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Chicago, IL

7200 West Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305
Tel.: (708) 488-5010
ELS Center Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed on weekends and holidays)
On the campus of: Dominican University
For more information on this institution's programs click here


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The ELS/Chicago Center is located just 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, the third largest city in the United States. Students can experience sports, culture, shopping, and dining in a large international city at a far lower cost than the East and West coasts. Popular activities include trips to Millennium Park, Six Flag's, and kayaking through the downtown area. In a safe, historic area linked by public transportation, ELS students have the opportunity to interact with local students through intercultural exchanges and conversation partners programs on the gorgeous campus of Dominican University. The Chicago center attracts a wide variety of professional and business students seeking to improve their English for international work and travel. These goals are supported by the popular Business English program and other special professional skill development opportunities found only at the Chicago center such as resume writing and English interview workshops.

  • Live and study in a safe, historic community close to downtown Chicago, public transportation, and two airports
  • Enjoy a wide variety of student activities to concerts, museums, sporting events and theme parks
  • Meet a diverse student population from around the world including academic, tourist, and professional students
  • Interact with local university students through class visits and conversation partners programs
  • Join ELS on Social Media! #ELSCenters #ELSChicago

Distance to Key Locations from ELS Center

Location Minutes Transportation Method
Airport 45/30
Bank 15/5/10/5
Downtown Area 20/10/10/10
Post Office 25/15/15/10
Restaurants 10/5/5/5
Shopping Mall/Outlet 20/30/20/15
Sports Stadium 45/45/60/45
Supermarket 20/10/10/10
Pharmacy 5/5
Public Transportation 1








110V 60KHz.
Electric Plug Details



Programs available at this location

2017 Cost Per Session
$1840 USD
2017 Cost Per Session
$1680 USD
2017 Cost Per Session
$1410 USD
Business English

Communicate with Confidence in Business

2017 Cost Per Session
$1680 USD
American Explorer Program

Enjoy the Adventure

2017 Cost Per Session
$1350 USD
English for Executives

Group and One-to-One Instruction

2017 Cost Per Session
$5725 USD
Super Intensive English Program

One-to-One instruction

Super Intensive Plus

One-to-One Instruction

River Forest Apts River Forest Apts Dining Room River Forest Apts Kitchen River Forest Apts Living Room River Forest Apts Room River Forest Apts Bedroom Inside the River Forest Apts River Forest Apts Kitchen View Bedroom Bedroom Bedroom Kitchen

Homestays in the area(Homestay)

Many of the ELS\Chicago homestays are located within walking distance from the ELS center in the historic neighborhoods of the local community. Most students walk or bike to school. Located on the outskirts of Chicago, homestays provide students with a safe and quiet place to live and experience American life during the week and the chance to explore downtown Chicago on the weekends.
These communities are connected by an extensive public transportation network of buses, trains, and two subway lines, which provide easy access to the ELS Center and downtown Chicago, which is fewer than 30 minutes away. The local community also provides a wide variety of grocery stores, restaurants, and shops within walking distance of most host families.

Price per Session $1170
Occupancy Single
Minimum Age 16
Airport Pickup $155 - 180
Meals / week or Meal Credit
14 meals per week

Aquinas Hall(Student Residence (On Campus))

The Aquinas Hall dorm rooms are conveniently located in the same building as the ELS Center on the historic campus of Dominican University. All rooms are single occupancy with a sink and closet. However, bathrooms are shared with other residents. Linens are provided, and coin-operated laundry machines are located in the basement of the building. There is a common area with a refrigerator and microwave. There is no meal plan included and there is no dining hall in the building. The Aquinas dorms are not available in Sessions 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Price per Session $1100
Occupancy Single - At Dominican University
Minimum Age 18
Airport Pickup $155 - 180
Meals / week or Meal Credit
Meals not included, but students have the option to purchase a $75 Concordia University discount meal card (includes 10 meals)

River Forest Apartments(Student Residence (Off Campus))

