School of Academic Advancement

211 North Carroll Street 
Madison WI 53703

CALL: (608) 258-2440

Se habla Español.

English Language Learners

At Madison College, English Language Learners can get the help they need to succeed in school and in life. Our English as a Second Language (ESL) classes provide the support students need to improve their reading, writing and spoken language skills. We offer five levels of ESL classes, so we have the right course for every student no matter how far along they are in learning English.

To take ESL classes at Madison College, you must be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a U.S. citizen, or a permanent resident of Wisconsin or a refugee

We do not currently offer classes to people holding a temporary, non-immigrant U.S. visa.

  • Get Started

    New to Madison College
    If you have never taken an ESL class at Madison College, you must attend an orientation (see the orientation schedule below in the next dropdown section). 

    At orientation, you will:

    • fill out an intake form
    • listen to a brief overview of the orientation process
    • learn about the classes that are offered
    • find out about other services that are available
    • take an assessment test to help determine which level ESL course will help you the most.

    Orientation takes about four hours. There is no cost for orientation, and you do not need an appointment.

    If you have a disability and need accommodations, please call 608-259-2950 and we will make sure you have what you need in order to participate.

    Previous Student at Madison College
    If you have taken an ESL class at Madison College before, you do not need to attend orientation. You may need to take the ESL test to help determine which level course best meets your needs. Please contact our office at (608) 258-2440 and we will tell you how to take the test and help you register for classes.

    If you already have taken the ESL test recently, you may be able to register for a class without re-taking it. Contact our office to find out if you can register.

  • Orientation Schedule

    Orientation lasts 4 hours. There is no cost to attend orientation and you do not need to register. Please see the orientation schedule for information on upcoming dates, times and locations. 

  • Classes

    Most of our ESL classes are held at the Downtown campus. We also offer some classes at our South Madison campus during the fall and spring semesters.

    ESL classes usually meet twice a week in the morning or in the evening for a total of six hours per week. We do not have classes on the weekend. Summer classes meet four days a week, Monday through Thursday.

    MATC also works together with community partners to offer ESL classes at other locations around the Madison area. These classes take place in a flexible lab setting so you can attend when it best fits your schedule. You don’t need an appointment to take ESL classes at one of these outreach locations, you can just drop in and register during scheduled class time. Contact the School of Academic Advancement at (608) 258-2440 for more information about off-campus options.

  • Success Stories

    Meet Bertha Ortiz-ESL Success Story at Madison College

    Bertha (Mexico)

    Bertha started in beginning ESL and earned her GED at Madison College. She learned English so she can communicate better with her co-workers and her supervisors at her job. 



    Meet Lili Jones - Madison College ESL Success Story

    Lili (China)

    Lili was brand new to the country when she began taking ESL classes. She earned her GED at Madison College and is enrolled in the liberal arts transfer program at Madison College and wants to attend UW-Madison.



    Abondio - Madison College ESL Success StoryAbondio (Sudan)

    Abondio started in ESL 3 and finished his 5.09 HSED in 2014. He has a technical certificate in Machining from Madison College.

English Language Learners may also find these Madison College resources helpful: