Information for Counselors/Advisors and Students

For complete information for students, print or view the
CELL @SAC Student Resource Handbook

What are the courses at the Center for English Language Learning at San Antonio College (CELL @ SAC)?

  • English as a Second Language (ESL)*
  • English as a Second Language for Academics (ESLA)*
  • English for Academic Purposes (ENGA)

* All but one of the ESL courses that are offered in the day are cross-listed with ESLA courses. All evening courses are just ESL. See the complete schedule of classes.

What are differences between English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Second Language for Academics (ESLA)?

English language learners (ELLs) register for

ESL (non-credit) classes if they

  • have to pay out-of-state tuition;
  • have an F-2 J-1, or J-2 visa;
  • want to improve English skills for training or employment opportunities; and/or
  • plan to take ESLA after they have in their possession, documents and/or evidence of a high school diploma, residency, etc.

ESLA (credit) classes if they

  • want to improve their reading, writing, grammar, and listening/speaking skills for college-level courses; and
  • have an F-1 visa; or
  • are *U.S. citizens or permanent residents who wish to continue their education at SAC, transfer to university programs or pursue professional careers.

(*NOTE: ESLA students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents may also qualify for financial aid; however, they should consider taking non-credit ESL classes.
Read: IMPORTANT NOTE, under, How much do I pay?)

Upon completion of the ESLA sequence of courses, ESLA students register for English for Academic Purposes (ENGA) courses.

Why take ENGA courses?

  • When students complete all requirements for ENGA, they also meet the English/reading basic skills prerequisite to enroll in college-level courses;
  • The ENGA courses are specifically designed for English language learners (ELLs) and are fast-paced, 8 weeks for each course.

Students who have completed ENGA and have enrolled in English 1301 have a success rate (A, B, or C grade) of approximately 92%, and 70% of the students receive an A or a B grade.(1)

What are the specific ENGA courses?

ENGA 0353 and 0363 (Reading and Vocabulary)
ENGA 0351 and 0361 (Composition and Grammar)

(NOTE: All students who register for ENGA for the first time must enroll in ENGA 0351 and/or ENGA 0353. All ENGA courses are only available as credit classes).

What are the prerequisites for ENGA?

Students complete the English placement test (no charge) at CELL@SAC in the Oppenheimer Academic Center (OC), #119.
They may need to enroll in one or more ESLA courses (based on a student's score on the English placement test) before they qualify for ENGA.

They must complete AlamoENROLL and the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) exam.

(Note for students: An administrative aide in OC #119 will give you a referral form. Take it with you when you go to the testing center and show it to a clerk there. After you take the TSI, YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY RETURN to OC #119, give the referral back to an administrative assistant, and register for ENGA (or level 4).

Example of the referral form for TSI TESTING: (For NEW ESLA Students Who Qualify for ESLA Level 4 or ENGA): 


Eight (8) - step process for CE ESL students who wish to take ENGA — which is only available as a credit class:

Are you a U.S. resident? YES=√
If you are currently taking CE ESL level 4, you must do the following immediately:

  1. Send your non-US high school transcripts to a foreign credential evaluation & translation service approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
  2. Complete the college application: Apply Texas. (You should receive an electronic letter in a week.)
  3. After you receive the letter, go to Oppenheimer (OC) #119 and ask an administrative assistant for a referral form for the TSI.
  4. Go to the testing center in Fletcher (FAC) #112 and show the referral form to an administrative assistant (keep the referral).
  5. Complete AlamoENROLL.
  6. Complete: GoFARR and Test Prep (2 hours) BEFORE you start the TSI.
  7. Take the TSI exam (3 ½ hours).
  8. Immediately go back to OC #119, give the referral back to the administrative aide and register for ENGA.

I want to take ENGA. Can I apply for an I-20 visa if I am an CE ESL student?

If you are NOT a U.S .resident and you want to register for ENGA, you may want to apply for an I-20 to be an international student. This process may take several months, so start NOW.
For more information about how to apply for an I-20, contact the International Student Services in Oppenheimer #220.

Determining college-readiness and exiting ENGA:

At the end of each ENGA course, ENGA professors meet individually with their students to provide advisement and discuss their college-ready status.

All students must take an exit exam in ENGA 0351 (Composition and Grammar) and ENGA 0353 (Reading and Vocabulary). Only those students who have passed both exit exam and have earned a grade of B or better are college-ready.

Students who do not pass the exit exam in ENGA 0351 and/or ENGA 0353 may still earn a C grade, but they are NOT college-ready, so they must enroll in ENGA 0361 (Composition and Grammar) and/or ENGA 0363 (Reading and Vocabulary).

ENGA professors do NOT give a D grade. Students who receive a grade of an IP (in-progress) or an F must take the same course again, ENGA 0351 and/or ENGA 0353. They cannot register for ENGA 0361 and/or ENGA 0363

Students in ENGA 0361 and/or 0363 students become college-ready after they have passed the exit exams and have earned a grade of C or better for both courses.

Upon completion of all ENGA requirements:

ENGA students qualify for college-level courses.

They DO NOT need to take the TSI again OR register for developmental INRW.

They enroll in a learning frameworks-student success course and register for college-level courses. (The learning frameworks-student success course replaces the previous student development course.)

For more Information, call CELL @ SAC at: 486-0965; (OC #119—M-F; 8:00-5:00).
(1) Data--compiled from 336 college-ready ENGA students (from 28 flex terms between Spring 2010 and December 2016) who subsequently enrolled in English 1301 at SAC.

(Note: Other ENGA students who have become ready, transfer to university programs, return to their countries, or find employment.)