Marleni Curiel, a Business Administration student, shared how easy it has been for her to learn English at the college level at St. Augustine College. “When I arrived to SAC in 2014, my English was at the 105 level, which is one of the lowest levels of English. It was puzzling because I had studied English in Mexico and I thought I could speak the language, but here I realized that my English was nothing,” she said. “At first it was difficult, I will not lie, but the professors had a lot of patience and I was able to learn because the classes were very dynamic and fun. Now, I speak English and recently finished English 165 which is Speech, the last required English class, and thanks to that, I will graduate in December to obtain my Associate Degree in Business Administration. I will continue my studies afterwards, because I want to obtain my bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management here at St. Augustine College,” she revealed. 

Like Marleni, every new SAC student who has not had a previous college experience in the United States, must take a placement exam to assess their level of English and math. The English exam consists of 50 multiple choice grammar questions and a written paragraph on a given topic. The Admissions department then grades the multiple-choice section, while the written section is graded by a professor from the English department. The student’s English level is determined by a combined score from both sections.  


The levels of English in SAC are as follows: 


English 101-104 

English 105-108 

English 109, for foreign students 

English 121, for dominant students in English 

University level 

English 160 (Composition I) 

English 162 (Composition II) 

English 165 (Speech) 


At any college or university in the United States, English 160 (Composition I) is required to take college or university classes. In SAC, an Intensive English program is offered to students who do not speak the language. Per their placement exam, students can be placed at any of the basic levels: English 101, 105, 109 (for foreign students) or 121 (for dominant students in English). 

Those who place at English 101, must attend classes 5 days a week. Those who are placed at the English 105 level attend classes 3 days a week. The English 121 level students attend class two days a week. When students reach English Composition I, II and Speech, they attend classes one day a week. 

According to the Department of Languages, Literature and Humanities of SAC, the advantage of attending SAC is that it offers career courses like psychology, ECE, mathematics, literature, art appreciation, etc. in Spanish, English and bilingual. For those students who do not possess college level English, they can take their classes in Spanish while they continue to learn English to be able to reach English Composition I, which normally lasts 3-4 semesters (this depends on the results from the placement exam). By doing this, the student can apply their knowledge in their area of study from Spanish to English.

by Eduardo Alegria

Translation to English: Johanna Castro