This program provides English comprehensive skill classes including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar for students. Depending on the CaMLA® score, a placement test, students are assigned to a class which fits their level such as beginner, intermediate, and advanced English. It leads our students to get higher education opportunities or find better employment in the future. Taking advantage of its convenient campuses’ locations our ESL students make regular field trips to a number of historically, politically, and culturally notable places in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area to become more aware of American culture. ESL classes are offered all year round, and each session is 10 weeks long. A TOEFL® preparation course is also offered, which covers iBT TOEFL® orientation to actual test-taking skills. Students will be able to learn iBT TOEFL® listening, reading, writing, and speaking throughout the course.
*The ESL program is accredited by the CEA.
“The mission of English as a Second Language Program at Columbia College is to prepare the students to function effectively in academic classes where English is the language of instruction. In doing so, we also seek students to have meaningful learning experiences by providing rich environment with American culture and the academic atmosphere that could be meaningful impact for their academic work and the personal journey of life.”
ESL101-1 Grammar for Beginners I
This course is designed to give learners basic phrases for exchanging information with other speakers of English. Thus, they begin by getting acquainted with each other. Students will learn basic forms of grammar including simple present and progressive tenses, parts of speech, prepositions, and question formation. Students will practice these structures through communicative and functional activities. Functional grammar through interactive speaking practice is the basis for this class. Prerequisite: None
ESL101-2 Speaking for Beginners I
This course targets students who can barely communicate in English. The primary goal is to assist students in developing the ability to communicate with other English speakers around their neighborhood and community. This will enhance student confidence and enable them to relax and enjoy new experiences in America. The real-life subject matter provides practical information about American life and customs. Prerequisite: None.
ESL101-3 Reading for Beginners I
The primary goal of the low beginning level is to encourage beginner learners to enjoy true short stories and increase their reading skills. The purpose of this first reading course is to enable students to understand the entire story rather than just reading word by word. This practice will build up their vocabulary and ability to comprehend main ideas. In the end students will discover the joy of reading. Prerequisite: None.
ESL101-4 Listening for Beginners I
This course is designed to help the listening skills of beginner students. They will listen to conversational phrases and vocabulary for common scenarios and situations. Pair work and pronunciation practice as well as group methods are facilitated. Through this course, students will gain confidence in understanding spoken English in situations they are likely to encounter in their daily life. Prerequisite: None.
ESL102-1 Grammar for Beginners II
This course provides the most important vocabulary, grammar, and functional expressions needed to communicate at a basic level in a full range of daily situations and contexts. Students who complete this course successfully will acquire the correct use of language in a variety of relevant contexts, a strategy to initiate conversation, a use of indirect conversation, how to ask for clarification, an ability to comprehend and follow instructions in English, and other conversational skills. Prerequisite: ESL101 or equivalent.
ESL102-2 Speaking for Beginners II
This course is designed to develop basic English conversational skills in American cultural and day-to-day situations for beginning students. The focus of the course is on improving listening comprehension and increasing conversational fluency. Through a broad range of student-centered activities, students are given the opportunities to practice and reinforce important grammatical structures and patterns in realistic contexts. Prerequisite: ESL101 or equivalent.
ESL102-3 Reading for Beginners II
This course focuses on improving students’ abilities in reading comprehension and building spelling and vocabulary skills. Attention is paid to reading skills such as identifying the main and supporting ideas, using context clues for vocabulary, and summarizing/paraphrasing. Prerequisite: ESL101 or equivalent.
ESL 102-4 Listening for Beginners II
This course is designed to have students practice listening for main ideas and important details. They will also practice making inferences using given details. In taking this course, students will be able to formulate appropriate questions to use when they meet someone for the first time. They will learn the names of different countries, their common languages, and recognize body language and gestures commonly used in many countries. In addition, they will practice reading numbers in English and learn useful adjectives to describe people and events. Prerequisite: ESL101 or equivalent.
ESL 201-1 Grammar for Intermediate I
This course provides opportunities to further develop existing knowledge of grammar structures and acquire new ones with the emphasis on the use of present, past, and future tense, pronouns and phrasal verbs, and modals and similar expressions. Writing and speaking activities are included in the class to provide opportunities to practice grammatical structures that students acquire in class. Prerequisite: ESL102 or equivalent.
