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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 102  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-- 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 cover similar grammar, reading and writing 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 parentheses in the comparison below show the units and weekly class hours for each course. Please keep in mind that most ACE and EMLS students place into ACE 102 or 116 or EMLS 107 or 109, so the total number of units will differ depending on initial placement.

Santa Ana College

                           Santiago Canyon College

1. EMLS 104 (5 units, 5

    hours)  and

    EMLS 103 (3, 3) optional

2. EMLS 107 (6, 6)

3. EMLS 109 (6, 6)

4. EMLS 110 (4, 4)

5. EMLS 112 (4, 4)

   Total program units: 25 - 28


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 052 (4 units, 6 hours) and

                               ACE 053 (2, 2) optional

                           2. ACE 102 (4, 6) and

                               ACE 093 (2, 2) optional

                           3. ACE 116 (4, 6)

                               Total program units: 12 - 16

                            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 a few seats in ACE 052, 053, 102, 093 and N81 for Continuing Education students as a guided pathway between our noncredit and credit ESL programs. You will register for specific noncredit courses which are combined with the ACE courses above. When Continuing Education students work side by side with credit students, they often realize that they are ready to study college credit classes and perhaps would like to work 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