listen to the radio (Chicago Public Radio FM 91.5; www.NPR.com), watch TV or movies.
- Watch the same show a couple of times.
- Listen to people’s daily conversations in public places.
- Speak without thinking about grammar mistakes.
- Make a chance to talk with a native speaker.
- Make a short sentence. You can reduce mistakes.
- Don’t be afraid of making language mistakes– people in Chicago are used to different accents
Tutorium on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Become a friend of the Tutorium on social media! Follow along with what’s happening around the office and to keep in touch with your classmates. The Tutorium staff will regularly post updates throughout the semester.
Use @tieuic to tag or mention us in photos and we’ll share (with your permission) the photos you post about TIE, UIC or Chicago. Use #tieuic to search for our posts. Check out our accounts and stay in touch!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get a Social Security Number?
Most of the students at the Tutorium cannot get a Social Security Number. Starting October 13, 2004, the Social Security Administration changed the policy regarding Social Security Numbers for international students.
If you have F-1 status, you can receive a Social Security Number only if you find a job on campus at UIC. Once you find a job at UIC, please contact the Tutorium office at email@example.com for instructions.
To Open a Bank Account
You don’t need a Social Security Number to open a bank account. However, if the bank insists that you need a Social Security Number to open a checking or savings account, request a special letter from the Tutorium office to help you open the account without a Social Security Number.
For a Driver’s License
If you want to drive, you need to apply for Temporary Visitor Driver’s License. Please see Appendix G for detailed instructions.
Can I waive the U-Pass?
No. All students must pay for the U-Pass. It is an extremely affordable method of transportation.
Do I need health insurance?
Yes. Every student taking classes on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago is required to have medical coverage. You will need to show proof of other comparable coverage. When you buy different coverage, make sure that it covers at least sickness and injury up to $50,000. See Chapter 4: Healthcare and Medical Insurance for more details.
Where can I go to check my e-mail?
Your first choice is SCAILAB in Addams Hall, where you are a Priority User! However, UIC has many computer labs for students. These labs do not have special ESL software, but some of them are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, log on to www.accc.uic.edu/pclabs (however, to use UIC labs, first you have to activate your UIC email account).
My F-1 visa expired. Do I need to leave the United States?
No. The visa is only necessary for entry into the United States. Once you have entered the US, the most important document is the I-94 Form, which you can find online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home.
F-1 students will have D/S (Duration of Status) shown for the I-94 expiration date. D/S indicates that you may remain in the U.S. as long as you continue your studies full time.
If you are on an F-1 visa, your I-94 card does not have the expiration date. It should say “D/S” (Duration of Status) which means that you are allowed to stay in the United States as long as you are following the requirements of F-1 status (see Chapter 3).
I want to drive to school. Do I need to buy a parking assignment?
Yes, if you drive to school everyday. If you will only drive a few times during the semester, use one of these visitor parking lots:
Lot 4: Garage on Halsted with entrances on Polk and Taylor streets.
Lot 5C: Parking lot on Morgan Street near Roosevelt Road.
Harrison Street Parking Structure: Garage between Morgan Street and Racine Avenue with the visitor’s entrance on Harrison.
Lot 9: Parking lot on the northeast corner of Morgan and Harrison streets with the entrance on Morgan Street.
There is little or no street parking available for students and visitors at UIC. Any car left on the street will be ticketed and/or towed at the owner’s expense. A parking ticket in the University Village neighborhood is $60. A police officer can write several parking tickets if the driver does not return to his/her car. If cars will be towed from a particular area, it is usually noted on a sign nearby. The average cost of towing is $150. (see Chapter 5)
I just transferred to the Tutorium. What do I need to do to complete my transfer?
You must complete your transfer before the end of the 2nd week of classes. In order to do so you need to make sure that the Tutorium has all the necessary documents to issue a new I-20 and that your former school sent a transfer form and electronically transferred your I-20 SEVIS record to the Tutorium in Intensive English at UIC. The Tutorium will complete your transfer in SEVIS (see Chapter 3). You must then sign the new I-20 issued to you from the Tutorium.
How can I find off-campus housing?
There are many housing options available in the Chicago area. The prices depend on size and location. If you need assistance with finding an apartment, the staff in the Tutorium office can assist you. We will give you information about off-campus housing and help you. Also, check our website at https://tie.uic.edu/intensive-english/housing-dining.
What do I do if I lose my bag, purse, wallet, books, or anything on campus?
1. We strongly recommend that once you have double-checked the room that you last remember having the item in, call or go to the Lost & Found Office at the Service Center in SCE. The telephone number is 413-5100 or 3-5100 from university phones.
2. Report it to the UIC Police. Call the non-emergency number 996-2830 or 6-2830 from a university phone. A policeman will contact you to take your report.
