ESL Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We welcome your questions! Below are some common questions and answers that students ask.

If you are a Cypress College ESL student and 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 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! 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)

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

  • Credit ESL courses are advanced, academic courses that focus on preparing you for college-level reading and writing.
  • 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
  • Students can be enrolled in both credit and non-credit courses at the same time.

How do I get started taking credit ESL classes?

For an overview of the registration process and answers to frequently asked questions, visit the Admissions and Registration page.

What is the CELSA?

The CELSA is the language assessment test used at Cypress College to help place students into the most appropriate course. For more information, visit the ESL Assessment page. 

Can I retake the CELSA?

  • You may retest 14 days after your initial assessment. After this, retests are permitted 120 days from the date of the most recent retest. Requests to retest before the 120 days will require counselor approval.  
  • You may not retest if you have started ESL coursework and earned a letter grade, P/NP, or W in that course.  
  • In addition, if you are enrolled in certain ESL courses (ESL 105 C, ESL 106 C, ESL 107 C, and ESL 108 C), you can discuss the end-of-semester challenge option with your instructor. 

If I’m a U.S. high school graduate, do I need to take an assessment test? 

No, you do not need to take an English assessment. Instead, you will use our Guided Placement Tool because you have the right to access transfer-level composition coursework:  

  • ESL 110 C (ESL support) 
  • ENGL 101 C (with support) 
  • ENGL 100 C (without support) 

If you are an English Language Learner who has graduated from a U.S. high school, you also have the right to access academic credit ESL coursework according to AB 1805 and can follow the ESL assessment process. 

If you are an ESL student who did NOT attend a U.S. high school, you will follow the ESL Assessment process.

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).

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 you toward your educational goals as quickly and efficiently as possible, so the ESL program has several ways to help you maximize your 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.
  • After taking the CELSA, you can challenge your CELSA course placement by taking the Prerequisite Challenge Writing. Prior to enrolling in an ESL course, please tell the Assessment Center staff if you want to take the prerequisite challenge. For more information visit the ESL Assessment page.
  • At the end of the semester, you may have the option to take an exam that challenges the next level in the sequence; discuss the end-of-semester challenge option with your instructor if you are enrolled in ESL 105 C, ESL 106 C, ESL 107 C, or ESL 108 C.
  • Our credit ESL sequence ends with ESL 110 C, an ESL course equivalent to English 100, so when you finish ESL 110 C, your next class will be a critical thinking course such as English 103 C.

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 assessment used for credit ESL at Cypress College
  • CRN = Course Record Number (identifier of a specific class)
  • CSLO = Course Student Learning Outcome (Ask your instructor!)
  • 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)