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English as a Second Language

Placement Testing


If English is not a student's native language, TCC requires the student to take the English as a Second Language (ESL) placement test.

If the ESL placement test results indicate that the student needs ESL instruction, then he/she must successfully complete the required ESL courses before enrolling in academic courses.

TCC offers an intensive ESL program consisting of four levels:

  • Intermediate I
  • Intermediate II
  • Advanced
  • Bridge

Students whose first language is not English can demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following ways:

  • Paper TOEFL score of 550
  • Computer-based TOEFL score of 213
  • Internet based TOEFL (iTB) score of 80
  • SAT Critical Reading and Writing score of 500 or higher
  • ACT Verbal (English and Writing) score of 21 or higher
  • Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) grade of A, B, or C
  • British “O” Level English pass (grade A-C)
  • Possession of an American degree (associate, bachelor, or master) or the equivalent from an accredited institution located in a country where English is the native language.
  • Successful completion* of one college-level English course at a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This course must be equivalent to Tidewater Community College's English Composition I (ENG 111).
  • Successful completion of TCC’s ESL Bridge Courses


Students may be exempt from English placement testing and placed directly into ENG 111 based on the following:

  • ACT scores in COMBINED English/Writing: 21 or greater (scores must be less than 2 years old)Verbal (Writing and Reading), minimum score 21
  • SAT scores in BOTH Critical Reading and Writing: 500 or greater (scores must be less than two years old)
  • Successful completion* of TCC's ESL Bridge Courses
  • Succes completion of one college-level Englilsh course at a regularly accredited US institution. This course must be equivalent to TCC's English Composition I (ENG 111).

* Successful completion is defined as obtaining a grade of C (2.0) or higher.