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Institutional response of U.S. colleges and universities to the linguistic and cultural needs of foreign students

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the ways in which post-secondary institutions in the United States are currently dealing with the challenges of meeting the linguistic and cultural needs of foreign students on their campuses. In order to accomplish this, the current situation will first be put into a historic perspective. Second will be a description of current selection, recruiting and admissions policies. Tests of English language proficiency for both admissions and placement purposes will be singled out for attention since they reflect institutional priorities. Third, a description of ESL programs and course content will include both linguistic and cultural considerations. A fourth and final section of this paper will deal with a summary evaluation of whether institutions are meeting students’ dual needs as well as some perceived benefits of academic exchanges to both students and institutions.

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