Reading & ESL Center at College of San Mateo - FAQs
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Reading & ESL Center

I enrolled in a "self-paced, individualized course." When do I start?
As soon as possible. First, you will want to meet with an instructor or instructional aide to review the requirements for your course and to learn what materials you will need. If this is at the start of a new semester, please call or go to the Center to learn the current hours and to make an appointment. If the normal registration period has ended, please come to the Center to schedule an appointment during our regular semester hours.

The catalog says that my class meets here, in Bldg 18, Room 101. What do I do?
You have enrolled in a "self-paced, individualized" (lab-only) course. Please see the answer to question #1. 

The normal registration period has ended. Am I still able to take an ESL course?
Yes. The ESL Center offers a few self-paced, individualized courses, also known as lab-only courses. You may enroll up to the end of Week 10 in the Fall and Spring semesters.

The catalog says that my class meets "By Arr to 1.5-3.0 Hrs/Wk." What does this mean and when do I start? 
"By Arr" means "By Arrangement." For our purposes, it also means that you've enrolled in an individualized or "lab-only" course. Please go to or contact the Center for current hours so you can make your first appointment and learn the requirements for your course. The number of hours required for the course each week depends upon the number of units for which you have registered. See the answer to question #1 for more information.

My ESL Listening and Speaking course and my ESL Reading course require lab hours. What assignments do I need to do?
During your first or second class, your teacher will give you a syllabus and/or an assignment form which will list your lab assignments. If you bring this form to the Center, we will be able to answer your questions and give you the necessary books and materials for your lab assignments.

What do I do in the Center? How do I get started?
If you are in an ESL Listening and Speaking or ESL Reading class, your teacher will give a tour of the Center during the first or second class. You will receive information about lab policies and procedures.

If you are taking a self-paced, individualized (lab-only) course, please see the answer to question #1. 

May I do my homework in the Center?
Students may work on lab assignments, participate in Conversation Circles, have individual appointments with instructors or instructional aides, or work on homework for their ESL Reading or ESL Listening and Speaking class. Please see our Code of Conduct.

May I use the computers?
Students may use the computers only for assigned ESL Center work in ESL Reading and Listening and Speaking courses. The Center's computers may NOT be used for any other purposes including (but not limited to): emailing, idly surfing the internet, messaging, listening to music, printing documents, and playing games. Please see our Code of Conduct.

How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment, come to the ESL Center (Bldg. 18, Room 101) or call the Center at (650) 574-6437. Sign-up sheets are posted on the bulletin board. Please make sure to sign up on the appropriate list. On the left side near the main door, you will find sign-up sheets for Conversation Circles (Levels II OR Levels III and IV) and slots for 20-minute individual appointments with Listening and Speaking teachers. On the right side, you will find appointment sheets for 20-minute individual meetings with ESL Reading instructors and instructional aides. ESL Listening and Speaking students may also schedule a one-on-one meeting with Colleen (3-6:30 pm Monday-Thursday; 9-1 pm Saturday).

What do I do if I cannot come to my appointment?
If you are unable to come to your scheduled appointment, please call the Center as soon as possible and BEFORE your appointment to cancel (650-574-6437). Give your name, date, and the time of your appointment. 

If you miss an appointment, you will be counted as a "No Show." Students who miss or cancel their appointments regularly (two times or more in a two-week period) will not be allowed to make any appointment for two weeks from the time of their missed appointment.

Repetitive No Shows or Cancellations may result in a student losing appointment privileges altogether in the Center.

See our Appointment Sign-Up and Cancellation Policy.