3. Tell your teachers and classmates and the TIE office, so that we may ask around and help you.
Students and teachers have done this in the past and have gotten their lost items returned.
Who can I ask if I have a question?
You can ask classmates, especially those who studied here last semester.
You can also ask your teachers.
You can ask a staff person at the Tutorium office. We have a long history with international students, so we probably know the answer. But if we do not, we will find out. We are here to help you.
What building is BSB, SCE, SSB, …?
Chicago Public Library
Libraries in the United States offer a variety of services to the public. The Chicago Public Library system consists of the Harold Washington Library, two regional libraries, and more than 75 branch libraries located all around Chicago. At the library you can check out books, magazines, and videos, and you can use the computer. You can also attend book clubs, see art and history exhibitions and listen to music.
How Do I Get a Chicago Public Library Card?
To obtain a library card for the Chicago Public Library, you will be asked to present two pieces of valid identification with name and address–for example, a driver’s license or state ID with your Chicago address on it, a utility bill (from ComEd, the local electric company, or the local telephone company), or possibly a current correspondence (such as a letter from a business).
You will also need to complete an application. You can apply for a library card in any public library in Chicago and the card will be valid in all branches of the Chicago Public Library including the Harold Washington Library.
Language Laboratory in Harold Washington Library
A Language Laboratory is a center for self-instructional language learning. There is a wide variety of audiovisual materials for adult
native speakers of foreign languages learning English as a Second Language (ESL), adult English speakers learning foreign languages, and individuals wishing to immerse themselves in foreign language culture and literature.
Materials can be played in the Language Laboratory, and many of these titles are available for loan at no cost. Some materials may be obtained for use at other Chicago Public Library locations through interlibrary loan.
In the Language Laboratory, the reference staff aids in the selection of appropriate material for the user’s language study needs and gives instruction in the proper use of the audiovisual equipment.
Chicago Public Library Information
- Name: Harold Washington Library
- Address: 400 S. State St.
- Phone: (312)-747-4300
- Website: www.chipublib.org
Holidays in the U.S.
Most American holidays celebrate events on the day they happened. However, some holidays are observed (celebrated) on the day before or after. On the day a holiday is observed, banks and government offices are closed, and there is no mail delivery.
Read Appendix D for a full list of U.S. holidays
Here are some important acronyms at UIC
Like many other countries and cultures, UIC has its own language. Speaking the language of UIC will help you communicate with others at UIC.
AH – Addams Hall
BH – Burnham Hall
BSB – Behavioral Sciences Building
FYI – For Your Information
GH – Grant Hall
LC – Lecture Center
LH – Lincoln Hall
SCAILAB – Student Computer-Aided Instruction Lab
SCE – Student Center East
SH – Stevenson Hall
SSB – Student Services Building
TBA – To Be Announced
TH – Taft Hall
TIE – Tutorium in Intensive English
UIC – University of Illinois at Chicago
Open the link to Appendix E below to see a short quiz on this list.
Health Care Vocabulary
Certificate – Proof, such as a card or letter, that you have health insurance
Claim – A form you need to fill out to get a reimbursement (money back) from your insurance provider
Co-payment – Money you pay at the time of service for doctor visits, hospitalization, and prescription medication-usually from $10 to $50
Coverage – What your medical insurance company will pay for Dependent – Your spouse (husband or wife) and/or child eligible for coverage under your health insurance policy You will have to pay additional money for their
Dependent – Your spouse (husband or wife) and/or child eligible for coverage under your health insurance policy You will have to pay additional money for their coverage.
Effective day – The first day you can use your insurance coverage
Filling out a claim – Completing a form
Filing a claim – Submitting a form to an insurance company
General practitioner or family medicine practitioner or internist – A doctor who practices basic medicine
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – This type of health insurance policy is also known as “managed care” because all of your medical care is managed by a health insurance company and the doctor. 100% of most medical costs are covered. You must choose a doctor from a list of HMO primary care physicians. All medical care you receive must go through your primary care physician. If you want to see a specialist, such as an eye doctor or dermatologist, you must get a referral from your primary care physician. You always need to ask your doctor for a referral before making any appointments. If you receive any medical care not authorized by your doctor, you must pay all costs.
Life-threatening emergency – A situation in which a person will die without immediate medical care, for example, a severe accident or heart attack
Out of pocket – Money you must pay for medical services
Out of network – A doctor that is not listed on the HMO or PPO list
Policy – The detailed description of your insurance coverage, limitations and exclusions–for example: no deductible, 100% hospital coverage or $10 co-payments.
Pre-certification – Permission from your primary provider for hospitalization
Preferred Provider Option (PPO) – This type of policy is similar to an HMO. You choose a doctor or hospital from a Preferred Provider list, and more health care costs are covered. PPOs allow you to go to doctors who are not on their preferred provider list, but you pay some of the cost, usually between 20% and 40%.
