Noncredit English as a Second Language

Noncredit ESL Frequently Asked Questions

Who can take free noncredit ESL classes? 

Any resident of California can take these classes. The intensive English classes meet for eight weeks, four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), generally for three hours per day.  See ESL Program information. If you have a visitor’s visa or international student visa, you should consult with Mia Scavone, Coordinator of MiraCosta College’s Institute for International Perspectives, by calling (760) 757-2121, extension 6896 or emailing her at

How can I register for and enroll in noncredit ESL classes? 

Come to one of the registration sessions (see ESL Terms for dates and times).  Plan to arrive early and spend at least two hours here. You will be given information about the classes, and then you will take a placement test. Based on test results, you will be placed into one of the seven levels that is best for your English abilities.  If the class for your level is full, you will receive a wait list ticket, and someone will call you when space becomes available.  You can take classes in the morning (8:30 a.m. – 11:45), afternoon (12 – 3:15 p.m.), or evening (6 – 9:15 p.m.).  If your schedule permits, you may take more than one class.

What happens if I have to change my schedule due to work or quit?

Always let the instructor know if you have problems with your schedule or you have to stop studying.  We can give you a ticket so you don’t have to retake the placement test. The ticket gives you a date when you can come and reenroll in courses.  We also try to help you change your class schedule when possible.  The college offers conversation courses, Saturday classes, citizenship classes and classes in the computer lab.

How much are the noncredit ESL classes?

The classes are free.  However, students are required to buy a book each term. 

What is the difference between noncredit and credit ESL classes? 

In noncredit ESL, there are seven levels of instruction.  You do not have to know any English to begin studying.  In these free classes, you will practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  You will not receive college credit, but you will take tests. After you complete the noncredit courses, may want to advance your English to an even higher level or earn a college degree or certificate by taking credit ESL courses. You can learn more about the program by visiting the credit ESL Web site, or contact Mary Gross, lead credit instructor, by emailing her at or by calling her at (760) 757-2121, extension 6586.

I can’t come to school four days per week.  What can I do? 

The noncredit ESL program has several ways you can study if you cannot take intensive 8-week courses.  You may enroll in a Saturday class, study independently in the Community Learning Lab (room 130 at the Community Learning Center), take an off-site class, or enroll in our conversation classes in the late afternoon. 

I need more English for work and to prepare for a career.  Which class is best for me? 

You should enroll in the Vocational (VESL) class, which is offered in the afternoons. 

I want to become a United States citizen.  Do you have classes for citizenship?

We have a citizenship course in our Community Learning Lab (room 130 at the Community Learning Center).  Almost all students (more than 90%) who complete our course, obtain their United States citizenship.  See the Citizenship information Web page to learn more about the citizenship course and meet some of our graduates. 

How do I move from one level to the next? 

Teachers in the intensive English classes have identified student learning outcomes for every class. Your teacher will determine when your English abilities are at the appropriate level for you to be promoted to the next level of the noncredit ESL program. Teachers use information from test scores, attainment of student learning outcomes for the level, class assignments, attendance, and other identified criteria to decide if students are ready to be promoted to the next level. When you are promoted, you will receive a certificate of completion.  Every eight weeks, 50% of our students are promoted.

What classes can I take after I finish all the ESL classes? 

You are a student of MiraCosta College, and there are many opportunities for you at the Community Learning Center.  You may enroll in the Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes to learn to read better, Adult High School classes, classes to prepare for the G.E.D., or computer classes.  At the other MiraCosta college campuses (Barnard Drive and San Elijo), you can register for credit ESL, other academic courses, and career and technical courses.  It is very important to see a counselor for advice on which classes are best for you to achieve your goals.  We have counselors available at the CLC during day time and evening hours.

What if I need help outside of class?

At the Community Learning Center, we have an academic support center.  There are tutors who can help you with any class work and practice your English more.  There is also a librarian in the academic support center who can help you learn to search for information and help you find materials.  Additionally, we have open computer lab hours so that you can check email, get information, and type assignments.