ESL FAQs


We welcome your questions! Here are some common questions that students ask. If you have other questions, please ask your ESL professor. All professors who teach ESL at Cypress College are happy to answer any questions you have.

If you are not yet a Cypress College student, you can also email your questions to ESL@cypresscollege.edu or contact the Language Arts division for more general questions:

Language Arts Division Office
Location: Humanities, Building 8, 2nd floor
T: (714) 484-7169


Common questions from students interested in ESL classes at Cypress College

If I take ESL classes at Cypress College, will they help me transfer to other colleges and universities?

Yes! Beginning in fall 2020, our six new core courses offer transferability:

  • ESL 110C, a transfer-level composition course equivalent to English 100, transfers to CSUs, UCs and some privates.
  • ESL 109 & ESL 108 fulfill the Humanities C2 GE requirement for CSU transfer.
  • ESL 107, ESL 106, & ESL 105 have CSU elective transferability.

If I take ESL classes at Cypress College, will they help me get a Cypress College degree?

Yes! Beginning in fall 2020, our new advanced-level core courses fulfill GE requirements for the local degree:

  • ESL 110 fulfills the written communication A1 requirement.
  • ESL 109 & ESL 108 fulfill the Humanities C2 requirement.

Should I take ESL 110 C or English 100 C?

You should take ESL 110 C if you want to …

  • transfer to a college or university: ESL 110 C fulfills CSU A2 or UC 1A GE requirements for written communication
  • earn a degree: ESL 110 C fulfills the Cypress College local degree requirement for written communication
  • focus on refining your language skills: ESL 110 C emphasizes grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary for non-native English learners
  • work with ESL professors who are experts in teaching the English language: ESL professors have master’s degrees in Linguistics or TESL (or related field)

Should I take ESL 109 C or English 60 C?

You should take ESL 109 if you want to …

  • transfer to a college or university: ESL 109 C fulfills CSU C2 Humanities GE requirement
  • earn a degree: ESL 109 C fulfills the Cypress College local degree C2 Humanities GE requirement
  • focus on refining your language skills: ESL 109 C emphasizes grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary
  • work with ESL professors who are experts in teaching the English language: ESL professors have master’s degrees in Linguistics or TESL (or related field)

What is the difference between credit ESL and non-credit ESL?

  • Credit classes are rigorous, advanced classes that focus on academic preparation. Credit classes cost $46 per unit plus some fees. These classes often require the purchase of textbooks and will require regular homework and assessments.
  • Non-credit classes are offered through North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE). These FREE classes are typically open-entry and open-exit. For more information, please visit the NOCE ESL page, call (714) 808-4638, or email ESL4all@noce.edu.

How do I get started taking credit ESL classes?

Go to the Registration page and follow these steps:

  1. Application
  2. Orientation
  3. Counseling
  4. Assessment
  5. Financial Aid
  6. Registration

What is the CELSA?

The CELSA is the language assessment test used at Cypress College to help place students into the most appropriate ESL course.

Can I retake the CELSA?

Students may do their first retest 14 days (2 weeks) after their initial assessment. If a student wants to retest again, they may retest 120 days from the date of their most recent retest.

Common questions from new Cypress College students

How do I find my class website?

Go to the top of this page and click on CANVAS, located in the blue toolbar. Log in with same login for myGateway (registration).

Should I buy my textbooks now?

If you are a new student, you may want to wait to buy your books for your core ESL classes until after the second class meeting in case your instructor suggests a class move.

Where can I get help with English outside the classroom?

There are numerous services and resources at Cypress College to help students in their classes:

English Success Center (ESC)
Learning Resource Center (LRC)

For other resources, see the student resources page.

What is the difference between the ESC and LRC?

Can I move through the sequence of classes more quickly?

We want to advance students toward their educational goals as quickly and efficiently as possible, so the ESL program has several ways to help students maximize their ability to move through the ESL course sequence:

  • Most students will not start at the beginning of the sequence. The CELSA will place you in the sequence according to your skills.
  • Your professor will ask you to do a writing sample on the first day of class. This writing sample may allow you to take a higher class than the CELSA indicated. In other words, it is possible to change classes to a higher level so that you can begin in the best class for your English skills.
  • At the end of the semester, some students may have the option to take an exam that challenges the next level in the sequence.
  • The ESL sequence ends with transfer-level composition equivalent to English 100, so when you finish the sequence, you will go directly into a critical thinking course.

What are all these abbreviations?

  • CC = Cypress College
  • HUM = Humanities Building
  • LA = Language Arts Division (HUM 2nd floor)
  • ESL = English as a Second Language
  • CELSA = the Cypress College ESL placement test
  • CRN = Course Record Number (identifier of a specific class)
  • SLO = Student Learning Outcome (See a course syllabus)
  • L/LRC = Library & Learning Resource Center Building
  • LRC = Learning Resource Center (1st floor of the L/LRC building)
  • ESC = English Success Center (1st floor of the L/LRC building Room 130)

Read about students who have moved through the Cypress College ESL program: