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English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language

Learn more about the differences between the non-credit and credit ESL courses Oakton offers.

Is the credit ESL Program right for me?
Yes if

  • you want to study at a college or university after or while you take ESL
  • you’ve attended a high school in the U.S.
  • you attended a college or university in another country
  • your English is above a beginning level
  • you expect to do homework outside of class

What courses are part of the credit ESL program?
Oakton offers courses in reading, writing, grammar, speaking and listening, and pronunciation.

How do I register?
Go to the Enrollment Center (Room 1250 in Des Plaines; Room A100 in Skokie) to fill out an application.

Take the writing test (WSAT), reading test and math test as soon as possible. View the placement testing schedule. If you cannot attend any of the testing sessions, you may be able to take the tests in the Testing Center (Room 2409 in Des Plaines or Room A135 in Skokie.) Do not wait to take the tests. If you wait until the last day, the classes you want may be filled.

Return to Advising and Counseling (Room 1130 in Des Plaines; Room A100 in Skokie) to get your test results.

Register for the appropriate ESL courses, (Room 1260 in Des Plaines; Room A100 in Skokie) or see an ESL advisor to talk about your results before you register.

If you want to take courses outside of ESL, you'll probably want to speak to an academic advisor in Advising and Counseling.

When and where do the classes meet?
Classes are offered on the Des Plaines and Skokie campuses at various times during the week and on weekends.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?
Only students attending Oakton on a student visa need to take the TOEFL. More information is available on the International Students Admission page.

Can I take other courses while I’m taking ESL courses?
Most likely. If your reading and writing placement is EGL 071/074, 072/075, or 073/076, you’ll need to get approval for non-English courses from an ESL or academic advisor.

What other programs and services and Oakton can help ESL students?
Oakton offers many programs and services including free tutoring and conversation groups. Visit the Learning Center and Language Lab.

For more information, contact Amy Blumenthal at 847.635.1821 or

Student Profile

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July 24
Incomplete (I) grades from spring 2014 semester for which faculty have not submitted final grades will become an "F" after this date.*

July 31
Classes end.

August 4
Faculty grading due.

August 4
Second summer interim classes begin.

August 18
Faculty return for fall 2014 semester.

August 22
Second summer interim classes end.

August 25
Fall 2014 semester classes begin.

August 28
Second summer interim faculty grading due.

September 1
Labor Day holiday. College closed.

September 21
Last day to submit proof of residency, business service agreements and chargebacks/joint agreements.

Full Academic Calendar