Frequently Asked Questions


Who should take ESL classes?

If English is not your first or primary language, and you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, you should consider taking  ESL classes.


  • I have trouble understanding written English.
  • I have trouble understanding spoken English.
  • Other people cannot always understand my English.
  • I make a lot of mistakes when I write in English.

How many levels are there?


There are 6 levels. Level 1 is for students who do not speak any English at all. Level 6 is for students who are ready to write research essays and transfer to a four-year university. In between, students work on reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English.


How do I know which level to take?

If you are a new student, you should take the ESL Guided Self-placement. Go to the Placement page for instructions. You will complete the ESL Guided Self-placement during your application process for Grossmont College.


If you need help with the ESL placement after you have applied to the college, please contact the virtual help center, walk in to Building 10 on campus, or email


What if I choose the wrong level?

Your instructor will give you an assignment at the beginning of the semester and check your level. If you have placed incorrectly, your instructor will recommend you move to another level and help you find a class that works well for you.


What are ESL classes at Grossmont like?

They are challenging but fun! In beginning classes, you will do a lot of listening and reading. In intermediate and advanced classes, you'll practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The classes prepare you for work and academic goals like a degree or transfer to a four-year university. The instructors are patient, kind and excited about teaching. They all have master's degrees and experience learning languages and living abroad. Classes are small (25 students max) and students are from all over the world. Last semester the ESL department surveyed students and found out that our students speak 23 different first languages! You will have a chance to practice and make friends with students from many different cultures, both residents and international students.


I took some ESL classes at Cuyamaca. What level should I take at Grossmont?

Grossmont and Cuyamaca classes have different names and numbers, but there are equivalencies. You should consult with a counselor or speak with the department chair, Sara Ferguson. They can guide you to the correct level.

Are there online classes? 

People learn language better in person, so most of our classes are on campus. Only ESL 122 can be taken online, but you need to make sure that is the best level for you before you register for this class by taking the guided self-placement. This is a high-level class requiring research and writing skills.

 When can I take ESL classes?


Most classes are scheduled during the day and finish before 2:30. Some are scheduled in the evenings at 5:30. Check the class schedule to find out class times. 


How much does it cost?

This depends on your residency status, but almost all resident ESL students are eligible for financial aid, which will pay the cost of tuition. Please remember that application and registration are always free. Applying for financial aid is always free. You can get free help with these processes by using the Virtual Help Center or coming in to Building 10.

How much do textbooks cost?

All ESL classes are Zero Textbook Cost or Low Textbook Cost. This means textbooks will cost $30 or less.