The River Forest Apartments provide the luxury of private ans semi-private living with en suite kitchens and bathrooms at a high level of convenience. Units are fully furnished with cookware and linens provided. Each unit is air-conditioned and includes free wifi. There is a coin operated laundry facility on the premises. Group social space includes a lounge area with satellite television and an outdoor patio area with bbq. While supermarkets, cafes, and shopping are within walking distance from the building, the train that takes students to downtown Chicago in under twenty minutes stops at the train station across the street from the apartment building. A daily shuttle bus provides transportation to and from the ELS center; however at just 3km away, it is a lovely walk or bike ride through a leafy, historic neighborhood. This housing option is very popular with mature students and professional students. Units can also be converted to accommodate a family of three.

Price per Session $980 - 1600
Occupancy Double, Single
Minimum Age 18
Airport Pickup $155 - 180
Meals / week or Meal Credit
None included

ELS Chicago - Dominican University - Priory Campus ELS Chicago - Dominican University Priory Courtyard ELS Chicago - Dominican University Priory Campus Courtyard The view from an ELS classroom at the Priory campus ELS Chicago - Dominican University Priory Courtyard ELS Chicago is a part of the beautiful Dominican University ELS Chicago - Dominican University Priory Study Lounge ELS Chicago is part of Dominican University ELS Chicago Computer Lab Dominican University - Priory Campus
  • Baseball field
  • Computer lab
  • Wi-Fi
  • Fitness center
  • Fee for parking at Host Institution
  • Basketball court
  • Library
  • Racquetball/Squash court
  • Center NOT handicapped accessible
  • Classrooms NOT handicapped accessible
  • Cafeteria

What is Conditional Admission?

Institutions in the ELS University Conditional Admission Network offer conditional admission to students who are academically admissible based on the student’s academic record and other university and/or departmental and program requirements, but who have not yet demonstrated English proficiency. Your admission is “conditional” based upon satisfying English proficiency through completion of a specified level of the ELS English for Academic Purposes program and any other specific requirements prior to full admission. Once these requirements are fulfilled, you are able to fully matriculate. These requirements will be outlined on your Conditional Letter of Admission, and your selected ELS center will assist you in completing all of the necessary requirements for matriculation.

Additional matriculation requirements may include other required scores, for example, GMAT® or GRE® for graduate programs.

Our ELS University Partners will offer a Conditional Letter of Admission (CLA) detailing the additional requirements needed for matriculation. You and your family can be assured that you have a university placement and ELS registration prior to departing for the USA.

What is the Conditional Admission Process?

  1. Find a university via our University Finder
  2. Apply for university admission and enroll for English studies at ELS Language Centers with help from a local ELS authorized Counseling Agent.
  3. If you are an acceptable candidate for university admission, you receive a letter of "Conditional university admission subject to English proficiency and submission of any other required documentation for matriculation."
  4. Study at any of the 60 ELS Centers in the USA to fulfill the university entrance requirement for English proficiency.
  5. Begin your university program!

Meet the Staff

Gretchen Dee

Gretchen Dee

Center Director

I have been working with international students for more than fifteen years. After teaching English in Thailand, I settled in the Netherlands where I worked as an English editor and instructor while completing my master's degree at the University of Amsterdam. In addition to teaching English to international students, I have served as an academic program director and have developed a lot of materials for learning English. I absolutely love to travel internationally (I spent my wedding honeymoon on Easter Island). I enjoy my job because it allows me to meet and talk to students from all over the globe. When not discovering the world through the eyes of ELS students, I am busy exploring the wonders of Chicago (my hometown) with my family. As the Center Director, I am here to help you in any way as you learn English, discover Chicago, and learn about yourself. Good luck and welcome to ELS Chicago.

Mackenzie Kerby

Mackenzie Kerby

Academic Director

Hello everyone and welcome to ELS Chicago! I’m Mackenzie and I am from a far west suburb of Chicago. I earned my M.A. in English Linguistics and my B.A. in English Secondary Education with a minor in Spanish. Before joining ELS, I taught at the university and high school settings as well as published with Oxford University Press. I was lucky enough to be able to do a brief summer abroad trip to Puerto Rico where I fell in love with Latino culture, language, and food. ELS Chicago is a unique language center where you will learn and be challenged in your English studies while being able to experience a city that is wildly diverse and interesting. As the Academic Director, it is my job to help you succeed. I’m looking forward to meeting you!

