Skip to content Skip to footer site map

Print ViewDownload PDF

English as a Second Language Pre-Academic

Available at: Kingston


The purpose of the pre-academic ESL program is to provide students who speak English as a second language with instruction and support that will enable them to improve their English language skills to succeed in their academic studies. The program uses Canadian materials particularly aimed at improving the English language skills of students who intend to enroll in a college diploma or degree program.

Students are offered an enriching English experience with authentic readings, audio and video segments, activities and exercises designed to build vocabulary, text comprehension and pronunciation. There will also be opportunities to learn about Canadian culture and the local area through meaningful experiences in the community, including field trips to various historical and cultural sites.

Students enrolled in the ESL pre-academic program have full access to the fitness centre, library, cafeteria, computer labs, and more.

Why St. Lawrence College?

  • Small classes and personal attention: Everyone in the class is able to participate actively in pairs or groups.
  • Highly qualified, experienced teachers: All teachers are certified and have many years of teaching experience.
  • Opportunity to take an academic class while studying ESL: At the Advanced level, students have the opportunity to take a credit course of their choice in General Arts and Science during fall and winter semesters.
  • Diversified dynamics: We have students from different countries in our ESL classes.
  • No TOEFL or IELTS required if a student completes the ESL Advanced level: When students graduate from the Advanced level with an overall grade of 60 percent, they receive a Statement of Achievement, which allows them to enter post-secondary programs at St. Lawrence College without further English language testing.

Program Structure


There are three levels – Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, and Advanced, each with two modules to complete. To enroll in the appropriate level, you will take a placement test upon arrival. After taking the two modules and passing the exit test, you can progress to the next level or graduate with the Statement of Achievement.

ESL Pre-Academic Program Levels


The features of this program include:

  • Integrated curriculum emphasizing all four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking)
  • Further emphasis on academic writing in the Advanced level
  • Development of cross-cultural communication skills and study skills
  • Tutorial sessions for more practice
  • Opportunities to learn about Canadian cultural through field trips

Teaching/Learning Methods

Speaking and Listening

  • Listening, pronunciation and vocabulary practice
  • Note-taking and paraphrasing
  • Group discussion and pair work activities
  • Audio/video-based skills practice
  • Small group problem solving, case studies
  • Role-plays, games and oral presentations

Reading and Writing

  • Focus on increasing reading fluency and speed through timed readings, developing vocabulary recognition, engaging in extensive reading for pleasure and academic or business purposes, and fostering critical thinking
  • Teacher instruction in grammar, vocabulary building, the writing process and learning strategies
  • Individual, pair and group work, including peer editing and conferencing
  • Linked with business related topics, or themes and organized around rhetorical structures
  • Writing paragraphs, essays and research reports from readings

What level will I attend?

You will take a mandatory placement test when you arrive on campus. No prior testing is required to register in the ESL program. However, if you have done an international English test, your score may be used for placement. The table below lists the entrance score for each level (either Module A or Module B).


St. Lawrence Placement




 Progression Requirement






 Passing grade of 60% to intermediate level

Intermediate level





 Passing grade of 60% to Advanced level

Advanced level






Passing grade of 60% to diploma

programs, 70% to post-graduate and degree programs

How long does it take to complete each level?

You must complete BOTH modules (60% in all courses) and pass the exit test (60%) in order to move to the next level. Normally it takes 14 weeks to complete a level. However, if you achieve 80% on the first module, you may take the exit test early. In such a case, it could take 7 weeks to complete a level.

Admission to Post-Secondary Programs

When students successfully complete the Advanced level with a minimum 60% in all courses, they meet the English language requirement for diploma and certificate programs at St. Lawrence College. If they achieve a minimum of 70% in all courses, they meet the English language requirement for Degree and Graduate Certificate programs. No further English testing is required for admission to St. Lawrence College programs.

