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Frequently Asked Questions About ESOL Classes

Why should I take credit ESOL?

The NLC (North Lake College) ESOL program can enable you to improve your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills so that you can transition directly into college-level coursework, such as US Government, Psychology, or English Composition.

Can I take ESOL courses if I speak little or no English?

If you speak little or no English, you are considered a "true beginner," and North Lake has a non-credit English program for you to get started. After a few months in that program, when you reach "high beginner" level, you will be ready to study in the credit ESOL program.

​Do I need to have a high school diploma or GED?

No, North Lake College has an "open door" policy.

Do I have to be a resident or have a student visa?


How do I enroll in the credit ESOL program at North Lake?


If you are new to our college or district, complete the online application. First time students, click here to fill out an application. If you have studied at a DCCCD college or have taken non-credit ESL courses, come to the International Center (Click here for the International Center website) to speak with an advisor (A418, 972-273-3155)

Placement Test

Students are also required to take 3 portions of the ACT Compass Test (ESL Reading Test, ESL Grammar/Usage Test, and ESL Listening Test). For information about the ACT Compass Test, tips to prepare, and sample questions, click here.

When are the next classes offered?

We offer courses every spring, summer and fall.

How much do classes cost?

$118/class - This is in-county tuition. In-county refers to students who have lived in Dallas county for 12 months or longer.
$222/class - This is in-state tuition. In-state refers to students who have lived in Texas (but not in Dallas county) for 12 months or longer.
$348/class - This is out-of-state tuition. In-state refers to students who have lived in Texas for less than 12 months.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Learn how to apply for financial aid. 

How will I transition into college level classes?

All students at Texas public colleges and universities are required to demonstrate college level proficiency in reading and writing to enroll in college level courses. For ESOL students, there are four ways to demonstrate this proficiency:
  1. Passing the Reading and Writing portions of the TSI (Texas Success Initiative)
    ESOL students are encouraged to take the TSI upon successfully completing the third levels of reading and writing (ESOL 0043 and ESOL 0053).
  2. Scoring 75% or higher on a standardized Reading Proficiency Test
    This test is administered at the end of ESOL Reading level 3 (ESOL 0043), and scoring 75% qualifies the student as being "reading met," or ready for courses that require college level reading skills.
  3. Passing ESOL Writing level 4 (ESOL 0054)
    This qualifies the student as being "writing met," or ready for courses that require college level writing skills.
  4. Passing ESOL Reading level 4 (ESOL 0044)
    This qualifies the student as being "reading met," or ready for courses that require college level reading skills.

I want to begin college level courses as soon as possible. Why should I take ESOL rather than DIRW (Developmental Integrated Reading and Writing)?

Both the ESOL and DIRW sequences prepare students for college level coursework.

DIRW is designed for native English speakers who grew up and attended high school in the U.S. As a result, faculty in these courses do not address the second language needs of non-native speakers. Likewise, DIRW faculty presume prior experience/knowledge with U.S. systems/processes. The DIRW sequence consists of two integrated reading and writing courses, so the fast pace of the curriculum is not appropriate for non-native speakers of English.

ESOL is designed for non-native English speakers who did not grow up and attend high school in the United States. The ESOL sequence includes distinct content areas which teach and reinforce grammar to support writing, introduce and develop reading skills and academic vocabulary, and build listening and speaking skills including pronunciation. ESOL faculty are trained in second language acquisition and are cognizant of factors that commonly lead to confusion for people new to a culture.