Rebecca deJong

Rebecca deJong

International Student Advisor

I have been lucky enough to travel around the world, and have lived in or visited 15 different countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. My first experience abroad was in high school when I studied in France for six months and lived with a French host family. I returned to France again during college to study literature, poetry and film. After graduation, I took a job in Taipei, Taiwan teaching English and science to children after school. While working as a teacher, I was also able to help lead English teacher trainings, develop ESL curriculum, write children’s books and do voice acting. Though I am originally from San Diego, California, I moved to Chicago in 2014, and quickly fell in love with this beautiful, vibrant city. I am so pleased to be working at ELS Chicago, helping international students learn English and learn about life in the United States!

Amal Matari-Renno

Amal Matari-Renno


My name is Amal Matari-Renno. I was born and raised in the Middle East. I received my bachelor’s degree from Kuwait University and my master’s degree from Saint Xavier University here in Chicago. I have been with ELS/Chicago since September 2015. I was previously employed at East West University and the University of Chicago as a Registrar. I enjoy teaching people about my culture, and learning about their cultures. I have a passion for helping students reach educational success.

Adriana Flores

Adriana Flores

IELTS Administrator

I joined ELS Chicago ten year ago as an office assistant. Quickly, it became evident to the team that my skills at organization were excellent. When the opportunity arose, I became the IELTS Administrator. Since joining the ELS team I have completed my degree in Sociology/Criminology at our host institution, Dominican University -- how perfect for someone dealing with IELTS candidates. If you have any questions, email me and I'd love to help you out.


January 8, 2015


It is hard to decide about the best part of studying at ELS Chicago because everything has been wonderful, the school, the teachers, the staff, the building managers, the classmates, the roommate . . I mean every single aspect of this process. I have acquired much more confidence in the use of the English language, and most of all I have learned how to use the language in real situations, which means much greater potential in my skills as a teacher, being able not only to speak English but to share it with my Spanish-speaking students.



August 6, 2014


I work for a big company in Colombia. I need English to attend international conferences and meetings with foreign people to communicate with each other. ELS Chicago has very good teachers, and they have very good aids to study English such as LTC for grammar and for listening. Students have to give presentations and practice speaking. You also meet a lot of people from many different countries and can learn about different countries. All the teachers and staff try to help students, not only with academics but with activities and staying in Chicago as well.



August 6, 2014


In my opinion,everything I have learned at ELS is useful for me. Every single day I learn something new from my teachers, from the LTC labs, even from my classmates. Studying at ELS will help me in the future to get a good job in my country and when I travel to other countries where people speak English. I will be able to communicate with them because at ELS Chicago I have gotten good English skills.



August 6, 2014


I would like to thank every single teacher in this school as well as the administration without exception. They helped me a lot in a very professional manner. They even help the students with admission to the university, English in general, and how to
speak English to Americans outside of class. I came to Chicago because it is a big city that has about five universities with my major. I choose ELS Chicago because I heard about the agreement it has with approximately 600 universities around the US that will admit students to their programs without taking an English proficiency test.

-Abdul-Kareem,Saudi Arabia


August 6, 2014


My cousin who attended ELS Chicago a long time ago recommended this school to me. He always says that the base of his international business is the friends he made at ELS and the English he studied has helped him communicate with people from all over the world. ELS Chicago offers a good combination of cultures in every class. In ELS Chicago every single class has a huge variety of people from different countries and cultures. Most of my classmates are professionals. This allows me to have deep conversation and develop professional vocabulary for business.

Finally, at the end of each session the teachers give me really personal recommendations about my English and what I should practice more. This is so important and helps me a lot.



