Frequently Asked Questions

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Testing at Bethlehem Campus

New ESL students must take a placement test. For the Bethlehem Campus in Bethlehem Township, testing takes place in Room 215, Richardson Hall.

To make an appointment not found on the schedule, please contact:

Brandon Andrews

Remote Placement Testing

Testing at the Monroe Campus

For Placement Testing at the Monroe Campus, please contact:

Alfreida Smith Keltz
Assistant Professor
Kapp Hall 100J

Do I need to take a placement test before I take ESL courses?

All students except absolute beginners (Level 1) need to take an ESL placement test. Please click on our Placement Testing link for more information. The test is free and requires about 90 minutes to complete.

What ESL courses do you offer?

We offer classes from Level I (Beginner) to Level IV (Advanced) in five skill areas: Speaking, Reading, Writing/Grammar, Vocabulary, and Pronunciation. All classes are 3-credits except ESL I, which is a 6-credit, comprehensive course that meets 3 days a week for 2 hours at a time. Students can enroll as part-time (1 - 3 classes per semester) or full time (4+ classes per semester) in the ESL program. All classes run for full semesters during Spring, Summer, and Fall. We offer daytime and evening classes to accommodate your schedule.

Courses offered for each proficiency level:

Low Beginner: ESL I, Clear Speech I
High Beginner: ESL II Introduction, Clear Speech I; other courses by recommendation from advisors
Low Intermediate: ESL Writing II, Reading II, Speaking II, Vocabulary II or Clear Speech II
High Intermediate: ESL Writing IIIA, Reading IIIA, Speaking III, Vocabulary II/III or Clear Speech II
Low Advanced: ESL Writing IIIB, Reading IIIB, Speaking III or IV, Vocabulary III, Attention to Accent*
High Advanced: ESL Writing IV, Reading IV, Speaking IV, Vocabulary IV, Attention to Accent*
*Can be taken by students in Level IIIB or IV

To View ESL Program Chart, Click Here (PDF)

Do I have to take ALL of the ESL courses in each level?

Some students do, and some do not. We recommend speaking with an advisor to personalize your schedule to your needs. Taking 3 or more classes per semester will help you improve more quickly and give you broad practice over all skill areas. It is possible to take up to 5 ESL courses each semester.

Students who are interested in completing the Proficiency in English as a Second Language Specialized Diploma must complete all four Level IV courses to be eligible. View Catalog

Do I need to take the TOEFL test to study ESL at NCC?

No. NCC does not require the TOEFL test. Our courses have a strong academic focus and can help prepare you to take the TOEFL, if that is your plan. All students must take Northampton's ESL placement test to determine their placement in our courses.

How can I get Financial Aid?

Many students are eligible for Financial Aid. The best way to start the process is to call Financial Aid at 610.861.5510 to get help with the FAFSA. Eligible students must be permanent residents of the United States. International Students here on student visas are not eligible for Financial Aid.

Students may also apply for college scholarships. You can learn more here:

Northampton scholarships

External scholarships and other resources

How much do classes cost?

Please  review our Tuition and Fees. Part-time students taking 1 - 3 classes (3 - 9 credits) per semester pay for each course individually. Full-time students taking 4 - 5 classes (12 - 15 credits) per semester pay a flat rate.

What extra opportunities are available to me?

The ESL program offers students many opportunities for extra help and practice. Take advantage of the ESL Lab, a place for students to study, interact, and get tutoring. One-on-one tutoring is available every day of the week, along with daily conversation groups and weekly reading groups for extra practice. Students can use our English learning software to practice in the ESL Lab or at home, and can also participate in many events throughout the year. Ask your professors for extra help if you need it, seek advising, and explore the possibility of meeting with a native speaker as a conversation partner. We are here to help you every step of the way.

How big are the classes?

We offer small class sizes of 10 to 15 students to provide students with individual attention and ample interaction.

What are the classes like?

Each class and semester of students is a diverse blend, with students coming from the community and from abroad. Every semester, we have students from over 40 countries attend our courses, so students are never without the opportunity to learn about a different culture and to use English to communicate with someone new. Our classes are designed to support a natural progression of language development and to prepare students to communicate effectively in all areas of their lives. In addition, our instructors are highly-trained, well-traveled, and dedicated to teaching. We place a strong emphasis on preparing students to use and understand college-level English in their speaking, reading, and writing so that they may succeed in their future courses and reach their academic or career goals.

Can I transfer to another college or university?

Yes, many students transfer to another college or university after completing their ESL courses, including many local colleges such as Cedar Crest College, Kutztown University, Moravian College, Lehigh University, and more. Students may choose to study with us to improve their English and move on, or they can stay to complete a diploma, certificate, or associate's degree in one of our nearly 100 programs here at NCC. After successfully completing two years in a degree program, many students transfer to complete their bachelor's degrees. Our advisors will help with any questions you may have.

Students now have the opportunity to transfer to our partner schools and have their English requirements waived on their application. Students who complete ESL Level IV at Northampton do not have to complete the TOEFL or IELTS requirements when applying to these colleges:

Cedar Crest College

Kutztown University

East Stroudsburg University

Can I earn a certificate or diploma after completing ESL?

Yes, students who complete all courses in ESL Level IV, the highest level of the program, and earn a B- or better in those courses will be eligible to receive the Proficiency in English as a Second Language Specialized Diploma. Certify your hard work and English skills for prospective employers, transfer schools, or training programs. Students who earn the diploma will have the opportunity to attend one of the college’s graduation ceremonies. Learn more about the requirements for the diploma in the college catalog here.

When can I start taking courses for my major?

We recommend ESL students be in Level IV before starting their major courses. Some students can take Math courses along with ESL courses. Some other electives can be taken along with ESL courses as well. Please speak with an ESL advisor to find out what is best for you.

Most ESL students find our Level IV Writing and Level IV Reading classes to be extremely important to prepare for English 101. You will study the advanced grammar, reading strategies, academic vocabulary, and essay writing skills that are necessary to succeed in English 101.

At the end of Level IV classes, students will complete a portfolio of their major assignments from the course of the semester, or take the ACCUPLACER English Placement Test (EPT). The portfolios are reviewed by English faculty to determine if students are able to begin English 101. Students who have their portfolios approved are not required to complete any more testing.

Students who need to take the EPT must pass both the Reading and Writing sections of the EPT in order to be placed in ENGL101. Click on the links below for more information and helpful sample questions.