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ESL Frequently Asked Questions

Can I study English (for Speaker of Other Languages) at NLC? 
Yes, a student can take the full range of offerings (Listening & Speaking, Reading and Writing & Grammar) each semester, day or night.

What time are classes and when do they start? 
We offer morning and evening classes. Most classes start at the beginning of the traditional semesters, mid-January, early June and late August. However, there are some classes that begin mid-semester.​

Do I need to have a high school diploma or GED to study at NLC? 
No, North Lake College, like all of the colleges in our system, has an “open door” policy. We have a variety of assessment instruments to place students in classes, allowing them to progress toward their educational and career goals.

Does NLC issue I-20s for students to study ESL, and if so, what TOEFL score is required? 
No. As mentioned on the International Center link under admissions, NLC issues I-20's for students who obtain a score of 530 on the pencil/paper version or 197 on the computerized version of the TOEFL exam. This means that NLC issues I-20s for students who have sufficient English proficiency to take college-level course work.

Do I have to be a resident or have a student visa to study English? 
Students can take ESL classes at NLC regardless of residency or visa status though tuition may vary.

Can I transition from ESL classes into college-level classes? 
Yes, our ESL curriculum is designed to develop pre-academic language proficiency in the areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The plan of study consists of sixteen courses divided into four proficiency levels and four skill areas (Listening-Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Grammar). The credit curriculum is designed to interface both with other ESL programs in our District and with developmental studies or college-level programs on each campus.

What’s the difference between Developmental Reading/Writing and ESL Reading/Writing? 
The Developmental and ESL programs achieve the same objective; passing the highest course in the reading and writing sequences qualifies as “remediation,” enabling students to take courses with college-level reading and writing pre-requisites. However, the two programs are designed with different student needs in mind. The Developmental Reading and Writing sequences are designed for people who attended schools in the United States or other English speaking country yet are not prepared for classes that require college-level reading and writing skills. The ESL reading and writing sequences are designed specifically for people whose primary language is different from English. In addition to preparing students for college-level studies, ESL classes develop and fortify English language proficiency.