ESL 201-2 Speaking for Intermediate I
This course provides students with the listening and speaking skills necessary to be able to communicate effectively in a range of everyday social, travel, work, and study situations. Students will review grammar and vocabulary that they have acquired from previous classes, learn useful phrases and expressions for a variety of situations, and improve their pronunciation. Some listening and speaking tasks will be complemented by short reading and writing tasks. Prerequisite: ESL102 or equivalent.
ESL 201-3 Reading for Intermediate I
The goal of this course is to equip students with strong reading skills through exercises focusing on vocabulary building, reading comprehension, understanding details, discussion, and writing. In addition to various reading strategies, students will focus on making inferences, analyzing structures, personalizing the ideas and themes, and exchanging information. Productive activities will give students further training to become independent and confident readers. Prerequisite: ESL102 or equivalent.
ESL201-4 Writing for Intermediate I
This course is designed to acquaint students with the basic skills required for good writing and help them become confident and independent writers in English. As students learn the fundamental principles of the writing process including prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and editing and frequently practice writing on a broad range of topics and in various forms, they will acquire basic skills in writing and learn to express themselves in English appropriately in various forms of writing. Prerequisite: ESL102 or equivalent.
ESL 202-1 Grammar for Intermediate II
This course, as a continuation of ESL 201A/201B, provides opportunities to develop existing knowledge of grammar structures and acquire new ones with the emphasis on the use of present, past, and future tense, pronouns and phrasal verbs, and modals and similar expressions. Writing and speaking activities are included in the class to provide opportunities to practice grammatical structures that students acquire in class. Prerequisite: ESL201 or equivalent.
ESL 202-2 Speaking for Intermediate II
This course is designed to develop intermediate conversation, pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, and listening comprehension skills. Conversational skills and usage of idiomatic expressions are developed through a focus on fluent and appropriate use of oral communication skills in a variety of social, business and/or academic situations. Listening comprehension stresses understanding verbal instructions on campus and in the workplace. Students also learn appropriate verbal and non-verbal behavior as well as conversation management techniques to exchange ideas in small and large group settings. Prerequisite: ESL201 or equivalent
ESL 202-3 Reading for Intermediate II
This course emphasizes the acquisition of reading skills, expansion of receptive and productive vocabulary, and comprehension of medium-length adapted reading selections. Reading skills development includes identifying main and supporting ideas, paraphrasing, scanning/skimming, making inferences, and distinguishing fact vs. opinion. In addition, vocabulary building focuses on acquiring academic vocabulary and slang expressions, and emphasis is placed on vocabulary learning strategies such as using context clues. Prerequisite: ESL201 or equivalent.
ESL 202-4 Writing for Intermediate II
This course emphasizes competency in standard written English with a focus on high-intermediate grammar and writing skills based on the functions of an utterance such as introducing people, listing-order paragraphs, giving instructions, describing a place, stating reasons and using examples, and expressing opinions. Instruction on proper punctuation, formatting, and grammar are also provided in class. Prerequisite: ESL201 or equivalent.
ESL 301-1 Grammar for Advanced I
The focus of the advanced grammar course is to develop integrating skills providing students plenty of practice to bridge the gap between knowing and using grammatical structures in speaking and writing. Students will practice new structures in a variety of contexts in order to internalize and master them. Prerequisite: ESL202 or equivalent.
ESL 301-2 Listening/Speaking for Advanced I
This course focuses on listening and understanding other people’s ideas, communicating students’ ideas, and exchanging them with fellow classmates. This course provides students with a unique collection of fluency practice activities designed to improve listening and speaking abilities. Students who complete this course successfully will be able to express their ideas in English, understand a wide range of advertisements, maps, pictures, and recordings, solve problems, exchange information, and describe experiences in class. Prerequisite: ESL202 or equivalent.
