English as a Second Language (ESL) | Thomas Nelson Community College

English as a Second Language (ESL)

College ESL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

Thomas Nelson Community College ESL classes serve students from all over the world who live on the Virginia Peninsula.

ESL classes are academic courses that are offered through the Communication, Humanities, and Social Studies academic division at Thomas Nelson.

The primary goal of ESL is to get students ready to succeed in college-level classes. We help students build their academic literacy and critical thinking skills. We also help students develop the English language skills they need for jobs and in everyday life.

How to Demonstrate English Proficiency

Before ESL students can enroll at Thomas Nelson Community College, they must demonstrate English proficiency or take the ESL placement test.
Students can demonstrate English proficiency with

  • High school GPA of 2.7
  • SAT-ERW score of 460
  • ACT Subject Area Tests in English and Reading score of 15
  • GED-English score of 165
  • Credit for college-level English from a regionally accredited college or university.

Placement Testing

ESL students who do not meet one of the above criteria must take the ACCUPLACER placement test in the College’s testing center. Students must score at least 280 on the ACCUPLACER to qualify for ESL classes. If students score 280 or higher, they can take classes in ESL, or depending on the test result, they may not need to take ESL classes—they may be eligible to take the Virginia Placement Test (VPT), and, depending on that score, go directly into ENG 111 College Composition I.

Students who score below 280 on the ACCUPLACER will be referred to local Adult Education classes.

Levels of College ESL

There are two levels of instruction, ESL 1 (low-intermediate) and ESL 2 (intermediate). At both levels, students work to improve reading, writing, and oral communication.

Testing Center

Walk-In Testing Hours

Hampton campus

M 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
T 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
W 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
TH 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

S 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

(1st & 3rd Sat. only)


Historic Triangle campus

M 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
T 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
W 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
TH 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
F 8 a.m. –  5 p.m.