icon-stop-watch-mediumQuick Start Guide

Learn English

If English is not your native language, Highline College can help you.

Highline is a public institution of higher education located 20 minutes south of Seattle in Des Moines, Wash. Since 1961, community members have counted on Highline to meet their educational needs close to home. We offer certificate programs, two-year degrees in a wide range of programs, and applied bachelor’s degrees in four high-demand fields.

We also offer many classes and programs to help people like you learn and improve their English language skills. Which class or program is right for you?

  • Do you want to learn or improve your English? We offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
  • Are you a foreign student or guest? Learn about your options—including intensive English courses—through Kaplan International English.
  • Are your English skills strong? You may be ready for college-level classes. We can assess your skills using the Accuplacer Reading test.
  • Do you want to learn English while starting a business? Highline’s StartZone has free services for those who qualify.

If you have just moved to this area or have been here for many years, we hope you will come to Highline College. We want to help you. Learn more below about what we offer.


    Do you want to learn English or brush up on your English skills? We offer pre-college level classes in English (ESL classes). In the classes, you will learn and practice basic speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

    Classes are for immigrants, refugees, permanent residents and U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years old. Classes are held at Highline College and various off-campus sites in the morning, afternoon and evening. There is a $25 tuition fee each quarter. Tuition waivers are available.

    New students will need to attend an orientation. At the orientation, you will complete a Highline application and take an English skills examination. You will also register for class. You are considered a new student if you are new to Washington state or if you have not taken a basic ESL class for six months or more.

    If you have a temporary visa for studying, doing business or traveling in the U.S., you cannot attend these classes. See “Are you a foreign student or guest” below for details.

    Contact Information

    ESL – English as a Second Language

    (206) 592-3297
    Email: abeadmin@highline.edu

    Located on Highline’s main campus, Building 19, Room 102 (Campus Map)

    Learn More

    If you are foreign student or guest, you can enroll in a variety of courses from general English skills to academic and TOEFL preparation. Classes are offered on Highline’s campus through Kaplan International English. At Kaplan, you choose a program based on how long you want to study, your educational plans and future career. Classes begin every Monday, and you can tailor the length of your course to your specific needs.

    Contact Information

    Kaplan International English at Highline

    (206) 592-3740
    Email: GPO.Highline@kaplan.com

    Located on Highline’s main campus, Building 25, 5th floor (Campus Map)

    Learn More

    Do you believe your English skills are strong enough for college-level English courses? If so, take the COMPASS placement test to learn your skill level. After taking the test, you can meet with an adviser who can help you choose the course and/or program that is right for you.

    Contact Information

    Highline Placement

    (206) 592-3251
    Email: testingcenter@highline.edu

    Located on Highline’s main campus, Building 25, 6th floor (Campus Map)

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    Through the StartZone program at Highline College, you can learn English while building your business. StartZone provides free business training, consulting and other support to South King County residents.

    StartZone staff members are multicultural and multilingual and reflect the diversity of the community. More than two-thirds of StartZone clients are people of color or recent immigrants. StartZone can help you build a business that is profitable and well connected to the local economy.

    Contact Information


    (206) 592-3388
    Email: startzone@highline.edu

    Located on Highline’s main campus, Building 99 (Campus Map)

    Learn More

    Coming to campus? Visit us in the Outreach Center (Building 99), located on Pacific Highway South, just east of the main campus’s East parking lot (23835 Pacific Highway South). Find us on the 1st floor, room 101.

    Download Campus Map