Unquestionably, these students are bright – they have high SAT, GMAT, and GRE scores. And, they obviously scored high
enough on their
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) to gain
admittance into their chosen program. These students’ parents and teachers have prepared them well academically, but
there is one area that in general that could be better – the English speaking part.
As I finish up my MBA at
Pepperdine University, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss my new business,
The D’Angon Academy for Language Acquisition– an English immersion summer camp for pre-teens, with my professors.
The first thing that they comment on, is that many of the classes they teach have predominantly foreign students, and on
written tests – these students set the bar high, but when it comes to giving presentations (a constant requirement in
business school), they falter. They aren’t confident, and are clearly uncomfortable speaking English in front of a group.
One fellow native English speaking student told me the foreign students always want to recruit him to work in their group
so he could handle the presentation part of the project.
So the solution? Parents who plan on sending their students
to the US for college need to look for opportunities for their children to speak English at a younger age. Before puberty
is ideal for two reasons: (1) The student can learn the second language without an accent (their vocal cords haven’t
hardened yet). (2) Young children are not self-conscience about speaking their second language – so they’ll speak more
frequently and without hesitation, which leads to quicker acquisition. Just to clarify, if parents want a minimal accent in
their child’s English – find a native English speaking teacher or tutor for him or her. Also, if parents can afford it,
they should send their child to the US at an early age during vacation. Their students will start preparing for college not
only linguistically, but culturally and socially as well.
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