Intensive English Programs (IEPs) play an important role in helping speakers of other languages gain necessary language, cultural, and educational skills to succeed in an English-speaking environment (Hamrick, 2012; Toner, 2017). Previous research has investigated factors that influenced student choice of IEPs located in the southeastern portion of the U.S. (Williams, 1994) and in California (Jones, 2013). This study identified factors that influenced ESL students who chose to further their English language education at IEPs located in the western United States. Particular influences that were probed included program, location, student services, and marketing factors. Moreover, this study examined the previously uninvestigated relationship between factors that influence student choice and the size of the program in which students enroll. A Qualtrics survey was used to gather data and was modeled on the questionnaires of previous studies investigating IEP students' choice of program (Jones, 2013; Williams, 1994). Results indicated that with regard to program factors, participants highly valued IEPs that provided an intense learning experience, were well respected, and had excellent teachers. Location factors of greatest importance were the safety of the school and community, and the good reputation of the city where the program is located. Students perceived that the most important student services that programs offered were academic or personal counseling, immigration services, and out of class activities. The marketing factors that were rated highest in importance were the program's website, referrals from former students, and the ability to communicate online with the school. A surprising finding was that social media appeared to be of minimal to moderate importance in influencing students' decisions, but of the platforms investigated, Facebook was identified as the most influential. Implications of these findings are then discussed for program directors of IEPs seeking to attract new students as well as maintain and grow their respective programs.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type





Intensive English program (IEP), English as a Second Language (ESL), marketing, international students, enrollment