Start Dates


 Start Date
 Placement Test
 Class Begins
  May 2018
 May 1, 2018
  May 7, 2018
 September 2018
 August 27, 2018
 September 4, 2018
 October 2018
 October 22, 2018
 October 29, 2018
 January 2019
 January 2, 2019
 January 7, 2019
 March 2019
 February 25, 2019
 March 4, 2019
 April 2019
 April 22, 2019
 April 29, 2019
 June 2019
 June 17, 2019
 June 24, 2019
 September 2019
 August 26, 2019
 September 4, 2019
 October 2019
 October 21, 2019
 October 28, 2019

Weekly ESL Sample Schedule

 Time Monday
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
 Morning  Writing  Listening  Reading  Speaking  Tutorial
 Noon  Lunch  Lunch  Lunch  Lunch  Lunch
 Afternoon  Reading  Speaking  Writing  Listening  Lab Hours

The English conversation club will be held once per week after class.

How to Apply

Step 1: Fill out the application form and pay the application fee of $100 CAD

Step 2: Mail your original or certified copies of your high school diploma and transcript to St. Lawrence College at:

International Office St. Lawrence College
100 Portsmouth Avenue
Kingston, Ontario Canada K7L 5A6

Please note we only accept Original documents or certified copies. If your documents are not in English, we need the English translation as well.

Program Name

English as a Second Language Pre-Academic

Program Code



Statement of Achievement

Start Dates


Program Duration

14 Weeks

Location (Campus)


Canadian Fees

To view a detailed fee schedule, please click here. The fee schedule will open as a PDF in a new window.

**Contact us to verify fees as they vary depending on season and duration: Liviya Xu, 613-544-5400, ext. 1410 or

International Fees

To view a detailed International fee schedule, please click here. The fee schedule will open as a PDF in a new window.

**Contact us to verify fees as they vary depending on season and duration: Liviya Xu, 613-544-5400, ext. 1410 or

Additional Costs

Scholarships and Bursaries

St. Lawrence College offers an extensive Student Scholarship and Bursary Program.  Scholarships and bursaries for this purpose are sponsored by external organizations and private individuals.  These awards recognize our academic excellence, community involvement, contribution to the quality of College life, outstanding achievement and professional potential.  For more details visit "Paying for College".

Program Outline 2019-20

Advanced Level

Intermediate Level

Pre-Intermediate Level

Articulation & Credit Transfer Opportunities

SLC graduates have many options to continue their studies with post-secondary institutions across Canada and around the world. Agreements between SLC and other institutions that are specific to this program are listed below. In addition, there are many credit transfer pathway agreements between colleges and universities within the province of Ontario. Please also visit to search for options relevant to your program area of study.

    Admission Requirements

    • English language skills at the Pre-Intermediate starting level
    • High school diploma or at least 19 years old prior to start of the program

    For OSSD equivalency options, see Admission Requirements.


    Health Requirements


    I think that the program is really good because it is very integral. It covers ground in all the skills. As a student, I have learned about everything. This program also gives you a good chance to improve your English fast and understandable. The teachers are great and for sure well prepared. I am happy to have made this choice. I am 100% sure that was the right one. 

    Jorge Montes

    Program Contact

    Admissions Information

    International Students Contact:

    Additional Information

    Students are thoroughly tested upon enrollment for placement in the appropriate level (only Intermediate and Advanced offered). Upon arrival at the College, students will have an oral and written assessment of their English skills and will be placed at the appropriate level.

    Need help with your OCAS application?

    One of our Career College Advisors will provide personal assistance to walk you through your OCAS application. Call 1-800-463-0752 or email

    Unable to produce your high school diploma?

    Contact Margaret Dillon at for an assessment appointment. If they determine that you are eligible for the program, they will notify Admissions of your eligibility.

    On your OCAS application, check "transcript to follow." Complete your application and submit it with your application fee. A positive assessment from the program coordinator will ensure your acceptance into the program, as long as seats are available, even though your high school transcript is unavailable.

    Advanced Standing

    Print ViewDownload PDF