Frequently Asked Questions About ESOL Classes

​​​​Why should I take ESOL classes?

The North Lake ESOL program can enable you to improve your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills so that you can transition directly into college-level course work, such as U.S. Government, Psychology or English Composition.

Can I take ESOL classes if I speak little or no English?

If you speak little or no English, you are considered a "true beginner," and North Lake has a noncredit English program for you to get started. After a few months in that program, when you reach the "high beginner" level, you will be ready to study in the credit ESOL program.

​Do I need to have a high school diploma or GED?

No, North Lake has an "open door" policy.

Do I have to be a resident or have a student visa?


How do I enroll in the credit ESOL program at North Lake?


If you are new to Dallas College, complete the online application. If you have already taken classes at Dallas College or have taken noncredit ESOL courses, visit the International Center in Building A, Room A-418, to speak with an advisor. You may also call the center at 972-273-3155.

Placement Test

Students are required to take three portions of the ACT Compass Test (the ESL Reading Test, the ESL Grammar/Usage Test and the ESL Listening Test).

When are the next classes offered?

We offer courses every spring, summer and fall.

How much do classes cost?

Learn about cost and tuition at Dallas College.​

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Learn how to apply for financial aid.

How will I transition into college level classes?

All students at Texas public colleges and universities are required to demonstrate college-level proficiency in reading and writing in order to enroll in college-level courses. For ESOL students, there are four ways to demonstrate this proficiency:

  1. Passing the Reading and Writing portions of the TSI (Texas Success Initiative).
    ESOL students are encouraged to take the TSI upon successfully completing the third level of reading and writing (ESOL 0043 and ESOL 0053).
  2. Scoring 75 percent or higher on a standardized Reading Proficiency Test.
    This test is administered at the end of ESOL Reading Level Three (ESOL 0043), and scoring 75 percent ("reading met") qualifies the student as being ready for courses that require college-level reading skills.
  3. Passing ESOL Writing Level Four (ESOL 0054).
    This qualifies the student as being ready for courses that require college-level writing skills ("writing met").
  4. Passing ESOL Reading Level Four (ESOL 0044).
    This qualifies the student as being ready for courses that require college-level reading skills ("reading met").

I want to begin college-level courses as soon as possible. Why should I take ESOL rather than DIRW (Developmental Integrated Reading and Writing)?

Both the ESOL and DIRW sequences prepare students for college-level course work.

DIRW is designed for native English speakers who grew up and attended high school in the U.S. As a result, faculty in these courses do not address the second language needs of non-native speakers. Likewise, DIRW faculty presume prior experience/knowledge with U.S. systems/processes. The DIRW sequence consists of two integrated reading and writing courses, so the fast pace of the curriculum is not appropriate for non-native speakers of English.

Conversely, ESOL is designed for non-native English speakers who did not grow up and attend high school in the U.S. The ESOL sequence includes distinct content areas which teach and reinforce grammar to support writing; introduce and develop reading skills and academic vocabulary; and build listening and speaking skills, including pronunciation. ESOL faculty are trained in second language acquisition and are cognizant of factors that commonly lead to confusion for people new to a culture.