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Home / College Catalog / 2016-18 / Academic Policies

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English Placement Policy for International Students

The purpose of this policy is to promote academic success among nonnative English-speaking students on campus. Success in courses at Purchase College depends, in part, on the ability to understand, read, write, and speak English. For this reason, international students whose first language is not English will be assessed to determine if they can benefit from additional language training as they embark on their studies at Purchase.

All nonnative English-speaking international students are required to take the college’s English placement exam before the beginning of their first semester. (This exam is not required for students who are native English speakers and from countries where English is the primary language of instruction.) The results of this test will be reviewed in combination with other relevant scores, including TOEFL or IELTS and academic transcripts, and students will be placed in the appropriate English language course as needed.

The director of the college writing program, in coordination with the Office of Admissions and the Office of International Programs and Services, is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy. The director is also responsible for hiring the appropriate English language instructors. The Office of Admissions is responsible for identifying all incoming international students. The Office of International Programs and Services, in coordination with the Learning Center and the director of the college writing program, is responsible for identifying a time and location for testing, which is held during the orientation for new international students. Makeup testing arrangements are the responsibility of the director of the college writing program.

Policy Implementation/Guidelines
The English placement exam tests students’ reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities. Based on the results of the placement exam, combined with a review of other relevant test scores and documentation (e.g., TOEFL or IELTS scores and academic transcripts), students will be waived from an English language requirement or placed in one of the English as an Additional Language (EAL) courses offered under the auspices of the college writing program.

Students who demonstrate proficiency at or above EAL 1520 may enroll in any course for which they are otherwise qualified; however, enrollment in the WRI 1110/College Writing section for international students may be recommended. Unlike EAL courses, College Writing meets the general education requirement for basic communication.

If a student’s performance on the college’s English placement test is inconsistent with the test scores or with other proof of English language proficiency initially reviewed for admissions purposes, the college reserves the right to defer the student’s enrollment.

Exceptions to this policy may occur in special circumstances involving institutional agreements with international partner universities, new pathway programs, and/or other international agreements that would warrant exceptions. All such exceptions must be codified in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the participating parties and have appropriate approvals in accordance with the agreement. Any MOU must be executed through the Office of International Programs and Services, which may require consultation with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Admissions regarding exceptions set forth in the MOU.

Contact Offices

Any updates to this policy during 2016–2018 will be available on the College Policies site (

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