Primary Care Physician – Your personal doctor whom you choose or are assigned from an HMO listing. All medical care you receive must go through your primary care physician.
Referral – A document from your primary care physician allowing you to see a specialist
Reimbursement – A payback of money you spent on your healthcare by insurance company
Specialist – A doctor who practices in a specific area of medicine, for example, gynecologist or dermatologist
Traditional Health Care Plan – This type of health insurance policy allows you to go to any doctor. You may have to pay at the time of service and submit a claim form to your health insurance provider. You will then receive a reimbursement. Your deductible will vary from 40% to 60%. Most policies have an out-of-pocket maximum payment limit.
Urgent Care – When you need to see a doctor as soon as possible to receive treatment, for example, a high fever or infection, or a bad sprain
Waiver – A document showing that you have comparable insurance
Things You Can Still Do Without a Social Security Number
- Open a bank account
- Get a mobile phone
- Get an apartment
- Get an Illinois Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL)
Read Appendix G to learn how to do all of these without a social security number.
Online study at the Tutorium
In order to attend class and interact effectively with teachers and classmates, students are required to have access to the following:
- Internet access (recommended speed: at least 25mbps)
- Desktop computer, laptop or iPad (other tablets and ChromeBooks are not acceptable)
- microphone (built in or separate)
- speakers (built in or separate, bluetooth earbuds are OK)
- Camera (built in or separate webcam) You are required to show your face consistently in class to help promote learning and community in an online environment.
- Google Chrome browser preferred
- Zoom (use your UIC account!) — install Chrome extension or download desktop app
- Google Hangouts (use your UIC account!)
- Submit tech support requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send technical questions to email@example.com
- If you are having a technical problem and need help immediately, start a Google Hangouts Chat with Stephen, or voice call or text him at 7734905276.
- If you have basic questions about how to use software for class (such as BlackBoard), ask your teacher or fellow students.
Students are required to buy their textbooks before classes start. Find your textbooks on this textbook list with instructions on buying them online.
- You must buy new books. Do not buy used books or reuse your books.
- If you buy your book somewhere else, use the ISBN number to find the correct book.
- When you order, make sure you buy the correct edition of the book.
- Some courses have an online resource, too. Make sure you order all of the materials.
Order your textbooks at least 10 days before class starts so you have them for the first day of class.
Order your textbooks as soon as possible. Your teacher will provide you with copies of textbook material until you get your own books.
Why new books? There are many reasons that new books are necessary.
- The most important is that new books with no old answers will help you learn. It will cause you to work on the material with an open mind and actually think about answers.
- It will enable you to work with others to discuss and come to conclusions in a natural manner, not just relying on the answers from a previous semester.
- It will reduce boredom because action is required rather than looking at old answers.
The online learning experience is a collaborative experience. This means it is important to work and interact closely with classmates and teachers. Students should plan to organize their time, prepare a calendar, and set reminders so they can log in to class on time. It is important to balance classwork and homework. Often this involves a lot of screen time. Be sure to leave some time for free time away from a screen to let your eyes rest and take a mental break.
- Do not be late for class. You should log in a few minutes before class starts or be in the waiting room, waiting for your teacher to let you in.
- If you come to class late or return from break late, your teacher will mark you tardy for that class.
- If you miss more than 15 minutes of a class, you will be marked absent for that class. Talk to your teacher if you know you will be late.
- Three times late will be counted as one absence.
3 Tardies = 1 Absence
Attending class is extremely important. If you do not attend class, you lose valuable time to learn important information from your teacher and classmates as well as an opportunity to practice English and ask questions.
5 Absences require a meeting with the front office to discuss why you are missing classes or any difficulties you are having.
8-9 Absences require a meeting with the teacher, front office, and student. A plan will be developed for the remaining classes.
10 Absences result in withdrawal from the program.
Participating or Absent?
Sometimes just logging in and sitting in the classroom can feel like enough. How can you tell if you are participating or absent in the online classroom?
Are you speaking in your small groups?
Are you interacting with your classmates?
Are you asking your teacher questions?
Did you complete your homework?
Can we see your face on the screen?
Are you having a good time?
These are the key ways to participate and enjoy the online learning experience. When you are enjoying your experience, you and your classmates will benefit.
The way to behave in an online classroom is the same for an in-person classroom. In an in-person classroom, your classmates can see your face. It is important people can see you when you are speaking. Be sure your WHOLE face is visible to your classmates and your teacher.
When you are in small groups for discussion, it is important to talk to your group. You should not be checking your phone or sitting silently. These behaviors would be rude in an in-person classroom and it is the same for an online class. In order to get the most out of your time online, talk with your classmates.
Being online or learning through a screen can make it feel like we are separated. In fact, it brings us closer together. Your classmates may be in their home with family members, in different time zones all over the world. Be respectful to each other and connect through language learning.