ESL or English?  What should I take?

If you are unsure whether to take advanced ESL classes or classes with native English speakers in the English Department, we encourage you to consider the following question:  Which of the two lists below is closer to describing you?  

List 1

  1. I often or sometimes have trouble expressing myself in English.
  2. I speak in my native language whenever I can. 
  3. I usually use a translation dictionary when I’m reading in English.  
  4. I started learning English after the age of 17.
  5. I don’t have experience writing essays or other assignments in English.
  6. I sometimes use Google Translate or another translation program when I’m writing.
  7. I still make some/many grammar mistakes when speaking and writing. 
  8. I want to be in a class that addresses my language questions as a nonnative speaker of English.  

List 2

  1. I can express most ideas in English about as easily as I can in my native language. 
  2. I speak English much of the time at school, at work, and with friends.
  3. I can read most books in English without a translation dictionary. 
  4.  I started learning English at a young age (before age 12).
  5. I have experience writing essays and other assignments in English.
  6. I don’t need to use Google Translate or another translation program when I’m writing.  
  7. I can speak and write in English without many significant grammar errors.
  8. I’ve studied a lot of ESL and don’t think I will benefit from more. 


If List 1 is closer to describing you, you should probably enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL), and if List 2 is closer, you should probably go directly into an English course.