ESL 301-3 Reading/Writing for Advanced I
The aim of this course is to serve students who wish to gain entry to higher education institutions, pursue career advancement, or or better function in English speaking communities. Topics are chosen to develop critical thinking skills and language usage through reading and writing. Although not solely focused on academic English, reading and writing activities ensure development of advanced reading and writing. Prerequisite: ESL202 or equivalent.
ESL 301-4 Discussion for Advanced I
The focus of the course is to assist learners in attaining communicative competence on a variety of issues and topics. Students are encouraged to express their opinions on discussion topics to promote critical thinking. At the same time, the students are challenged to speak English naturally and develop accuracy as well as fluency. Prerequisite: ESL202 or equivalent.
ESL 301-5 Academic Writing for Advanced I
The aim of this course is to serve students who wish to gain entry to higher education institutions, pursue career advancement, or or better function in English writing communities. Students will be able to practice paragraph-based writing on many topics with focus on academic topics and standards. They will also learn and review some essential grammatical knowledge in order to apply it to their actual writing as well. Prerequisite: ESL202 or equivalent.
ESL 302-1 Grammar for Advanced II
This is an advanced grammar course which emphasizes usage of formal English grammar in written work and in speech. Students will develop skills for complex and compound sentence formation, parallelism and complementation in the context of effective writing and speaking. Prerequisite: ESL301 or equivalent.
ESL 302-2 Listening/Speaking for Advanced II
The primary focus of this course is to promote conversational fluency and to facilitate language acquisition through the understanding of American culture. This course is also designed to help strengthen and expand students’ academic vocabulary. Words introduced are essential for higher educational programs. Students who complete this course successfully will be able to increase their cultural awareness and social skills, demonstrate accuracy in their spoken English, and express their thoughts and feelings through a diverse range of vocabulary. Prerequisite: ESL301 or equivalent.
ESL 302-3 Reading/Writing for Advanced II
This course is designed to improve writing effectiveness. Students will be required to expand their reading and writing skills learned in ESL 301 and apply these skills to selected writing assignments. They will continue to study various rhetorical patterns and use their writing skills to develop essays in these patterns. The rhetorical patterns studied in this course are process analysis, cause and effect, and argument/persuasion. Students will also learn the process and skills needed to write a clear, precise, and accurate term paper. Prerequisite: ESL301 or equivalent.
ESL 302-4 Discussion for Advanced II
This course explores provocative scenarios and questions as means of practicing the skills necessary to achieve success in academic conversations. The course consists mainly of classroom discussion. In addition to discussions about short readings, students review common dialogue scenarios, American idioms/slang, newspaper articles, and current events. Students are encouraged to pose new situations and ask questions with an emphasis on analyzing and communicating different points of view. Prerequisite: ESL301 or equivalent.
ESL 302-5 Academic Writing for Advanced II
This course is designed to improve writing effectiveness. Students will be required to expand their writing skills learned in ESL 301 and apply these skills to selected writing assignments. They will continue to study various rhetorical patterns and use their writing skills to develop essays in these patterns. The rhetorical patterns studied in this course are process analysis, cause and effect, and argument/persuasion. Students will also learn the process and skills needed to write a clear, precise, and accurate term paper. Prerequisite: ESL301 or equivalent.
ESL 081 Introduction to ESL: Functional English
This course is designed to be an introduction to basic spoken English for new learners. Students will be able to understand what English expressions are necessary to survive in America. They will practice the useful expressions in class and also utilize them in their real life. Prerequisite: None.
ESL 082 Introduction to ESL: Holidays and Events in America
Students will be able to understand universal and unique characteristics of holidays. Through diverse activities, students will develop their four language skills such as listening, speaking, reading and writing skills while doing activities. In addition, they will be able to compare and contrast their own holiday cultures at the end.
ESL 091 Current Events in the News Media
This course is designed to give students the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of current issues and to boost the habit of using their English skills to practice reading and understanding outside the demands of the ESL classroom. This class also offers numerous opportunities for students to improve their critical thinking skills. Prerequisite: None.
This class is designed to help students improve their pronunciation. It gives intermediate students the tools, tips, and techniques they need to speak clearly, accurately, and fluently. All aspects of pronunciation are included-consonants, vowels, stress, rhythm, and intonation. Students are also involved in the variety of activities for flexible and fun learning. Using a voice recorder, students become aware of their speaking habits and have a chance to listen to their pronunciation improvement. Prerequisite: None.
