Being able to communicate in English is a basic requirement for successful study in the United States. If English is not your native language, U.S. colleges and universities, as well as some professional visitor programs, will ask you to take an English language proficiency test before admission to determine your English language ability and appropriate placement level.
Common English language proficiency tests for entering an academic or professional program include:
- Compass ESL
The information below summarizes disability accommodations available for these tests. If you need general, non-disability-related information about these tests, such as how to register for a test, go to the testing centers website directly or contact EducationUSA.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which provides services and reasonable accommodations to test takers with disabilities. For details, see our tip sheet on Disability Accommodations for the TOEFL, GRE and Other ETS Tests.
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is another test of English language proficiency available at more than 900 testing locations worldwide. IELTS provides accommodations for test takers with disabilities, which are available and arranged on a case-by-case basis. For information on requesting accommodations and preparing for the IELTS, refer to the 'Special Requirements' section of the IELTS Information for Candidates brochure and contact your local IELTS test center. If you require a modified version of the test, for example in Braille, you must give the test center three months' notice. Other accommodations, such as extra time, require six weeks' notice. Please contact your test center to discuss your accommodations requirements.
Students planning to attend a community college might not need a TOEFL or IELTS score but will instead take an evaluation test upon arrival, such as the Compass ESL test. The ACT website provides information about the Compass ESL test and the accommodations process. Learn more about ACT's Services for Students with Disabilities.