English As a Second Language


Develop your academic English language skills

To succeed at the university level in the United States, students need to have a strong command of the English language. At Tompkins Cortland, we have spent years developing our expertise in ESL instruction for students who wish to take college courses. Many of our ESL graduates transfer to well-known universities throughout the United States, including Cornell University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the State University of New York.

ESL at Tompkins Cortland

The College's ESL program offers a series of 4-credit-hour courses in three areas of academic skill preparation. Courses are available at the high beginner,  intermediate and advanced levels in grammar/writing, reading/vocabulary, and listening/speaking. Our ESL courses are designed to build your academic literacy and critical thinking skills. 

 Students may enroll part-time or full-time. For the full-time international student, the College's ESL program:

  • Meets the requirements for full-time study, which allows them to apply for an I-20 and attend Tompkins Cortland in F-1 status.
  • Prepares students to advance into college and university programs in the United States.
  • Offers the chance to study for 12 hours a week and gain essential skills in grammar, writing, reading, vocabulary, listening, and speaking.

ESL classes are limited to 12 students and are taught by experienced and caring faculty. Although the classes are intensive, teachers provide students with a great deal of individualized attention and support. Professional ESL tutors are available at no extra charge at the Baker Center for Learning on the College’s campus.

International students enrolled in ESL courses may attend a limited number of other college courses, depending on their proficiency in English and the content of the course. Most college courses at Tompkins Cortland require you to have completed or currently be enrolled in ENGL 100, Academic Writing.

Please note that students who need to take ESL courses at Tompkins Cortland may need more than two years to complete their academic program.