The English as a Second Language (ESL) program will help you reach your full potential at Rose-Hulman. Our goal is to give you the necessary tools to succeed in a fast-paced academic environment. 

Learning a language provides another window from which to view the world. – Chinese Proverb

ESL services are here for all non-native speakers, both undergraduate and graduate students. Our current peer tutors are majoring in nearly each major offered here, so it's possible you can be matched with a tutor who shares your major. We are grateful for each of our international students and the many ways they enrich our campus. Click the boxes below to see the services we offer. For more details, be sure to visit our International Student Services page.

What We Offer

Click the boxes for details.
A female tutor helping a female international student.


Work one-on-one with a trained ESL tutor or in a small group. We can help with 

  • Papers
  • Presentations
  • Conversation Skills
  • Pronunciation
  • English Vocabulary

Hours are Sunday Evening - Friday afternoon

International students studying with tutors.

ESL Courses

Our classes are small (up to 11 students) and designed to meet your needs. 

ESL 101

ESL 102

ESL 111

Male and female international students smiling at a party.

Workshops and Events

We host workshops and fun social activities for international students. Examples include

  • Success in the U.S. Classroom
  • Resume Writing for International Students
  • Job Interviewing Skills
  • Game Time!

Meet a few of our tutors!


Meet Abby

Abby is a computer science major from a rural area of southern Indiana. She loves learning about different cultures and can't wait to meet every new international student at Rose!

Meet Patrick

Patrick is a civil engineering major from central Indiana. He was the sophomore class president and loves roller coasters, coffee, recycling, and autumn! He's looking forward to meeting all of our new international students!

Meet Raj

Raj is a mechanical engineering major at Rose. When he's not doing homework, you'll find him playing CSGO, watching movies or relaxing in the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house. He looks forward to meeting all new international students!

Our Placement Test

All incoming students take an English placement test before beginning fall classes at Rose-Hulman. If you would benefit from additional English instruction, you will be placed in an ESL reading/writing course and/or a listening/speaking course to improve your skills.

ESL Placement Test and Policies: FAQs

Who needs to take the English placement test?

All incoming international students and non-native speakers of English are required to take the test regardless of their TOEFL or IELTS score.

International students whose native language is English should speak with the Director of ESL. These cases are handled on an individual basis.

Why do I need to take the placement test if I met the TOEFL requirement for admission?

The TOEFL (and other standardized tests like IELTS) can be a useful way to measure a student’s level of general English ability for admissions purposes. However, it cannot evaluate many of the specific academic skills that are essential for success at a U.S. college or university like Rose-Hulman. In other words, the TOEFL is a good place to start, but a satisfactory TOEFL score alone doesn’t guarantee that a student will be able to do college-level work in English.

The placement test is designed to assess a variety of academic English skills that you will use regularly in your classes, such as summarizing, analyzing, and responding to a written text.

What is the purpose of the test?

The test is designed to assess your ability to successfully complete academic coursework in English. 

What is the format of the test?

The test consists of three parts.

  • An oral interview: These are usually done via Skype with two ESL instructors and will require about 15 minutes. Interviews include conversations and one or more tasks involving description, argumentation, analysis, etc. The interview requires no special preparation.
  • A written evaluation: You'll be asked to complete a short written task similar to something that might be expected in a college-level course. No dictionaries are permitted during the test.
  • A computer-based test: This section of the test lasts about an hour and primarily assesses your listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary.

Should I study for the placement test?

No. The placement test is designed to assess your overall English knowledge and your ability to use it in a variety of academic situations. The best preparation for the test is a good night’s sleep.

However, practicing your English before coming to Rose-Hulman is a great idea! Our suggestions? Read regularly in English to improve vocabulary, grammar, and even writing ability. It doesn’t matter what you read—the important thing is to do it frequently.
There are also numerous websites that can help you improve your speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Here are two of our favorites:

  • Rachel’s English: This site focuses on pronunciation, speaking, and listening. And it’s fun!
  • University of Minnesota ESL: This site has practice in multiple skill areas.

When do I take the test?

All ESL placement testing will be conducted online in August. Students will be contacted via email in July with specific details about how to take the tests and when they will be available.

What if I miss the test?

If you miss the test you will automatically be registered for ESL courses during Fall quarter. Please note that you may not make up the test if you miss it.

What happens after I take the test?

The test will be evaluated by a team of ESL instructors. Students who are found to require additional support will be required to take ESL during Fall quarter. Students who do not require ESL will have it removed from their course schedules before fall registration.

How many ESL classes will I take?

This is determined by the placement test. In 2018-19, almost half of incoming international students required no ESL or just one course. The remaining were required to take two or three classes. 

Click here to see course descriptions. 

Do I get academic credit for ESL classes?

Up to eight credits of ESL may be applied toward graduation as special elective credits (unless restricted by a student's major department). Most ESL courses earn four credits each. Any additional ESL credits serve to maintain the student's visa status but do not count toward graduation.

Will taking ESL prevent me from graduating on time?

No. The ESL course schedule was carefully designed with input from the other departments on campus to make sure that students who make appropriate progress in their coursework will still graduate on time. During the 2018-19 school year, 87% of students who placed into ESL completed these courses by the end of their second quarter at Rose-Hulman.

Are there other ESL policies I should know?

Students may not drop an ESL course; therefore, it is essential for students to work hard in these courses from the first day of the term. 
Margaret Hurdlik

Margaret Hurdlik

Margaret Hurdlik is the Director of English as a Second Language at Rose-Hulman and has been teaching ESL for 25 years, including in Chicago and New Orleans. She loves to travel the world and learn about other cultures. You can contact her by email at or (812) 877-8843.

Karen Fullin

Karen Fullin

Karen Fullin is an ESL instructor at Rose-Hulman. She has a passion for language and cultures, and her interests have taken her around the globe, including China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Ecuador, Belgium, and Germany, among others! Her research interests include nonnative speakers’ acquisition of pragmatic skills in their second language. You can contact her at

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