English as a Second Language

Do you want to improve your English? Oakton College will help you meet your goals. We have two programs in English as a Second Language (ESL): Credit and Non-Credit.


The credit ESL program can help students build English skills for college or the workplace. The program has different levels, from low-intermediate level to advanced. This program has courses in reading and writing. It also has courses in English grammar, vocabulary, listening and speaking.

The credit program has morning, afternoon or evening classes. Classes meet during the week or Saturday. Students can take credit ESL classes in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. You can take classes in person at Oakton’s Skokie location or Des Plaines location. The program also offers some classes online.

The Credit ESL program is a tuition-based program. This means that students in this program pay tuition for each credit hour of the course. To learn more about tuition rates, please go to the Tuitions and Fees page.


Our non-credit program is offered through our Continuing Education department. The free program is designed for English-language beginners and focuses on listening, speaking, reading, writing and general conversational skills. 

What You Need to Know

  1. Fill out an application. You can fill out an application online. You can also choose to fill out an application in person. Fill out an application online. To fill out an application in person, go to the Enrollment Center at the Skokie campus (Room A100) or the Des Plaines campus (Room 1860).
  2. Take your placement tests. There are two English tests: a writing placement test and a reading placement test. Learn more about the placement tests, or learn how to schedule a test.
  3. Meet with an Advisor. Make an appointment with an Advisor to get your placement test results and schedule your classes. You can also contact the ESL Credit Program Coordinator with questions.

Only students attending Oakton with an F-1 student status need to take the TOEFL. More information is available on the Apply as an International Student page.

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Jessica Pinedo
ESL Program Coordinator

For more information about the non-credit ESL programs, please contact:

Steve Cohn
ESL Program Assistant / Adult Education