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Academic English as a Second Language (ESL) / English Language Instruction (ELI) Program

Prospective international students will meet CLC students from around the world and learn about the college's English Language Instruction program and all the services we offer to international students. The video includes scenes from around campus.


Welcome to the College of Lake County’s English Language Instruction program, where our number one goal is to help you prepare for success in college-level classes.
The College of Lake County’s nationally accredited, award-winning program features small classes of around 15 students, taught by experienced and caring faculty who provide students with personalized attention. Our teachers’ main focus is to help you obtain as quickly as possible the English language skills you will need for further education or a professional career.
We offer different levels of English language instruction. Once you arrive on campus, you will be tested in English and placed in the correct class level, as determined by your test score. TOEFL scores are not required. After taking ELI classes and gaining English proficiency, you can continue at the College of Lake County to earn an associate degree or certificate, or you may choose to transfer to a four-year college or university to attain a bachelor’s degree.
In our state-of-the art language lab, you will practice your English skills, in a group or individually, using audio and video instruction and practice. We also offer English conversation circles, where students can informally practice their English together.
Our vibrant, beautiful campus, located an hour north of Chicago, has 18,000 students. We encourage students to get involved in campus life by joining one of the over 50 student clubs that cover a wide range of interests, including different religions, cultures, hobbies and academic fields such as engineering or computers.

The Academic ESL program at the College of Lake County is also known as the English Language Instruction (ELI) program.

About ELI Classes

What are ELI classes?

ELI (English Language Instruction) courses are ESL classes for students who would like to continue studying in American colleges or universities or who would like to practice their career in the US. You will learn necessary academic language and study skills that increase your chances of succeeding in future college classes. Class size is small, homework is assigned and every attempt is made to help students reach language proficiency as quickly as possible.

Which ELI class should I take?

This will depend on your placement test score and your academic goals. If you already have a CELSA test score, you may use that score for placement. New students should take the COMPASS ELI test for placement. If you just want to improve your language in one skill only, such as grammar or pronunciation or research writing, take ELI 100 classes. If you need to improve all English skills as quickly as possible to get language proficiency to take college courses or practice a profession, you should take ELI 101-107, depending on your test score (see below). If you have attended high school in the US and you only need to improve your reading and writing skills to take college classes, you should register for ELI108 or ELI 109, depending on your test score (see below). If you are a new student in the US and are not familiar with the educational system here, you could also take ELI 125 Introduction to American College Culture. ELI 125 is college level and may be transferred to another school and counted towards graduation.

Level/Course CELSA Score COMPASS ELI Score
ELI 100 Topics in Language Enrichment for ELLs (1-4 cr.) 42+ 180+
ELI 101 Beginning Intensive ELI (6-6 cr.) 27+ 120+
ELI 102 Intermediate Intensive ELI (6-6 cr.) 38+ 155+
ELI 103-104 Advanced Intensive ELI (6-6 cr.) 50+ 200+
ELI 105-107 Transitional ELI and ENG 128 (12 cr.) 60+ 241+
ELI 108 Academic Reading and Writing I (6 cr.) 50+ 210+
ELI 109 Academic Reading and Writing II (3 cr.) 65+ 251+
ELI 125 Introduction to American College Culture (1 cr.) 50+ 200+

Do I receive college credit for these ELI classes?

Yes, you do receive college credits for these courses, but the credits for ELI 100-ELI 109 do not count towards a certificate or degree and cannot be transferred. However, you may take ELI 125 for 1 credit. and that is college level credit and may be transferred to another school and counted toward graduation.

Do I pay tuition for ELI classes?

Yes. If you are a permanent resident living or working fulltime in Lake County, you will need to pay in-district tuition rates. If you are an international student with an F-1 visa, you will be required to pay out-of-state tuition rates. The rates listed are per credit hour. Our classes are between 3-12 credit hours.

For questions about your resident or visa status, go to Admissions and Records office at Grayslake or at the Student Activities Office at Lakeshore. Important: Tuition payment deadlines will be enforced!

Is financial aid or scholarships available for ELI classes?

Yes. Federal financial aid is available for ELI 102-109 classes if you qualify. CLC foundation scholarships are also available for ELI classes if you qualify. You can get an application form in the Financial Aid Office at Grayslake or at the Student Activities Office at Lakeshore or apply for financial aid online.


For information on acquiring an I-20 to study at the College of Lake County, please contact the International Admissions representative.

For more information on ELI classes, contact:
Joyce Gatto at (847) 543-2304 or in Room A236 or 
Jacinta Thomas at (847) 543-2565 or or 
Jill Bruellman at (847)543-2546 or

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