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College ESL

  • esl student concentrates on assignment
  • NOVA esl student
  • NOVA esl student poses for a picture

College ESL is an academic program that is part of an academic division on each campus.

NOVA’s College ESL program teaches students from all over the world. Many of our students are immigrants to the U.S. who live in Northern Virginia. We also teach students who come to the College on student visas. In addition, we enroll other visitors to the area who have diplomatic or other short-term visa status.

The primary goal of College ESL is to get you ready to succeed in college-level classes. We help you build your academic literacy and critical thinking skills. We also help you develop the English language skills you need for jobs and in your everyday life.

Levels of College ESL

We have four levels of instruction from Level 2 (low-intermediate) to Level 5 (advance). At all four levels, students take courses in reading and writing. At Levels 2 and 3, they also take a course in oral communication. Students in Levels 4 and 5 can begin taking introductory general education (credit) courses along with their ESL reading and writing courses.

Placement Testing

Before you can enroll at NOVA, you must take a placement test. The College ESL placement test is called the ACCUPLACER.

You must score at least 225 on the ACCUPLACER to qualify for the College ESL program. If you score 225 or higher, you can take classes in College ESL, or depending on the test result, you may not need to take ESL classes—you may be eligible to go directly into ENG 111, College Composition I.

If you score below 225 on the ACCUPLACER, you can take classes in one of the ACLI ESL programs. Also, if you have F-1 visa status and you place in Level 2 or Level 3 in the College ESL program, you will be asked to take classes in the Intensive English Program (IEP) of the ACLI.

Tuition Information

Tuition for College ESL classes is based on the total number of credit hours you register. If you meet certain Virginia residency requirements, you can pay in-state tuition. Otherwise, you have to pay out-of-state tuition. If you qualify for financial aid, you can use those funds to pay for College ESL classes.