August 6, 2014


I have had a good experience in all areas at ELS. I have classmates from every part of the world, and I have improved my English a lot. Studying at ELS Chicago helped me get a good job in the United States. I am grateful to ELS Chicago. The staff are very professional. The director always asks the students how we are doing in class, and the Academic Director arranged a special tutoring course for me to prepare for my interview. It was the perfect class for me.



August 6, 2014


I chose ELS because it has prestige all over the world. The best part is the opportunity to meet different people from all over the world and practice my English with them. ELS Chicago gives me different skills and knowledge to communicate in the best way
for my job at an international company. All teachers and staff at ELS Chicago help me as much as possible to study without limits.



August 6, 2014


When I came here I thought I knew a lot of English, but I am surprised about all the academic vocabulary that I have learned. This has helped me a lot. ELS also gives me the chance to enter many universities. The director at ELS helped me to apply for the university.

-Wedad,Saudi Arabia


August 6, 2014


The best part of studying in ELS Chicago is that the facilities are excellent and the schedule is suitable for learning English in the shortest time possible. Studying English will help me in my future to communicate with my customers and open new business opportunities in my small tourist company in Panama because 90% of my clients speak English!



August 5, 2014


I chose ELS Chicago because I think it is a great city and you can do many things in this amazing city. ELS is the best option to learn English. The best part of studying English in Chicago is the facility located at Dominican University and the great classes because I have learned a lot. ELS will help me in the future in many ways. I can find better job opportunities in my country.



August 17, 2012


The reason why I decided to study at ELS/Chicago is that the school has a good environment for study. I had known that the problem when we studied at language schools was the opportunity to communicate with native speakers. However, this school is located on a university campus and we have time to have conversations with native speakers. I enjoy the classes. Most of our classes have less than ten people so we can talk with the teacher and we help each other as international friends during class. All areas of my English have improved since I came here, but now my reading skills are helping me in many situations. Now I can understand English websites, and some other information in public places. It will help me when I go on trips to any country around the world. I want new students to learn about other countries in ELS/Chicago. Of course you have to learn English here, but this school has a lot of diversity. This is a great opportunity to be an international person.


Takashi Aoyama, Japan

September 17, 2009

My major is Ethnic Studies; therefore Chicago is really an interesting city for me. There are many ethnic communities, a lot of local festivals and great museums. Also I like watching sports, accordingly, Chicago is the best place for watching pro and college sports’ matches. It is an amazing place for me. Before I came here I thought English is a subject; however, now I think English is one of the tools for connecting with people all over the world. My grammar and listening skills have improved the most. Do not only interact with people who speak the same language, talk with people from other cultures and religions, and walk around Chicago and Illinois to find your favorite places.

- Takashi Aoyama

Maria Fernanda Quintana, Ecuador

September 17, 2009

I wanted to improve my English, and I thought the best way was by studying and practicing in a city where English is the official language. Also it is
important that the school has experience in this field and is recognized by the results. Several people recommended ELS/Chicago to me and I chose it because I thought it is a city with a good environment, several cultural
activities and spectacular tourist attractions. For me this experience is not only to learn a new language, but also enjoy the city and its customs and people. At ELS/Chicago I have improved my grammar and writing the most. I have improved my vocabulary too. If it’s possible, it is a good idea to study for three months or more, because it is necessary to practice grammar and speaking with American people and other students. Also try not to speak in your native language.

- Maria Fernanda Quintana

Andre Campana, Brazil

September 17, 2009

When I decided to come to study abroad I tried to find a big and famous city with a good school to help me improve my English; ELS/Chicago has all these characteristics. When I came to ELS
I had problems with my speaking and my grammar. Nowadays all my skills have improved, mainly my vocabulary. ELS/Chicago is one of the best English schools in the US They give us all the opportunities to improve our English. However, it is necessary to study by ourselves at home. I enjoy meeting different people from different countries and also having contact with American culture and people.

Kuo-Chen Chu, Italy

September 17, 2009

I decided to study at ELS/Chicago because here I have some friends. Here I met and knew good teachers and good boys and girls. I learned grammar and many new words. I’m very proud because now when people speak I figure out what they say. Following the lessons is very important, but it’s most important to speak with American people and to watch T.V. or movies.

