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Frequently asked questions
ESL Program

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Frequently asked questions

Can I apply for conditional admissions to Murray State University?  In other words, can I apply if I don’t have the required TOEFL or IELTS score or if I haven’t taken the TOEFL or IELTS?

Yes, you can. 

 

What documents do I need to submit to apply for conditional admissions?

  • International Student Application form, indicating that you are applying to the ESL program as well
  • Official transcripts in both English and your native language
  • Official diploma and degree certificate in both English and your native language
  • Statement of Financial Support with a bank statement or a scholarship letter attached
  • $80 application fee paid with a check or a money order payable to Murray State University
  • Information Release form if you are applying to Murray State through a recruiting agent

 

If I am admitted conditionally, how long do I need to study in the ESL program before fully enrolled for my degree classes?

How long you will need to study in the ESL program depends on the results of your placement testing, which consists of three parts, essay writing, oral interview, and Institutional TOEFL.  Some students may need only one term of ESL study, while others may need longer.

 

What documents do I need to submit to apply for unconditional admissions?  In other words, what documents do I need to submit if I have the required TOEFL or IELTS score?

  • International Student Application form
  • Official transcripts in both English and your native language
  • Official diploma and degree certificate in both English and your native language
  • Statement of Financial Support with a bank statement or a scholarship letter attached
  • $30 application fee paid with a check or a money order payable to Murray State University
  • Information Release form if you are applying to Murray State through a recruiting agent
  • Official TOEFL/IELTS or GRE/GMAT score report sent directly to Murray State University from ETS or IELTS (Students’ copies are not considered official)

 

Can I apply to the ESL program only and then after I arrive, apply to the University?

Yes, you can, but you should understand that your admission to the degree program is not guaranteed.

 

When do I need to submit my application?

If you apply for conditional admissions, you will need to submit your applications 60 days before the start date, but we would suggest that you apply as soon as possible to give yourself more time to be better prepared for your study at Murray State. 

 

How can I pay the application fee?

The application fee can be paid with a bank check or an international money order made payable to Murray State University. Credit cards can be used to pay the fee if you apply online. 

 

When will I be able to receive my I-20?

An undergraduate application takes about two to four weeks to be processed and a graduate application takes about four to six weeks to be processed. If you are admitted, your I-20 packet will be mailed to you by UPS express, and it should reach you in about four to five days.

 

Why does a graduate application take longer to process?

A graduate application has to be reviewed by the program you are applying to in addition to being evaluated by the International Admissions Office.

 

Does Murray State require a medical examination record of its students?

No, Murray State does not require any kind of medical examination or immunizations.

 

Does MSU have a student health service program?

Yes, it does.  Th Health Services Office offers free health care to students during the weekdays. 

 

Where do I stay after I arrive in Murray?

You can stay in on-campus housing. The application and deposit forms are in your I-20 packet.  ESL students are not required to live on campus but if you will be a Murray State student after ESL, you are required to live on campus if you are under 21 years old.  To stay on-campus, you will have to sign a contract that lasts until the semester ends in May.

 

Are there any home-stays available?

At this time, ESL doesn't have any home-stay programs.  However, if you are able to arrange your own home-stay once you arrive, that is possible.

 

What documents do I need to submit to reserve my housing on campus?

You need to submit the Residential College application (for dormitories) or the College Courts application (for students 21 and older) and a $150 deposit.

 

When do I need to apply for housing?

You should apply as soon as you know you are coming to Murray.  There is often a waiting list for College Courts because the number of apartments available is limited.

 

When am I expected to arrive on campus?

The dates you should arrive will be included in your Admission letter. We have a shuttle from the Nashville airport on certain dates, but usually it is either the weekend or the week before the start date on your I-20.

 

When do I need to tell you that I am arriving?

We need your flight information as soon as possible to arrange for your airport pickup. We need to know at least one week in advance.

 

How much do I need to budget for books?

Around $200 one term.  Books can be purchased from the university bookstore.

 

Do I have internet access in my dorm room?  Is MSU wireless?

Yes, you do.  Wireless access is available in many places on campus but not everywhere yet.

 

What’s the weather like in Murray?

There are four seasons in Murray.  The temperature is mild in both winter and summer.  In winter, November through March, you may see some snow, and the average temperature is about 35-45 Fahrenheit.  In summer, June through August, it could be humid and hot with an average temperature of about 85-95 Fahrenheit.  In fall and spring seasons, from September to October and April to May, the weather is nice with an average temperature around 55-70 Fahrenheit.

 

What clothes should I bring to Murray?

Coats, sweaters, and summer clothes.

