English as a Second Language (ESL)

Support your goals

I Want to Improve My English

Great! Cabrillo can help

Our ESL courses are dedicated to building English language fluency to support your educational journey and professional advancement.

Take ESL classes to your build skills and confidence with understanding, speaking, reading and writing in English.

Cabrillo is a great next step

All Are Welcome

Why Take ESL courses?
  • My first language is not English
  • I want to improve my English
  • I want to earn a college degree or certificate
  • I want to advance in my job
Is there a class for me?

YES! We offer ESL courses at all levels from beginning to advanced. Most courses have both credit and FREE non-credit options.

Credit and non-credit versions are the same; both include the same content, assignments and requirements.

You select the level to start with based on your previous experience with English and your academic needs. All levels include reading, writing, listening and speaking; you will learn and do all of these things in every class.

What’s right for me?

For Credit OR Non Credit

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For Credit
  • Earn college units
  • Earn a letter grade
  • Units count toward requirements for financial aid, scholarships, F-1 visas and programs like EOPS and VIC
  • All regular fees, deadlines, attendance and repeat policies apply.
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FREE Non Credit
  • FREE: No fees apply
  • Residency status is not a factor
  • No letter grade issued
  • Repeat as many times as needed
  • Build skills to support other classes
  • More flexible schedule
Three Levels to Start

Courses to Support Life Skills

Start where you need, work at your own pace
  • Three (3) levels - each builds on the last
  • Take classes for FREE
  • Earn a Certificate of English Competency
  • Prepare to take college courses
  • Focus on learning English words and phrases for daily life, work, health and safety.
ESL 342 non credit
Beginning - Intermediate

1st level: For students who can speak a few words in English and want to start formal English instruction in conversation, reading and writing. Focus on building vocabulary and pronunciation, includes writing short sentences.

You will learn how to read and write words to help you be safe at work and home. Learn how to read and fill out standard forms. Learn words and phrases used everyday at work and home, shopping, the doctor and school.

ESL 343 non credit
Intermediate - Advanced

2nd level: For students continuing to learn English. Instruction in conversation, reading and writing. Continued focus on vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation for life and work.

You will read about topics from everyday life, school and work and then write and talk about them.

ESL 344 non credit
Advanced - “Bridge to College”

3rd level: For students continuing to build fluency in English with an possible interest in taking college courses. Develops skills to understand more complex readings and accurately express opinions.

You will learn how to write well-organized paragraphs and do presentations on topics about school and what you are studying.

Five Levels to Fluency

Courses to Support Academic Pathways

Select a level that suits your needs
  • Five (5) levels - each builds on the last
  • Most offered for credit or FREE non credit
  • Work toward a degree or certificate
  • Focus on fluency, academic skills and linguistic accuracy to successfully complete college level course work.
ESL 253 or ESL 353 non credit
Low-Intermediate Academic ESL (6 units)
  • 2 classes, 7 units total if taken for credit
  • Take with ESL 253L (1 unit) Corequisite Lab for tutoring and support for all assignments.

1st level: For students who can speak and understand English and need formal instruction in conversation, reading and writing. Focus on grammar, conversation and pronunciation for academic and classroom settings.

You’ll watch videos, learn how read paragraphs and then write and speak about what you’ve seen and read.

ESL 254 or ESL 354 non-credit
High-Intermediate Academic ESL (6 units)
  • 2 classes, 7 units total if taken for credit 
  • Take with ESL 254L (1 unit) Corequisite Lab for tutoring and support for all assignments.

2nd level: For students who can read and write short sentences. Focus on vocabulary, sentence structure, and understanding text books.

You will Improve your reading and writing - you’ll read passages and watch videos and then write paragraphs based on what you’ve read and seen.

ESL 255 or ESL 355 non-credit
Low-Advanced Academic ESL (6 units)
  • 2 classes, 7 units total if taken for credit
  • Take with ESL 255L (1 unit) Corequisite Lab for tutoring and support for all assignments.

3rd level: For students who can write paragraphs and short essays and understand long lectures. Focus on essay writing, research, grammar and presentations.

You will read short stories, literature, text books and watch videos of all styles. Learn how to do research using library resources; organize and write essays and give presentations on assigned topics based on what you've read and seen.

ESL 100 or ESL 300 non-credit
High-Advanced Academic ESL (6 units)
  • 1 class, 6 units if taken for credit
  • Optional: take with Read 106: Advanced Reading Lab for extra support with reading and vocabulary

4th level: For students who can write short, well organized essays based on some research with a variety of vocabulary. Focus on developing arguments and ideas using complex grammar with accuracy. Continued practice with research, pronunciation and building academic vocabulary.

You will read literature and write several essays, select research topics, form opinions and arguments and do presentations based on your research.

ESL 1A offered for credit only
College Composition for English as Second Language (3 units)
  • 3 required classes, 7 units total
  • Corequisite: ESL 1s - Linguistic Analysis (3 units)
  • Corequisite: Library 10 - Information Research (1 unit)

5th Level: Equivalent to English 1A, satisfies GE, degree applicable, transferable. For students who have some experience doing research and writing papers. Continued focus on grammar, structure, and correct usage and developing arguments supported by research. Teaches research skills used across all areas of study to prepare students to complete writing assignments for all other classes.

You will learn how to identify and correct your mistakes, site your sources and use the Modern Language Association (MLA) format for your assignments. You will write both persuasive essays and research papers up to 10 pages in length using complex, academic vocabulary and grammar.