Advising International Students
Not all international students are in the English Language Institute (ELI) and required to take ESL classes. International students are admitted to UH Hilo in two different classifications:
- they are admitted into a degree program in the same way as native speaking students; or
- they are admitted (as classified students) into the English Language Institute (ELI) and restrictions (based upon their reading and writing scores) are placed on their registration.
Students admitted into a degree program (non-ELI)
International students who are admitted with a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score above 500 on the paper-based test (equal to 173 on the computer-based test and 61 on the internet-based test) or with transfer credit forare not required to complete additional ESL requirements except to meet a prerequisite for . They are required to take the English Language Placement Assessment (ELPA) which the ELI uses to determine which ESL classes to recommend for them. They are free to register for their own classes and can use the advising center and be assigned an advisor.
Students can also be admitted into a degree program without a TOEFL score if they are transferring from another university and have taken the equivalent of.
Students admitted into the English Language Institute (ELI)
International students who are admitted to UH Hilo without a TOEFL score or with a TOEFL score below 500 (173/61) are admitted into the ELI and a hold is placed on their registration. The advisor for all ELI students is the director of the ELI. These students must see the director of the ELI to register. (If you are unsure whether a student is an ELI or student or not, you can check on STAR or Banner (SOAHOLD) to see if the student has an academic hold placed by the ELI director). These students are restricted to taking ESL classes and a few selected non-ESL classes depending on their assessed reading level. ELI students must obtain the written approval of the professor to take any non-ESL class.
Admissions Path for International Students
English Language Placement Assessment and Writing Placement Assessment
English Language Placement Assessment
The English Language Placement Assessment (ELPA) is administered by the ELI during orientation week. This placement assesses listening, grammar, and reading skills. This assessment is administered to all newly admitted non-native speaking students. This assessment is used to provide class placements for the students admitted into the ELI and recommendations for non-ELI students. The results are converted into class placements (i.e., , , ). These placement scores are written on index cards and given to the students the day after the test (see box below). For non-ELI students, these placements can be used by the student and the advisor to determine if additional ESL classes are warranted. The placement assessment is only given during orientation week.
Non-ELI students may not register for an ESL class that they have not been placed into. The presence of a TOEFL score of above 500 does not necessarily indicate English competence in all areas. Therefore, the class placements resulting from the ELPA must be followed when helping a non-ELI student with registration. Please follow the placement guidelines provided by the ELI. If you are advising a student who has not taken the ELPA, but you believe needs ESL assessment, please contact the ELI director .
Students who have taken the ELPA but want to improve their placement can take the test the following semester. The dates and times of the ELPA are available on the ELI website.
Writing Placement Assessment
The Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) is administered and evaluated by the English department. Non-native English speakers are either placed in, , , or below . The ELI faculty places students who are below into an ESL writing class ( , , or ). The WPA and ELPA placements are posted on Banner on SOATEST. ELI students are required to take the ESL class that they are placed into. Non-ELI students are not required to take ESL classes, but are encouraged to register for the classes that they place into as they show the weaknesses in their English proficiency skills. Non-ELI students who do not receive placement into or must either take the WPA again or enter the appropriate ESL writing class and ultimately pass .
ESL 100 Prerequisite
- : Advanced Academic Reading
The English department has a reading proficiency prerequisite for. Reading proficiency is demonstrated by the concurrent enrollment in or completion of (Advanced Academic Reading). For ELI students, is a required class. However, non-ELI students must still demonstrate reading proficiency. To do so, they must take the English Language Placement Assessment when it is offered during orientation week. Once the students have their reading results, they can enroll in or if they meet one of three requirements:
- Be concurrently enrolled in and
- Have taken and passed in a previous semester
- Score 70 percent or higher on the reading portion of the ELPA and be placed out of ESL reading.
- If students enroll concurrently in and or , they cannot drop without also dropping or .
Non-ELI students cannot takeunless they have placed into the class on the ELPA. For example, if a student has a reading score that places him/her into , he/she must either take and pass the class or wait a semester and take the ELPA the following semester and try to achieve a placement of or higher.