ESL Certificate of Proficiency

The certificate in proficiency in ESL is intended for international students and non-native residents to develop proficiency in academic English and study skills.

Upon entering the program, students are given our language placement test to determine their entry level: Foundations, Intermediate, or Advanced.
To receive the certificate, a student must receive a “C” or better in each of the following:

ESL 051  Foundations I
ESL 053  Foundations II
ESL 062 Intermediate Grammar
ESL 064 Intermediate Reading
ESL 066 Intermediate Writing
ESL 068 Intermediate Oral Skills or
ESL 070 – Communication Skills
COMM 105/ESL 072 – Advanced Grammar
ESL 074 Advanced Reading
ESL 076 Advanced Writing
COMM 100/ESL 078 Advanced Oral Skills


Academic ESL Program

We try to keep our class size to about 15 students so you can get personal attention from your instructor and easily work with classmates.

Most of the classes in the Academic ESL Program are developmental courses. This means that students take these classes to prepare them to take college-level classes, so students do not receive academic credit for these classes. But if you take ESL 078/COMM 100 or ESL 072/COMM 105, you will receive academic credits for these classes while enrolled in the Academic ESL Program.

You can begin the Academic ESL Program at three times during the year:

  • The fall semester begins in August and ends in December.
  • The spring semester begins in January and ends in May.
  • The summer session begins in June and ends in July. This is an intensive six-week session.

Eligible permanent residents or citizens may apply for financial aid to pay for tuition and possibly books. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. Some limited scholarships are available for ESL students through the Black Hawk College Foundation.

Yes. The classes in the Academic ESL Program are five-credit-hour classes, so students need to pay tuition based on the current per-credit-hour fee.

The number of classes that you have to take will depend on the type of program and the major that you choose. In general, students who choose to take certificate programs or two-year vocational programs should complete the classes in Level 6 (Intermediate courses). However, students who want to complete associate degrees or transfer programs should complete Level 7 (Advanced courses).

Before you enroll in the ESL Program, you will be given a language placement test. Your level is determined by your score on the test. For more information about ESL classes, please call 309-796-5183.

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