Academic English as a Second Language (AESL)
The goal of AESL is for students to improve their academic English language skills to succeed in college and their careers.
The goal of HCC's AESL is for our students to improve their academic English language skills to succeed in college and their careers. We offer levels 1-5 (level 1 is free and non-credit AESL) in classes like Listening & Speaking, Reading & Writing, Grammar, and Pronunciation.
This is a credit-bearing program, which means that AESL courses can fulfill your general elective degree requirement!
Students are not required to finish AESL before taking other classes at HCC. You may take other college classes, such as math, if your English proficiency is sufficient. This is usually achieved in Levels 4 and 5 of AESL. (We also offer math in Spanish!)
At higher AESL levels, linked courses may be taken. Inclusive Learning Communities (LCs) combining ENG 095: Pre-College English II, ENG 101: College Composition I (required), and ESL 151: Reading & Writing V are offered for selected advanced students.
Some of the free support services available to you include:
- New student orientations
- Staff who can assist you in Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and other languages
- Free AESL tutoring (click here to view schedule)
- Supplemental instruction
Please note: This is an academic, credit-bearing ESL curriculum and is not appropriate for basic literacy. Students who want more information about our non-credit course offerings may call 413.552.2990 for more information.
If you want to know more about our Academic ESL program, please click here.
- Apply to HCC
- Apply for financial aid (if applicable)
- Make an appointment for an English assessment. Visit the AESL Support Service office in DON 203 or contact Gladys Montero at 413.552.2553.
- Come for the placement assessment by appointment
- Part one: AESL Placement Test
- Part two: Short oral interview and writing sample (following this, you will receive your class schedule)
- Attend New Student Orientation for AESL
- Start classes!
Meet with your academic advisor whenever you have a question, or to choose classes for the upcoming semester.
Each level of AESL offers classes in reading and writing, speaking and listening, and grammar.
View all Academic English as a Second Language courses in the College Catalog.
- ESL 130: Speaking & Listening III
- ESL 131: Reading & Writing III
- ESL 140: Speaking & Listening IV
- ESL 141: Reading & Writing IV
- ESL 151: Reading & Writing V
- ESL 169: Grammar III
- ESL 170: Grammar IV
- ESL 171: Grammar V
In 1991, the Faculty Senate of Holyoke Community College voted to grant academic credit for all ESL classes. The motion accepted on that day reads as follows: "Students should be able to earn a maximum of 15 credits of liberal arts elective credits for ESL classes taken at any level (beginning through advanced). The actual amount of credit that a student could apply toward a degree would depend on the number of liberal arts or general electives that the student's degree program accepts."
WHEN I CAME HERE, MY ENGLISH WAS ZERO. I WAS UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH ANYONE IN ENGLISH. THANKS TO HOLYOKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE'S ESL PROGRAM, I AM THE WOMAN THAT I AM TODAY."