English as a Second Language

English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are offered to help non–native speakers to communicate in English through the development of skills in listening and observing, speaking, reading, and writing. At the beginning level, emphasis is on improving listening comprehension, vocabulary development, and English structure. The courses advance to notetaking, composition, oral presentation, and class discussion at the more advanced levels. We have levels 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5A, 81A, and 81B. For more details on the pathway check out the ESL Pathway Map.

These classes cost $25 per quarter. We can only serve immigrants and refugees in this program. Individuals with F, M, B, Student, or J visas are not eligible for Basic & Transitional Studies and should contact International Programs for enrollment options.

Once you complete ESL 81B, you are ready for Transitional ESL and other college level courses. Learn more by visiting the Transitions Center, or exploring the Areas of Study for certificate and degree options.

Welcome New Students

All new students must attend an orientation. Morning and evening orientations for new students will be held before the upcoming quarter. The orientation includes program information, assessments, goal setting, and registering for core classes. Tuition ($25) is for orientation; the classes you are placed in at the end of orientation are included in this tuition. Orientation must be completed before you can enroll in class.

Get Started

The application form is now closed. Please add your information below and we will email you the application form when it re-opens. The next New Student Orientations at Seattle Central will begin in September 2024.

Join List

  • Join the list above.
  • When it reopens, complete the ESL Application form (you can complete online or come to our office to complete in-person)
  • Reply to email from Basic and Transitional Studies to register for a New Student Orientation
  • Attend New Student Orientation.
  • Pay the $25 tuition.
  • Start classes.

*Please note that space is limited for our classes. Apply as early as possible. You may need to wait until the following quarter to attend New Student Orientation (3- 6 months).



Transitional ESL (ESL 98/99)

Transitional ESL is a 10-credit linked class of ESL 98 and ESL 99 (College Prep English for Non-Natives II). They cannot be taken separately. The class focuses on preparation for college-level reading and writing.

Students can place into ESL 98/99 by passing ESL 81B (see above) or by choosing this level through English Directed Self Placement (DSP).

Transitional ESL is a college course and costs the standard college tuition rate.

Class schedule and offerings vary each quarter. See the online class schedule for further description of the class and how it is configured.

For questions about Transitional ESL, please visit the Transitions Center.