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Frequently Asked Questions

​​​​1. Placement--Should I take ACE/ESL or English?

  • If you took ESL or ELD classes in high school and Senior English in 12th grade, you should complete the ACE placement process. Some college students have been in the U.S. for a long time and have excellent speaking skills, but their writing may still contain many errors that are related to differences between English and their native languages. If this describes you, then complete the ACE placement process. Most U.S. high school graduates with ESL backgrounds enter one of our two highest ACE levels. 

2. Can I change to the ACE program if I'm in an English class that is too hard?

  • YES! But you need to make all add/drop changes during the first two weeks of the semester so that you can receive accurate refunds and become comfortable in the new course. Be sure to talk to the ACE department chair or a counselor in D-106 for assistance. 

                Contact Diana Babayan at (714) 628-4782 or

3. Will the ACE program slow down my plans to transfer or look bad on my transcripts?

  • NOT REALLYFirst, most ACE students place into ACE 106  or ACE 116 and will need only a couple semesters of ACE courses before they are prepared for English 100/101. If you take English 100/101 too soon and don't pass, it will take you as long or longer and it will cost as much or more to finish because you will need to repeat the course! Second, ESL students may need to accept a more realistic plan for transfer.  Many ESL students think they can handle all the work they have to do in English, but it is time-consuming and challenging to handle a full-time load completely in English. That's why it is so important for you to determine your BEST placement right from the beginning.

  •  GOOD NEWS--all ACE 100-level courses transfer to CSU and some UCs.

 4. Does SCC have an International Students' Program?

  • YES!  Any questions you have about coming to SCC, your visa status or  college requirements should be directed to that office. International students who come from countries where English is not the primary language MUST complete the ACE placement process.

International Student Office: (714) 628-5050 located in SCC A-205

5. Are the ESL programs at Santiago Canyon College and Santa Ana College the same?

  • They develop the same fluency skills, but they are organized differently. The chart below shows in general how the two programs compare. At SAC, the credit ESL program is called EMLS (English for Multilingual Students); at SCC, the credit ESL program is called ACE (American College English). The total number of units will differ depending on initial placement.

Santa Ana College

                           Santiago Canyon College

1. EMLS N49 (3 units, 3 hrs)

2. EMLS 052A (3 units, 3 hrs)

3.  EMLS O52B (3 units, 3 hrs)

4. EMLS 104 (5 units, 5 hrs)

    EMLS 103 (3 units, 3 hrs)

5. EMLS 106 (5 units, 5 hrs)​​

    EMLS 105 (3 units, 3 hrs)

6. EMLS 110 (4 units, 4 hrs)

7. EMLS 112 (4 units, 4 hrs)

   Total program units: 33 

   4 Core courses = 18 units


6. ENGLISH 101 (4, 4)*

   + ENGLISH 066 (1, 1)* 

    or ENGLISH 101 (4, 4)

*English 101 + 066 are combined to offer students additional support

                           1. ACE 104 (4.5 units, 6 hrs) and

                               ACE 094 (2 units, 2 hrs) 

                           2. ACE 106 (4.5 units, 6 hrs) and

                               ACE 095 (2 units, 2 hrs)

                           3. ACE 116 (4.5 units, 6 hrs)

                               Total program units: 17.5

                                3 Core courses = 13.5 units

                            FRESHMAN COMPOSITION

                           4. ENGLISH 100 (4.5, 6)*

                               or ENGLISH 101 (4, 4)

                            *English 100 offers additional support.


6. What if I'm a Continuing Education student? Can I take ACE classes?

  • YES! We save about 10 seats in ACE 104, 094, 106, 095 and 091 for Continuing Education students as part of the guided pathway between our noncredit and credit ESL programs. Working with credit students you often realize that you are ready to study college credit classes and perhaps leading toward a degree or certificate. You will attend classes on the SCC campus with ACE students and do the same work as ACE students. Talk to Eden Quimzon at the Chapman Center about this opportunity, or on the SCC campus, visit the Continuing Education staff in U-80.

                        Eden Quimzon, ESL Coordinator for Continuing Education / Chapman Center

                        SCC Continuing Education Office on the SCC campus: U-80  (714) 628-5929


       Here is how the ACE and ESL (noncredit) classes match:

  • ​​ACE 104 + ESL 305    Grammar, Reading, Writing 
  • ACE 094 + ESL 570     Speaking, Listening
  • ACE 106 + ESL 601    Grammar, Reading, Writing
  • ACE 095 + ESL 580     Speaking, Listening
  • ACE 091 + ESL 530     Pronunciation