 

Which airport is the closest one to Murray State?

The airport in Nashville, TN (BNA) is the closest major airport.

 

Is there anyone to pick me up at the Nashville International airport?

We offer a shuttle service one week before classes start in August and January and 3 days before classes start in March, June, and October.  Please check your admission letter for the specific dates.  If you arrive during the shuttle, the cost is $75.  If you arrive before or after, we cannot guarantee we can pick you up and the cost is $125.

 

What time during the day is the best for me to arrive at the airport?

Anytime before 5:00 pm is okay.  If you arrive after 5:00 pm, you will need to spend the night in Nashville and we’ll pick you up the next day.

 

What if I arrive after 5:00 pm?

We can reserve a hotel room for you close to the airport and the cost is about $60.  You can take the hotel shuttle or a taxi to the hotel and we will pick you up the next day.

 

Can I arrive after the start date of the term?

Yes, but if you miss more than 10 class days you may have to take the same level again.

 

How much are the ESL tuition and fees?

Please see Expected Costs.

 

When should I pay my ESL tuition and fees?

You will have one week to pay your tuition and fees or set up a payment plan after you register for classes.

 

Why am I required to have a meal plan?

All students (including Americans) who live on campus, are under 21, and are not a Junior or Senior are required to have a meal plan.  Our cafeterias offer a wide variety of foods including international foods.

 

How can I pay my tuition and fees and for housing and meals?

University fees are posted on MyGate, the university computer system.  You can pay with a check at Sparks Hall or with a credit card like Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express.  Please note that there is a 2.75% transaction fee if you pay with a credit card through MyGate.  

 

Where can I open a bank account?

We will help you open an account in a local bank, BB&T, after you arrive, and you can then use your checks to pay your tuition and fees and for housing and meals to Murray State University.  The bank is within walking distance from campus.

 

Can I use my credit card outside Murray State, and will I be charged a transaction fee?

You can use your credit card in almost all businesses off campus, and there is no transaction fee. 

 

What am I expected to do before classes begin?

There will be three days of activities before classes begin: 1) testing (TOEFL, writing, and oral interview); 2) Orientation (learn about ESL & immigration rules); 3) Registration (sign-up for classes)

 

Do I have to buy health insurance?  What’s the minimum coverage required?

Yes, the United States government requires international students to have health insurance with $100,000 minimum coverage per accident.  If you bring a policy from your country, it must be written in English.

 

When should I buy health insurance?

You can buy health insurance in your country before you arrive, or we will help you buy it before classes start.

 

What if I don’t have health insurance?

You are required to buy health insurance before you start classes.  If you do not, you cannot attend classes.

 

Are there clubs or other student organizations on campus that I can join?

Yes, ESL students are eligible to join Murray State clubs and societies.  Please visit the Murray State website for more information.

 

Is there public transportation in Murray?

Yes, there is the Racer Route running a few different routes around campus and the Murray community. The Racer Route is a free campus transportation bus that will take you to the local grocery stores, restaurants, hair salons, Walmart, and other stores.

 

Where can I buy groceries?

There are a few grocery stores within walking distance from campus and on the Racer shuttle routes.  There is also a small grocery store on campus, conveniently located near the student cafeteria.

 

How can I go to the airport if I do not have a car?

You can take a taxi from Murray, or there is a Murray State shuttle at the beginning and end of each fall and spring semester running to the airport.

 

What will I do during the holidays, for example, Thanksgiving, Christmas or spring break?

Many international students travel during this time, and some are invited home by their American roommates or friends.  You are welcome to stay on campus during this time also if you do not feel like going anywhere.

 

Can I work part time on campus?  Can I work off campus?

Yes, you can work part time on-campus (up to 20 hours/week). Please understand that there are a limited number of jobs available to ESL students so you should not assume you will be able to find a job. It is illegal (against the law) to work off campus. If you do, your I-20 can be terminated.

 

How can I get a driver's license?

You must apply at the Paducah, KY Driver’s License office (45 minutes from Murray) and take the driving test, written test, and vision test in Murray.  If you have a driver’s license from your home country, you should bring it with you.   

 

How can I meet more Americans?

We have an ESL Conversation Partners program for our ESL students.  If you are interested in this program, you can apply and will be assigned a conversation partner with whom you can practice your spoken English and learn more about American culture outside your classroom.  As a Murray State University student, you are encouraged to attend campus events where you can meet more American students.

 

Can I take university classes and ESL classes at the same time?

When you are in Level 5 or Level 6, you can take one or two academic courses with the permission of the ESL Director and that of the course professor while studying in the ESL program.

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