Sinan Kirsever, Turkey

September 17, 2009

I decided to study at ELS/Chicago to improve my English very quickly. I chose Chicago/ELS because Chicago is very orderly city and the teachers are very friendly. At ELS, we had a lot of activities so I enjoyed most about activities. We went shopping, museums….In these activities I improved my English and saw why the people like USA While I was at ELS/Chicago, I improved speaking because I had a lot of friends from another countries and so I heard many different pronunciation. It’s very good for me. If you prefer to come to ELS/Chicago, you will have many times to practice with people. So don’t be shy to speak. Talk about everything. Don’t think if they don’t understand you.

Ana Karina Fernandez, Venezuela

September 17, 2009

I decided to study at ELS in Chicao because I think that this course offers a high quality of English teaching and also offers many different class alternatives to learn a new language. The most important thing that I enjoy studying at ELS is the contact with people from different cultures that I have never had before. I improved many areas of English such as writing, reading, speech and grammar. My advice is that students shouldn’t miss the opportunity to study English abroad because they will have contact with American people to practice their knowledge and learn about their culture.

"Election Issues" poster fair at ELS Chicago

November 7, 2016

ELS Chicago students participated in the US election by research how the candidates feel about important issues.Students created posters to present their research to their peers and teachers.

Happy Halloween from ELS Chicago

November 1, 2016

Students at ELS Chicago enjoyed our annual Halloween party complete with a costume contest and pumpkin carving competition.

Business English Field Trip to KPMG

November 1, 2016

Students enrolled in the BE course at ELS Chicago frequently visit international companies in Chicago. This session students visited KPMG where they listened to a presentation and participated in a marketing strategy activity.

ELS Chicago Student Orientation

November 1, 2016

The first day of classes at ELS Chicago are a combination of testing, orientation, and fun. Students take a placement test, learn about Dominican university and take a campus tour, and participate in some getting to know you games and activities

Mexican Consular Visit to ELS Chicago

November 1, 2016

Mexican students currently studying at ELS Chicago were excited to meet the Chicago Consulate General when he visited ELS and joined students for lunch.

White Sox Baseball Game

September 1, 2016

ELS Chicago students experienced a great American tradition when they attended a Chicago White Sox baseball game.

ELS Students Joing Dominican University Students

September 1, 2016

ELS Chicago students celebrated the beginning of the new school year with students from Dominican University. ELS students ran a booth with games and practiced their English.

Kayaking through Downtown Chicago

September 1, 2016

Students at ELS Chicago experienced a beautiful day and the wonders from downtown Chicago by kayak!

English Interview Workshop

September 1, 2016

ELS Chicago students participate in optional professional workshops such as this one on Giving an English language interview. ELS staff offer immediate feedback to help students improve their skills.

ELS Chicago Beach Party

September 1, 2016

Did you know that there are beaches in Chicago? Chicago%27s lakefront provides many opportunities to enjoy fun in the water, sand, and sun.

Business English Presentations

September 1, 2016

Students enrolled in the ELS Chicago Business English programs, regularly practice giving professional presentations on business topics in English. This is great practice for future jobs.

Boat Tour of Downtown Chicago

September 1, 2016

ELS Chicago students viewed Chicago's famous buildings and skyline by boat.


2017 ELS/Chicago Application

2017 ELS/Chicago Application

2017 ELS/Chicago Center Application

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Chicago Campus Map

Chicago Campus Map

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ELS at Dominican University

ELS at Dominican University

Provides a brief description of ELS, our Programs and the Chicago ELS Language Center. The flyer also offers some specific attributes of the university, its programs and other helpful information.

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River Forest Luxury Apartments

River Forest Luxury Apartments

River Forest Luxury Apartments

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Top Ten Free Things to Do In Chicago

Top Ten Free Things to Do In Chicago

There are lots of free fun things to do in Chicago! Check out our list of favorites.

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