ESL 093 English through American Culture
This course is designed to help students learn a variety of expressions used during daily activities and routines through American manners and customs related stories, which could be accomplished through reading the textbook and sub materials. This class introduces various authentic contexts for students and provides greater chances of exposure to authentic English usage. Students will improve their English skills by reading stories and solving comprehension questions. Prerequisite: None.
ESL 094 Idioms in American English
This class is designed to allow students to have daily practice with practical idioms and vocabulary expressions through the study and recitation of authentic American English expressions. Students may watch a related video, read an article, role play, and discuss what they found in their daily life. At the end of this course, students will be able to better understand colloquial expressions and express their thoughts more fluently and authentically with advanced vocabulary and idiomatic expressions. Prerequisite: None.
ESL 095 Grammar through Conversation
This class is designed to help students use proper grammar in speaking. This class is designed to be individualized and student-centered. Students are encouraged to share grammar mistakes they commonly make in daily life or any uncertain expression that they hesitate to use. In addition, they talk about the latest breaking news and information on the latest top stories.
ESL 096 Listening Comprehension
This class is designed to have students learn English by reading a chapter book and listening to music. To help them with a better understanding of the story, students are asked to analyze the story element: title, characters, settings, problems, and solutions, and they participate in a literacy circle where they are asked to share their thoughts and understanding with a group. Moreover, listening to American music, students learn useful, descriptive languages as well as developing listening skills.
ESL 097 English through Visual Media
This class is designed to have students practice daily, practical expressions by watching TV sitcoms. Students watch episodes in class and learn about American life, culture, idioms, and slang. Students reenact scenes as a role play exercise in order to practice learned expressions in conversation.
ESL 302-7 TOEFL Preparation
The TOEFL preparation course is designed to improve TOEFL scores within 10 weeks. This course is designed with three important elements for success on TOEFL: problem solving principles, practice and review, and authentic practice resources. Through this course, students will be able to experience college preparatory content while improving their English proficiency by practicing with authentic TOEFL practice tests which cover Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Prerequisite: ESL301 or equivalent.
Academic Governance Policy
Effective academic governance is the hallmark of a mature educational institution. Therefore, all participants have the duty to strive to make academic governance:
- A cooperative process that demands a joint effort between the Vice President/Academic Dean and the faculty of Columbia College with appropriate participation by students, alumni, and staff; (4)
- An open process that is characterized by a courteous, free-flowing exchange of information and opinions between all interested parties;
- A respectful process that gives increased weight to the opinions of participants who are accountable for the matters under consideration;
- A comprehensive process that assumes that any issue may be relevant to the academic enterprise;
- A bilateral process that produces policies that apply to Columbia College as a whole, and policies that apply only to one college or non-collegiate academic unit; and
- A responsible process that is subordinate to governmental authority, the final institutional authority of the Board and the delegated authority of the President. The level of participation by the faculty in the academic governance process varies. It includes but is not limited to;
- Participation in the development of the educational program of the institution
- Participation in the selection of course materials
- Participation in the selection of instructional equipment and other educational resources
- Systematic evaluation and revision of the Institutional curriculum
- Assessment of student learning-outcomes
- Assist with the planning for Institutional effectiveness
- Consultation –A body of faculty members who discuss with and inform the administrator with authority and responsibility for the decision. Such a committee is not a deliberative body; there is no vote. Rather the members express their views to inform an administrator’s decision.
- Advice or Recommendation – A deliberative body of faculty members who recommend policies or actions to an administrator who is authorized to make decisions. There is a vote. The administrator is not bound by the recommendation and accepts responsibility for the decision.
- Shared Responsibility – A deliberative body of faculty members who make recommendations concerning policies or actions to an administrator who is authorized to make decisions. There is a vote. If the administrative and the deliberative body cannot agree and a decision is needed, the recommendation of the administrator and the deliberative body will be submitted in writing to the next higher administrative level for resolution.
