Frequently Asked Questions:

Current Students

If you are a VCU English Language Program (ELP) student and you have questions that you do not see on this page, please email or stop by the English Language Program Office on the 3rd floor of 912 W Grace St. 


Placement Test Results

Q: What if I am unhappy with my placement?

A: You should attend class for the first week of the semester and demonstrate that your English proficiency is higher than the level in which you have been placed. Your teacher will recommend a change of your placement based on your diagnostic results. If approved by the lead teacher for that skill area and the administration you will be contacted about your new schedule.


Planning for Next Semester

Q: I am trying to plan for the next semester of study. Where do I start?

A: When planning for the next semester of study, please check the VCU Academic Calendar for term dates. Please check your VCU e-Services and make sure you do not have any student holds on your account. To maintain your F-1 Visa status, you must enroll in classes. If you are having any problems registering for your next semester’s classes, please make an appointment to meet with your ELP Advisor.


Holds & Registration

Q: What is a hold and why do I have a hold on my Student Account?

A: VCU Students periodically receive holds on their VCU e-Services accounts. It is important to clear holds from your student account as holds will prevent a student from registering for classes or ordering their official transcript from VCU Records and Registration. The type of holds students receive may vary each semester.

Q: How Can I view my Holds?

A: To view holds please login into your VCU e-Services Account. Click on the “Student Tab.” On this tab you should find a list of options. One option will be “Student Records.” When you select the option “Student Records” the first option on the list will be “View Holds.” Once you have selected the “View Holds” option, you will be able to see the holds that have been placed on your account.

Q: How can I Resolve my holds?

A: Below is a list of common holds and how to resolve them:

Student Accounting Hold

Student Accounting holds are placed on students when the tuition payment is due. It is important to clear the Student Accounting hold from your account, as it will prevent registration into next semester classes. Students will not be able to request their Official Transcripts from VCU Records and Registration and if the tuition payment is not paid in a timely manner, the student will be referred to VCU Collections. To pay your tuition, please visit Student Accounting on the 1st floor of Harris Hall, 1015 Floyd Ave, Richmond VA 23284.

If you are an Embassy-Sponsored student, and you have a digital copy of your Financial Guarantee, please email it to VCU Student Accounting at  Please be sure to include your V Number in the email.

Immunization Hold

All full-time students at VCU are required to submit immunization records upon enrolling in classes. Periodically, students will be required to provide their immunization record or receive booster shots.  Immunization holds will prevent registration, so please be sure to clear this hold before online registration begins. To clear this hold from your account, please visit VCU Student Health at 1300 W. Broad St, Suite 2200, Richmond VA, 23284.

For more information regarding VCU Immunization requirements, please visit:

ISSP Advising Hold

Students who are studying in the VCU English Language Program will receive an ISSP Advising hold once they are enrolled in Level 3 classes. ISSP Advising holds are placed on ELP students to help with a smooth transition into VCU academic programming. To resolve an ISSP Advising hold, please visit the International Students & Scholar Programming Office on the 4th floor of 912 W Grace St, Richmond VA 23284.

International Admissions Hold

Students who have been admitted to a VCU academic program may receive an International Admissions hold. Please contact VCU International Admissions to clear the hold from your student account.

VCU International Admissions is located in the Blair House, on the 3rd floor of 408 W Franklin St, Richmond VA, 23284.

They can be contacted by email at or by phone at (804) 828-6016.

English Language Program Attendance Hold

VCU ELP Students will receive an Attendance Hold on their student account if they have not been attending their classes regularly. To resolve this hold, students must meet with an English Language Program Advisor. To clear this hold, please visit the English Language Program Office on the 3rd floor of 912 W Grace St.

English Language Program Hold

All students enrolled in the English Language Program will have the English Language Program hold placed on their account after the Add/Drop period. These holds will be taken off your account before online registration opens for the next semester of study. If your hold is not removed and you are prohibited from registering, please contact the VCU ELP office on the 3rd floor of 912 W Grace St, or call (804) 828 2551.


Q: How do I register for next semester’s classes?

A: At VCU, all class registration is done online. If you have holds on your account, you will be prevented from registering for classes. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to register for classes.

Step 1: Login to your VCU e-Services Account.

Step 2: Click on the “Student” Tab.

