Credit ESL FAQs

  • What’s the difference between credit and non-credit?

    Credit courses are tuition-based and prepare students with the academic language skills necessary to be successful in college and career. Placement testing is required for each program and scores determine which courses you are eligible to register for.

    Non-credit courses are designed to teach basic English language skills for daily life, to prepare students for credit ESL courses, or to be successful in the workforce. Non-credit courses run on a 9-week schedule all year. Most of the non-credit courses are free or have a small fee.

  • How many courses do I have to take?

    The number of courses you take depends on the results of your placement test and whether you want to be full-time (12 credits) or part-time (3-9 credits.) ESL courses are offered in the skill areas of reading, writing, speaking/listening. Beginning ESL students may want to take each of these courses while some students will test out of a particular skill area. Students may also choose to take content courses at the same time as advanced ESL courses. International students must be full-time and take a minimum of 12 credits. It is important to discuss your courses with an ESL Assistant or Academic Advisor to make sure you are on the best path forward.

  • If I took ESL in high school, do I still need to take ESL again?

    Even if you have been in school in the United States, you may still want to take the advanced courses in particular because they offer specialized linguistic support that prepares you for college-level work. International students who have studied English for a long time may also want to take the advanced level course, ESL 251 (English for Academic Purposes), which helps students become familiar with American writing styles and course expectations. We highly recommend taking the ACT ESL placement test first to be sure.

  • Do I get college credits for ESL courses?

    The non-credit program does not offer college credit.

    You do earn college credit for ESL courses in the credit program, but your grades do not count toward your GPA, except for ESL 251 (English for Academic Purposes.) You may receive credit for ESL 251 as an elective in some majors. All ESL courses are 3-credits except ESL 251 (English for Academic Purposes), which is 6-credits.

  • Can I get financial aid?

    Most students taking 6 credits or more qualify for some type of financial assistance. You should make sure you have completed the FAFSA on time to learn if you are eligible for federal or state financial aid.

    Non-citizens must have an “eligible noncitizen" status to qualify for financial aid.

    If you have a bachelor’s degree from any country, you are not eligible for federal or state grants.

    In addition, there are two scholarships available that students can apply for:

    • Century Fund Scholarship – Allentown residents only can apply. If awarded, this scholarship covers 75% of ESL tuition costs up to $1000. It cannot be used for textbooks or other materials. Recipients can only receive the award no more than two times.
    • Latino Leadership Alliance Scholarship – This is a need-based scholarship awarded once a year by the Latino Leadership Alliance. Deadline to apply is April 1.

    Applications for each scholarship can be completed electronically, printed, and submitted via email or in person to an ESL Assistant or Financial Aid representative at main campus in Schnecksville and at the Donley Center in Allentown.

  • How do placement tests work?

    All students must take the ACT ESL placement test to be placed in the appropriate level courses. The test is free. Testing hours are available regularly during the day and evening or by appointment at both the Donley Center in Allentown and at the Main Campus in Schnecksville.

    If English is an additional language for you, plan to take the ACT ESL placement test. ESL students are placed in ESL courses based on ESL ACT Test scores, a writing sample, and an interview. Students below a certain level are advised to take non-credit ESL courses at the Donley Center. It is not unusual for students to test at different levels in reading, writing, and speaking. Some students do not need courses in each of these areas. You should work with the ESL Assistant after you complete the exam to determine the best placement for you.

    Even if you have been in school in the United States for a long time, you may still want to take the advanced ESL courses in particular because they offer specialized linguistic support that prepares you for college-level work. International students who have studied English for a long time may also want to take the advanced level course, ESL 251 (English for Academic Purposes), which helps students become familiar with American writing styles and course expectations.

    IMPORTANT: Be prepared for a 3-hour period of time. Children are not permitted to stay with you during the test, and they may not be in the building unattended. Please be on time. If you are late for your test, you may have to reschedule.

  • Should I study for my placement tests?

    You do not have to study for the placement exam, but you may want to take a look at the ACT website to look at sample questions and become familiar with the format of the test. You can also select to purchase an ACT ESLTest Success study guide with practice tests.

  • What kind of support is available to help me pass my courses?

    LCCC offers many types of support for students. Tutoring in language and subject courses is available for free for ESL students (and all students) by appointment at both main campus and the Donley Center. A language lab is also available for ESL students to practice language skills on computers. Counselors are also available at both campuses to help students with issues such as test anxiety and study skills.

  • How does registration work for international students?

    LCCC is pleased to accept international students who wish to study English or complete a degree or certification. International students can follow the application process or email international@lccc.edu for more information.