Frequently Asked Questions
What types of ESOL courses does Lone Star College–CyFair offer?
Lone Star College–CyFair offers a wide variety of ESOL programs to meet the diverse needs of the surrounding community including:
- Basic ESOL – low beginning to high beginning; 4 levels
- Intensive ESOL Integrated Skills (ESOL Blocks) – high beginning to high intermediate; 4 levels
- ESOL Academic Bridge – high intermediate to advanced; 2 levels
- ESOL Individual Skills – high beginning to advanced; 6 levels
- ESOL Learning Support – high beginning to advanced
- ESOL Work Skills and Communication– all levels
When are classes offered?
Classes are offered during the day, at night, on weekends, or online. The Intensive ESOL Integrated Skills courses are scheduled 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Monday through Thursday. In the evening, classes meet two nights a week, approximately from 6 to 9:30 pm.
How do I know which ESOL course or level to take?
First-time Cy-Fair students are required to take a placement test in order to enter the ESOL classes. Learners who have taken ESOL courses at Cy-Fair, Lone Star College–Fairbanks Center, or other colleges in the Lone Star College System may waive the placement test if the last course taken is within the last twelve months from the time of registration. Our friendly advisors will help you select the appropriate ESOL courses after you have taken the placement test.
What is on the placement test?
Basic ESOL courses use a quick and easy placement questionnaire to determine proficiency level. For other ESOL courses, two placement tests are available. Compass ESOL is a computer-adaptive test that measures the learner’s skills in listening, grammar structure, reading comprehension, and writing. It is available Monday through Saturday and takes about 2 hours. CELT is a pencil-and-paper test that measures the learner’s proficiency in listening, grammar structure, vocabulary, and writing. Unlike Compass ESOL, it is scheduled periodically and takes approximately 3 hours to complete. Learners will choose one of the two tests for placement purposes.
I took the placement test and my score is right on the cutoff line between two levels. Which level is better for me?
Language skills are difficult to assess by one test, and each level overlaps with other levels on the high and low ends. As a rule of thumb, you will be placed in the lower level to begin with. Classroom instructors will further evaluate you.
What if I have doubts about my placement result?
The placement test is just one of the many ways to measure a learner’s proficiency, and there are many factors influencing the test results, including familiarity with technology, test anxiety, and jet lag. The test result offers a beginning point for a student to start the registration process but does not limit the learner if she thinks she is misplaced. Usually a diagnostic test is administered on the first and second days of the course so that the classroom instructors can further evaluate students and decide if they are at the appropriate level.
Can I receive financial aid for my ESOL study?
If you are an American citizen or a permanent resident, you may be eligible for financial aid. If you are an international student on the F-1 visa, you are allowed to work on campus for a limited number of hours while studying full-time at Cy-Fair.
Can I take college-level courses?
When you are in the Academic Bridge program, especially when you reach Level 6, you may take transitional math, if needed, or selected college-level courses concurrently with your ESOL courses. For the latest college pre-requisite policy, please consult the academic advisors.
What are Basic ESOL courses?
Basic ESOL courses target learners who have no or little English learning background. They offer extensive practice in daily oral communication, basic reading comprehension, sentence-level writing, and useful listening skills. Sample courses include ESOL for Communication 1, 2, 3, and 4.
What are Intensive ESOL Integrated Skills courses (ESOL Blocks)?
Intensive ESOL Integrated Skills courses are designed for learners who have studied English in the past and who seek intensive and in-depth language study. Each course combines all three language skill strands: Listening & Speaking, Reading & Vocabulary, and Grammar & Writing, with communicative learning activities and projects designed to help students apply English skills in real-life situations and provide greater understanding of American culture.
What are the Individual Skills courses?
Individual Skills courses are those listed in the ESOL Integrated Skills except they are not blocked. Students who are unable to attend the intensive schedule may choose to take one of the skill courses.
What are Academic Bridge courses?
Academic Bridge courses are designed for learners who are in high intermediate and advanced levels and who desire to pursue college-level study. Instruction focuses on college reading, writing, and presentation skills.
What are ESOL Work Skills and Communication courses?
Work Skills and Communication courses are short-term ESOL courses offered through Continuing Education. They are designed to provide language training in specific areas such as pronunciation, ESOL Online, TOEFL Preparation, public speaking, or occupation-specific language courses.
How do I begin?
Please visit Lone Star College–CyFair at the Barker-Cypress Campus or at the Lone Star College–Fairbanks Center. Our friendly staff will help answer your questions and guide you through the placement and course selection process. Advising and testing takes about 30 minutes for beginning level students and 2-3 hours for intermediate and advanced level students.