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ESL Students

What Course Should I Take?

The colleges offer a sequence of academic ESL courses that lead to English 1A, the transfer level English course at the three colleges. New students need to choose the appropriate course level and decide whether to take the course as credit or noncredit. The RCCD Guided Self Placement Tool​ can help students decide which course to take.

Most ESL classes are offered as credit or noncredit. Students can choose the best option for their educational goals. These courses are mirrored, meaning that students who take the credit or noncredit courses are in the same classroom, with the same teacher, and have the same educational experience.

Courses that are credit are numbered ESL 46 - ESL 50, and courses that are noncredit are the same number with an “8” added: ESL 846 - ESL 850.​

Characteristics of Noncredit and Credit Courses


      • Enrollment fees apply ($46 per unit)

      • Out-of-state tuition fees apply to students that are not California residents ($265)

      • You can only take the class once if you get a passing grade. Students can attempt to take the course up to three times. 

      • You can earn credit toward an associate's degree or associate's degree for transfer


      • Enrollment fees do NOT apply

      • Out-of-state tuition fees do NOT apply, including for undocumented students

      • Noncredit classes are tuition-free and are not eligible for financial aid, but you can still apply for financial aid for upcoming or future for-credit courses.​

      • You can take the class again if you need to

      • You can earn a noncredit certificate

Characteristics of Students That Take Noncredit and Credit Courses


Credit Students Often...

      • Can earn financial aid

      • Want to earn an associate's degree or an associate's for transfer

      • International students on I-20 Visas must take credit classes

Noncredit Students Often...

      • Do not want to apply for financial aid or do not qualify (not a CA resident, undocumented, etc.)

      • Want to advance in their current job or to earn a career education or ESL certificate.

      • Apply for financial (FAFSA or Dream application) for future credit courses.​

Noncredit and Credit Course Sequence​

      • Beginning American College English
        • ​Noncredit course: ESL-846

        • Credit course:  ESL-46

      • Low-Intermediate American College English
        • Noncredit course: ESL-847

        • Credit course: ESL-47

      • Intermediate American College English
        • ​Noncredit course: ESL-848

        • Credit course: ESL-48

      • High-Intermediate American College English
        • Noncredit course: ESL-849

        • Credit course: ESL-49

      • Advanced American College English
        • Noncredit course: ESL-50

        • Credit course: ESL-50

After completing Advanced Americal College English, students will be ready to take English-1A (transfer level English).