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ESL Frequently Asked Questions

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section provides quick answers to most questions about the Academic ESL curriculum. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact Amy Cameron, ESL Curriculum Coordinator or Jennifer Levesque, English Language Center (ELC) Coordinator.

What do I need for admission to Academic ESL classes at NECC?

In order to take Academic ESL classes at NECC, you must have (1) a high school diploma or GED, (2) a completed college application, and (3) at least Intermediate scores on all parts of the NECC ESL Placement test.  

Will I be tested before starting a course?

Yes. Each student must be assessed before registering for a class. After completing and returning a college application, take the ESL Placement test in the Assessment Center in Haverhill (in the Technology Center, Room 128, 100 Elliot Street, Haverhill, MA) or in Lawrence (in the Dimitry Building, room L135, 45 Franklin Street, Lawrence, MA).

How do I sign up for classes?

After testing, you will be given an appointment to meet with an ESL advisor who will recommend the appropriate classes.

What if my test scores show that my English is below Intermediate level?

You will be referred to our NECC Basic ESL program or a community program such as the Massachusetts Adult Literacy Hotline.

When are the classes?

Classes are given morning, evening, and Saturday morning.

Spring semester – January – May 

Summer session – May – August

Fall semester – September – December

What are the English requirements for F-1 Visa students?

There are several different ways to show that your English proficiency is appropriate for college work:

– a TOEFL score of 437 (paper-based test) or 41 (internet-based test) or higher 


– a IELTS score of 4.0 or higher


– Take the NECC Placement Test in the Assessment Center if you are already in the United States .

How do I find out if I’m eligible for financial assistance?

Full financial aid is available for those who qualify. Further information can be obtained from the Financial Aid Office. 978-556-3650.

What is the cost per course?

Students are charged the regular credit hour rates of the college in ESL courses. Further information can be obtained from the Bursar’s Office. 978- 556-3900.

Is transportation available?

Transportation is available through the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority. Schedules are available through the Student Activities Office Haverhill D117 and D119 or Lawrence L133 or by calling 978-469-1254. There is also free shuttle service available between the Lawrence and Haverhill campuses.

Related Links

Academic Support Services
Adult Literacy
International Students
Learning Accommodations
ESL Tutoring


Jessica Castillo

When Jessica Castillo first came to the United States from the Dominican Republic at age 18, the Lawrence resident spoke no English. She immediately enrolled in Northern Essex’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. She worked her way through the ESL program and then enrolled in the iHealth Business Management Healthcare Practice Management Program. Read more