Step 3: Click on “Registration”

Step 4: From here you should see an option to “Look up Classes”

Step 5: After you have selected “Look Up Classes” you will be asked to select a term. Please select the term in which you would like to enroll in, and press the “Submit” button at the bottom of the screen. 

Step 6: Once you have selected the term, you will reach a page that asks you to “Look Up Classes”. On this page, you will find a drop down menu. Please select “English Language Program” and hit the “Course Search” option.

Step 7: After selecting the English Language Program, you will be taken to a screen which lists all ELP classes for the selected semester. Click on the desired class and hit the “View Sections” button.

Step 8: When you view sections, you will see the list of classes that will be held in the selected semester. These listings should show the name of the class, the time and location of the class and the name of the teacher of the class. Classes that are open for registration will have a small open square next to them. If you wish to enroll in a class, click the small open box, then click the button titled “Register”.

If the class is listed with a “C” instead of the open box icon, this class is closed and you will not be able to register for the class.


Enrolling in English Language Program and Academic Classes

Q: Once I have graduated from the English Language Program, do I need to take the TOEFL iBT or IELTS to enter Virginia Commonwealth University?

A: No. If you have been accepted by VCU and have successfully completed all required coursework in the English Language Program, you do not need to take the TOEFL iBT or IELTS for most academic programs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Please note that some graduate programs require a TOEFL iBT or IELTS score; for more information, contact our International Admissions Office.

Q: What if some of my English skills are stronger than others?

A:  You are assigned classes based on your Placement Test results as well as teacher recommendations.  For example, if listening and speaking scores indicate level 2 placement, but reading and writing show you belong in level 3, you will take the following courses:  Written Communication Level 3, Oral Communication Level 2, Vocabulary & Idioms 3, and a level 2 Content class.

Q: What if I need extra help with a particular skill area or class?

A:  English Language Program offers numerous academic preparatory courses and content courses to help students with specific skills.  You are also encouraged to take advantage of the English Language Program Tutoring Center for individualized tutoring and various programs offered in the Global Education Office such as Conversation Partners.

Q: How many years will it take me to finish the English Language program?

A: If you start at the very beginning level, it will take about one year.

Q: What is the background of the teachers in the English Language Program?

A: All English Language Program teachers have graduate degrees in English Language Teaching and/or ESL-related fields. Some have extensive international backgrounds and have experienced many cultures, lived and/or studied in other countries, and speak other languages.  They understand what it means to go to another country and to learn a new language in a different culture.  Therefore, we encourage you to communicate with your teachers so that you can get to know one another. 

Q: Can I take the summer off?

A: Students do not need to take classes full-time in the summer. All students should talk with the English language Program advisor about their summer study options. In order to maintain F-1 or J-1 visa status, students must enroll for full-time study in fall and spring semesters.


Getting Around VCU

VCU is an urban campus located in Richmond Virginia. VCU has two campuses which span the City of Richmond. Often it is hard to know where campus ends and the city begins. Most of the English Language Program classes are held on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. VCU also has a medical campus which is located in downtown Richmond City. The MCV Campus is located a short 10-minute bus ride from the Monroe Park Campus.

VCU students can access the MCV campus, by riding the free VCU Campus Connector bus. Students will have to show their VCU I.D to ride the bus. The Campus Connector has many stops between the VCU Monroe Park Campus and MCV Campus. For more information, please check out the Campus Connector Route Map.

VCU provides a free after-hours bus to on-campus and near-campus residencies for VCU students. The RamSafe bus is available between the hours of 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. To request a RamSafe pickup, please call (804) 828 SAFE (7233) or use the RamSafe Online Request portal.


Embassy Letters and Official Transcripts

Q: I am an Embassy-Sponsored student and my Embassy is requesting a letter. How do I get a letter for my Embassy?

A: Many students studying in the VCU English Language Program receive scholarships from their country’s embassy. The VCU English Language Program Advisors are very familiar with the Embassy Letter request and have created an online Google Request Form for your convenience.

Please visit the following link to request your embassy letter:

Q: I have received an Embassy Letter and submitted it to my Embassy Advisor, but now my Advisor is asking for my Official Transcript. How can I get my VCU Official Transcript?

A: VCU students must request their Official Transcripts through their online VCU e-Services Account.Requesting an Official Transcript is easy, but it may take a few days. Read more about Official Transcripts here.

VCU Records and Registration has created a YouTube Video Tutorial to teach students how to request their Official Transcript.