ESOL Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we follow the Purdue academic calendar? Why can’t we have classes even when Purdue does not?

ESOL is first and foremost a service provided for Purdue students and their spouses; therefore, we follow the Purdue calendar.

How is the cost of an ESOL class figured?

ESOL is not an academic program. Rather, ESOL is a service offered by the Housing and Food Services (HFS) division of Purdue University. Because ESOL is a service, rather than an academic program, the ESOL instructor is paid an hourly rate for her time in the classroom and for her preparation. It is the goal of the ESOL Coordinator that each class would provide enough income to cover both the time the instructor spends in the classroom and her preparation time.

Why are ESOL students required to purchase a textbook?

The time the ESOL instructors must spend preparing for each class is kept to a minimum in order to keep costs down for ESOL students.  One of the ways ESOL reduces cost is by requiring that each student own a textbook, so that the ESOL instructor does not spend preparation hours creating lessons with no common classroom materials.

Why do ESOL classes not finish their textbooks each school year?

ESOL textbooks are not written specifically for the ESOL program. They are chosen from the market of ESL textbooks designed for adults available in the United States.

Can we have more field trips at ESOL?

ESOL attempts to provide good customer service to each of its students. Some students define good customer service as many field trips during a semester, but some students prefer no field trips at all. Some ESOL students define a good school year as one that finishes all the content of the textbook, but this is impossible if many field trips are included. There is no way to make every customer totally satisfied, but we are continually trying to find the happy medium that results in as many satisfied ESOL students as we can.

Could ESOL classes begin later in the day?

The simple answer is: “No.” The explanation to this question is two-fold: (1) Compared to most daytime activities in the United States, ESOL already begins its programming quite late in the day, and (2) ESOL class schedules are designed to work around the schedules of Purdue student spouses who are delivering and picking up children from pre-school/kindergarten/elementary schools.

Could we have more immediate correction of pronunciation/vocabulary/usage mistakes in the classroom?

The ESOL instructor is attempting to find the delicate balance of individual correction versus the continuation of thought required to keep an entire class energized and moving along on the subject matter at hand. If you would like to be corrected on a more regular basis, please consider hiring a tutor for this purpose.

Why do you allow ESOL students to enroll throughout the semester?

It is a reality that international travelers do not all arrive at ESOL at the same time.  If we allowed new students to only register immediately before a semester begins, some students would not get to take classes at ESOL at all, as some students arrive after the school year begins and are able to stay in the US only a few months.  Also, it is a financial reality that, when classes begin, some classes have barely provided enough income to pay their instructor; students who arrive later in the semester provide income toward overhead.

What is the process for canceling a class due to low enrollment?

Class rosters are analyzed on the Thursday evening/Friday morning before a class is to begin to make sure that there are enough people enrolled to offer the class. It is advisable for students to check with the administrator as to the progress of registration before purchasing a textbook or to purchase a textbook that is easily returnable.

Why is it cold in my classroom?

In general, places of business are cooler in the US than people from other countries are accustomed to. For example, the thermostats in the ESOL classrooms are set to keep the room in a constant temperature range of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 22 degrees Celsius). Many Americans choose to dress in layers, so they can put on clothing when cold and remove clothing when hot.

For a scientific rationale for keeping classrooms cool for good health purposes, please go to

How is a student’s level decided?

Each student is initially placed through a new student interview with the ESOL Coordinator. The interviewer will be testing through casual conversation the ability of the English student to understand instruction given orally by a classroom instructor and the potential of the new student to enter into conversation during classroom activities.

After the initial assignment by the administrator before the first semester, students may self place during the following semesters.  However, there are no refunds once a class is attended, so students who self-place should be very careful that they are ready to advance to a more difficult level of classes.

The administrator is always more than happy to help returning students in choosing a class.

How many students can I expect in my ESOL class?

Class size is limited to 14 students to provide a higher quality experience.

How do new students register for classes?

New students may begin the registration process by emailing the ESOL Coordinator for a new student interview appointment. Or you can register at

How do returning students register for a class at ESOL?

If a returning student is confident in making their class choices without assistance, it is possible to begin the registration process by filling out the form at; however, returning students who need assistance in choosing a class are always welcome to request an appointment time with the administrator by e-mailing

Are classes ever cancelled at ESOL?

Classes are cancelled at ESOL if classes are cancelled at Purdue. In a case of this kind, classes will not be re-scheduled.

Very rarely, a class is cancelled due to an instructor’s illness or family emergency. In a case of this kind, it is ESOL’s first choice to have the class taught by a substitute instructor. If this is not possible, class may be cancelled by e-mailing the most current class list and re-scheduled during the week following the previously scheduled last week of classes or at a time mutually agreeable to the class.

Can ESOL assist me in getting a student visa?

ESOL is a service offered to current residents of Housing and Food Services University Residences students and has no authority to assist in the visa issuing process. All questions concerning visas should be directed to the International Students and Scholars office at

May I bring my child to an ESOL class with me?

The ESOL program is attended by a large number of women with children. Children are never to attend an ESOL class with their parent(s). Parents who arrive with a child in tow will be asked to leave the classroom.

May I leave my child in a classroom, lounge, study room, computer lab, playroom, etc. while I attend an ESOL class?

No, children may not be left unattended in the Purdue Village Community Center for any length of time.

What is the refund policy for ESOL classes?

Refunds are not guaranteed. Granting of refunds will be determined on a case by case basis.