For Students



Testing, Advisement and Enrollment

How do I know I need ESL? If you meet the criteria for ESL, you will be “flagged” ESL when you apply to the college.

When and how do I test? You will receive an email from either the CUNY or the Hostos Testing Office that invites you to take the CUNY ESL-Diagnostic Test and to fill out a survey about your experience with the English language.  All instructions will be included in the email.

Which level of English will I take?

L&C Placement: Your essay will be read by the L&C Placement Committee and you are placed in an ESL group (ESL level)  in CUNY First.  This is a firm placement. Any reassessment of your level is determined by the chair or deputy chair of the L&C department.

These are the ESL Groups in CF:

Group 1 - ESL 15 and 16
Group 2 - ESL 25 and ESL 26 or ESL 27
Group 3 - ESL  35 and ESL 36 or ESL 37
Group 4 and Group 5 - ESL 91 and ESL 92
Group I - ESL Intensive Program

When placed, ESL R is entered in CUNYfirst. This prevents students from incorrectly enrolling in ENG or other sections.


Your name and placement results are forwarded to the Enrollment Management Office. They will invite you to an orientation at the college, either virtually or in person. Note: You are ready for advisement when you have been placed in a level in CUNY First and you have received your invitation to an orientation. You cannot register until you have met these requirements. The Student Success Coaching Unit will assist you with advisement. You can always contact the department of Language and Cognition for questions and guidance.


L&C Academic English Language Learning Program

The L&C ESL program develops students' English language skills within an interdisciplinary content-based instructional model. Students enrolled in the ESL program concurrently enroll in content courses to satisfy their general education requirements. Depending on their placement level and progress, ESL students take a sequence of courses to complete the requirements for the A.A. or A.S. degree. The number of credits they need to complete depends on their original level of placement and progress.

ESL Program Sequence

Level  1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4/5

ESL 15-ESL 16
12h / 4 cr.

Learning Community:
ESL 15-Acting I. VPA 181

ESL 25-26/27
9h 3 cr.

Learning Community:
ESL 25 – HUM 100

ESL 35-36/37
9h/ 3 cr.

Learning Community:
ESL 35- SOC 101

ESL 91 -ESL 92
9h/ 4 cr.


Other selections:

VPA 191 Listening and Speaking

Other selections:

Sociology 101
PSY 101 (SPA)
VPA 191
Math by level
VPA 181

Other selections:

PSY 101
Math by level
VPA 191
LIN 101

Other selections:

by major:

VPA 192
PSY 101; SOC 101; EDU 100; BUS 100; ANT 100; HUM 100 etc.
FYS (obligatory for A.A. degree students.)
Selective WI sections (graduation requirement):
LIN 100, LIN 102, LIN 103, and LIN 105.

L&C Intensive program: Level 3 and 4.

ESL 86 Basic Academic Writing

Hybrid / Online   6h 3cr

ESL 88 Reading and Conversation

6h 2cr

After successfully completing both ESL 86-88 students are eligible to enroll in ENG 110.

Who is eligible?

Incoming Freshmen Continuing Students

Strong students who place in level 3 can be recommended to the Intensive Program. Students are notified and meet with the L&C chair for a brief interview and info session.

High achieving students who complete ESL 25 and 26/27 can be recommended to the Intensive Program. Students must have at least a B in both sections to enter the program.

Note: Students must be placed in CF student group I (Intensive) to register.

B. Why Academic ESL?

General Education and Learning Communities

Academic ESL programs do not only teach general English language skills, but help you develop important vocabulary, and reading and writing and skills that you will need to be successful in college. You study and practice English language skills by reading and writing about subject matters that you encounter in your college courses. Further, in American colleges it is important to understand the role of general education competencies and general education course requirements. Most Associate's degrees consist of 30 general education credits. This means, you study subjects such as Sociology, Psychology, Public Speaking and English composition regardless of which major you have chosen. Examples of general education competencies are analysis, problem-solving skills, the ability to synthesize information, read diagrams and analyze numbers etc. These are skills you need in all subjects and in all majors. We have therefore developed a curriculum that includes these important skills to ensure your success, not only in English, but also in your college career.

As you could see in the program chart, you therefore always take general education courses needed in your major while you are in the Hostos ESL program. This way, you can measure your success, not only in ESL, but also in the courses you need to complete your studies.

Here is the link to the General Education competencies at Hostos.

ESL Learning Communities

To promote your experience in the general education courses and enhance your academic language skills, the L&C ESL Program offers students the opportunity to enroll in Learning Communities. This means you enroll with the same group of students in your ESL course and one of the courses in the content areas that give you general education credit. Studying with your peers helps you practice your language skills in a sheltered, less stressful learning environment with a teacher who is supportive of your linguistic needs.

These are our ESL Learning Communities by level:

ESL 15 - VPA 181 Acting I
ESL 25 - Humanities 100
ESL 35 - Sociology 101

The two last courses help you boost your global knowledge about society, history and the world. The acting course helps ESL students express themselves in English in a stress free and creative environment. This makes it easier to feel at home in the second language.

To study in a community of students where you can share your ideas, experiences and challenges, is a very enriching experience and helps you build a sense of belonging in the college.