When to Start Your ESL Program – Open Enrollment vs. Fixed Start Dates

Should I sign up for an ESL program that has open enrollment or one that has fixed start dates (like the first of every month or semesters)? This is just another question to add to your long list of considerations as you evaluate programs to study English in the US.

Many schools have fixed start dates, such as the beginning of each month, semesters, or terms.  This is a good choice for students who are going to study for a long time.  When there are actual terms, there is much more building on previous material than in an open enrollment program.  You’ll start at the beginning of a book and progress through it normally.

Other schools have open enrollment, which is nice for students who need to be flexible with their classes, need to take some time off if necessary for work, or will study for a shorter time.  Programs that have open enrollment generally place ESL students in a class that has continuing students from previous weeks and the lessons may be in the middle of the book.  This may turn some people off if they prefer to start at the beginning of a book and work their way through it in order.

However, this is not necessary when it comes to a good program with open enrollment.  If a school is successful and knows how to handle students arriving every week, they will have curriculum that does not necessarily build upon the previous chapter, but works on skills for that particular language level.

You can learn English in both types of program, however, open enrollment is much more flexible, while still developing grammar and vocabulary skills for that level.  If you choose to go the open enrollment route, don’t worry about starting in the middle of a book, it just spices things up!