The Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center
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English as Second Language

Students wishing to learn or improve their English language writing and speaking skills will find a wide array of challenging courses available at Bergen Community College in Hackensack. ESL courses are offered in a convenient format of 4 mornings per week or 4 evenings per week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Morning classes run from 9-11:45 a.m. and evening classes run from 6-8:45 p.m. Each session runs for approximately seven and one half weeks, for a total of 75 hours of classroom instruction. Class enrollment is limited to permit maximum participation by students and to provide immediate attention to student needs.

All students enrolled in ESL classes are given free access to our Tutoring & Language Center library and services.

ESL Placement Test

Prior to class assignment, all students must register in person for an ESL Placement Test during which students are evaluated in reading and language. There is no fee for the ESL Placement Test. The test is available every Wednesday and Thursday at 9a.m. and 6pm. Students must register for the ESL Placement Test in person and in advance by scheduling testing through our Office of Information and Registration.

Tuition and Book Fee

The tuition for each course varies depending upon the number of hours of instruction for the course. Please refer to the course description for the cost of tuition for that course. The book fee is $20 per course.

To Register

To sign up for ESL Placement Test or to register in person for an ESL class, you may visit us in person at:

The Office of Information and Registration
Ciarco Learning Center
Bergen Community College
355 Main Street
Hackensack, NJ, 07601

Office Hours:

  • Monday: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information call (201) 489-1551

To Make Payment

Payment must be made, in full, at the time of registration. The preferred method of payment is credit card, debit card, personal check or money order. Bergen Community College only accepts Visa, MasterCard or Discover. Cash is not accepted.

Changes in registration must be completed within the first 3 days of class. This includes any class changes or a deferral of enrollment and tuition to another term (with administrative approval only.)All requests for a tuition refund must be made in writing.Refunds are automatically issued if a class is cancelled.Refunds will not be given beyond the second class meeting.

Course Cancellations

Occasionally, insufficient registrations are received for a particular class. Bergen Community College reserves the right to cancel any class because of insufficient registration. Cancellations usually occur within forty-eight (48) hours prior to the first class session. In the event a course is cancelled, every effort will be made to reach students by phone ahead of time. Because this is usually done by phone, it is absolutely necessary that we have both day and evening telephone numbers where you can be reached. If it is difficult to reach you, we suggest you call 201-489-1551 to confirm your class.

Course Descriptions

Beginner ESL I (AL 512). This 75-hour course introduces students of English Language to basic grammar structures while concentrating on vocabulary development. Taught with an emphasis on conversation, this course also introduces students to 10 hours of computer lab time and teacher guided exercises to reinforce language comprehension, vocabulary, and speaking functions. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee:$20)

Beginner ESL II (AL 513). This 75-hour course builds on basic grammar structures learned in Beginner I and increases the student’s vocabulary. It provides students with a solid understanding and comprehension of basic grammar structures, increased vocabulary, and fundamentals of pronunciation with 10 hours of computer lab time and teacher guided exercises to reinforce language comprehension, vocabulary and speaking functions. Prerequisite: Beginner ESL I or Placement Test. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Intermediate ESL I (AL 492). This 75-hour course has a strong focus on reading, conversation and language comprehension. It provides students with a comprehensive understanding of verb tenses. Taught with an emphasis on conversation, this course includes 10 hours of computer lab time and teacher guided exercises to reinforce language comprehension, vocabulary and speaking functions. Prerequisite: Beginner ESL II or Placement Test. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Intermediate ESL II (AL 493). This 75-hour course builds on existing English skills taught in previous levels, allowing for a comprehensive understanding and proper use of regular and irregular verbs in past tenses. Taught with an emphasis on conversation, the course also provides students with 10 hours of computer lab time and teacher guided exercises to reinforce areas of language comprehension, vocabulary and speaking functions. Prerequisite: Intermediate ESL I or Placement Test. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Advanced ESL I (AL 494). This 75-hour course is designed to refine a student’s English Language abilities and introduce grammar structures that will enable the student to understand, converse and function socially in everyday life and work related situations. Taught with an emphasis on conversation, it provides students with 10 hours of computer lab time with teacher guided exercises to reinforce language comprehension, vocabulary and speaking functions. Prerequisite: Intermediate ESL II or Placement Test. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Advanced ESL II (AL 495). This 75-hour course is designed for students who have completed the Advanced I program. It focuses on the refinement of English skills, grammar structures, language and communication. The course improves competency in grammar and instills confidence in the ability to comprehend and use correct and complex English structures with an emphasis on conversation. The course includes 10 hours of computer lab time with teacher guided exercises that reinforce comprehension, vocabulary and speaking functions. Prerequisite: Intermediate Level II or Placement Test. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Conversation and Writing I (AL 514). This 75-hour course is designed to give advanced ESL students additional practice in spoken and written English. Review of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure will be done as needed. Discussion and conversation topics will form the basis for weekly writing assignments, which will consist of short and long essays. Students will also participate in 10 hours of computer lab time to use the program, ‘English Discoveries – Speech and Dialogues’. Students will also be able to research their essay topics using the Internet. Prerequisite: Advanced ESL or Placement Test. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Conversation and Writing II(AL515 ) This 75-hour course is builds on the skills learned in Conversation and Writing I with additional practice in spoken and written English. Review of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure will be done as needed. Discussion and conversation topics will form the basis for weekly writing assignments, which will consist of short and long essays. Students will also participate in 10 hours of computer lab time to use the program, ‘English Discoveries – Speech and Dialogues’. Students will also be able to research their essay topics using the Internet. Prerequisite: Conversation and Writing I. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

American Pronunciation Level (AL 499). This 75 hour class is designed to create confidence and direction in English Pronunciation with immediate and recognizable results. Students will learn the patterns and concepts of English pronunciation to help them speak clearly and accurately. Rhythm, linking, stress, intonation, and sequencing are presented along with the clarification of the vowels and consonants of the language. Easy patterns of words are presented as a learning tool used to give quicker access and certainty in everyday speaking, listening, writing and basic communication. A variety of materials along with repeat drills are an important part of the process of sounding out American Pronunciation. These concepts and patterns are practiced in a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere. Prerequisite: ESL Beginner I.(Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Let’s Talk (AL 496). This 75-hour course is designed to provide ESL students with better pronouncing, speaking, and listening skills while increasing their vocabulary. Discussion of a wide variety of practical and current subjects encourages students to express their feelings, ideas, and opinions. Conversation and discussion form the basis of weekly assignments. There is also a 12-hour self-study CD with listening exercises designed for students' individual time. Prerequisite: ESL Beginning II or Placement Test. (Tuition: $285 & Book Fee: $20)

Accent Reduction (AL 516). This 75-hour course, intended for ESL students, is designed to refine speaking and writing abilities through proficiency of the oral and written American English systems. This course is offered to those students who have a command of spoken English but still retain sufficient accent to hinder them in business, scholastic, or social situations. Students will participate in 12 hours of computer lab time to use the program, “English Discoveries Speech and Dialogues.” Students will also be able to research their class topics using the Internet. Prerequisite: Advanced ESL, Placement Test or demonstrated command of spoken English. (Tuition: $295 & Book Fee: $20)

Grammar Review (AL 517). This 75-hour course, intended for ESL students, is designed to provide a comprehensive review of English grammar and usage to students with advanced English-speaking skills. The emphasis of the course is on oral and written structure and expression, grammar, and syntax. This course also includes 12 hours of computer lab time and teacher guided exercises in the program, program “English Discoveries Review.” These will reinforce areas of language comprehension, vocabulary and correct grammar usage and functions. Prerequisite: Advanced ESL or Placement Test. (Tuition: $365 & Book Fee: $21)

Beginning Conversation  (AL 610).  Learn how to speak and feel comfortable in the early stages of communication.  Lessons will include individual and group conversations and basic writing skills. Students must be enrolled in Beginning I (AL 512) or Beginning II (AL 513)  to register for this course.  (Tuition $285 & Book Fee: $21)