- Delegated Authority – A deliberative body of faculty is authorized to make decisions on specific matters. There is a vote. Such decisions are subject to administrative review, but will be altered only in rare circumstances.
Release of Student Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) offers students certain rights regarding their educational records such as:
- The right to inspect and review their education records. The student may request to review his/her records by submitting a written request to the college business office.
- The right to correct the records that the student believes to be inaccurate or misleading. Requests for amendment of records must be made in writing and should describe the specific portions or specific record(s) the student wishes to have amended, text or instructions of the desired change, and reasons why the change is justified.
- The right to consent to the disclosure of personal identification information contained in the student’s educational records, except for when consent is not required by FERPA. FERPA does not require a student’s consent when disclosure is to other school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the school in an administrative, academic, research, supervisory, or support staff position; a person or company with whom the college has contracted or appointed as its agent; or a student serving on an official committee or assisting another school official in performing the official’s tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his/her professional responsibilities. FERPA also allows schools to disclose a student’s directory information without consent, but the student can request that his/her directory information not be released. If the student wishes to make such a request, he/she must do so in writing.
Retention of School Records
All employees are responsible and accountable for the records in their possession and those records for which they have control. All local and federal laws will be followed by every Columbia College employee during the creation, retention, and disposition of school records. Columbia College management is responsible and accountable for managing and implementing the legal requirements for record-keeping in the school facilities. All records created or received in the ordinary course of administrative and academic activities are the property of Columbia College, and are subject to this guideline. This pertains to all forms and all media including:
- Handwritten, typed, or printed documents on paper Electronic documents (e.g., e-mails, Web sites, CDs, USBs)
- Graphic representations
- Network servers and document management systems
Record Retention Schedule
There are two types of records -“General Records” and “Special Records.” The retention schedule provides guidance for categorizing and describing all records and assigning a retention period for each.
- General Records: General school operation records may be kept for a period not to exceed five years (max. 5 years) after the record creation date. All Columbia College records are in this category unless identified as a Special Record.
- Special Records: Special Records have a business, tax, or legal requirement, and academic records. These records are in the Special Records Retention Regulation and maintained for an indefinite time period.
- Submit required documents*
- Pay application fee (non-refundable)
- Take the CaMLA Test
- Pay tuition
- Attend student orientation (mandatory*)
- Purchase textbooks & parking tag
- Start class!
- Application Form
- Enrollment Agreement Form
- Enrollment Acknowledgement Form
- Student Career Information Form/Resume
- Copy of High School Diploma/Diploma Waiver Form
- Copy of Photo ID
example: Driver License, Passport, Permanent Resident Card
- Application fee ($100, non-refundable)
- Copy of military ID (Optional, veterans only)
- Copy of DS-2019 (Optional, Au pair only)
*ESL students MUST schedule an individual orientation if they miss student orientation.
Columbia College is committed to equal opportunity in student admissions. Students who are high school graduates or the equivalent qualify for admission and can benefit from the College’s programs and services. Columbia College offers associate degree programs, certificate programs, and non-degree programs to accommodate a variety of students with different educational objectives and backgrounds. Some students may not qualify for programs with more stringent requirements. For more information, students should contact the appropriate department and/or the admissions office.
Columbia College does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The College complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, related executive orders 11246 and 11375, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 and all Civil Rights Laws of the state of Virginia.
Criteria for Admission
To qualify for enrollment in Columbia College, the applicant must meet the following conditions:
- A graduate of an accredited high school or has satisfactorily completed the General Educational Development (GED) test.
- A home-schooled student who is following state and county education guidelines. The compliance form must be submitted with the admissions application.
- If an applicant graduated from high school in a foreign country and cannot provide the diploma, he/she must complete waivers of diploma forms as proof of graduation.
- An official college/university transcript is an acceptable document to prove high school graduation if the applicant is currently attending or previously attended. For foreign institutions, the transcript must be evaluated by an organization recognized by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).
- Associate degree and English as a Second Language (ESL) applicants are administered a nationally recognized exam for the purpose of evaluating language proficiency and academic propensity. Please note, ESL students are also required to complete a nationally recognized exam upon completion of their program for the purpose of evaluating learning outcomes and language proficiency.