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Our Program and Curriculum

Established in 1979, the Haggerty English Language Program (HELP) has been an integral part of the SUNY New Paltz Campus, assisting hundreds of students in meeting their academic, professional, and personal learning goals. With a reputation for excellent faculty and creative language teaching, students will receive individual attention while experiencing cultural exchange alongside their studies

Program Options

HELP offers 3 tracks of study: 

  1. Short-term intensive English (4-month semesters)
  2. Summer intensive English (5-week summers)
  3. Pathway: Academic English

For all tracks of study, students take a placement test when they arrive during orientation to determine their level in the program. There are four levels, from beginner to academic preparation, each designed to fit students’ language needs in reading, writing, listening, speaking, and pronunciation.  

Students who are conditionally admitted to academic programs at SUNY New Paltz are also eligible to take courses for credit when in Level 4 Academic Purposes through the Pathway track option. These courses help to prepare students to be successful when they begin their full-time academic studies at SUNY New Paltz. 

HELP also offers pedagogical workshops developed for university or high school EFL professors looking for a short-term summer program in the USA, as well as specially designed short-term ESL, Business, and STEM programs for selected cohorts. You can e-mail for more information about these specialized programs.


Who do we teach?

  1. English Language Learners wishing to study ESL short-term for one or more terms.
  2. Undergraduate and Graduate students who are conditionally admitted to SUNY New Paltz.
  3. Exchange students, visiting students, and visiting scholars.
  4. Transfer Students to and from Community Colleges.
  5. Permanent Residents living in the local New York area.

What is Conditional Admission?

Students applying to undergraduate and most graduate degree programs at SUNY New Paltz may be admitted without proof of English proficiency if they meet all other admissions standards. Upon arrival, theses students will be tested and placed into academic or ESL courses as needed. 

These students will be:

  • issued an I-20 from SUNY New Paltz for the appropriate degree program. That I-20 will indicate that the student is not yet proficient in English and that she or he will be tested for English proficiency upon arrival.
  • eligible to enroll in an academic course if they are placed in our advanced levels and meet the required criteria. 
  • eligible to undertake a full-time program of degree study upon completion of Level 4 Academic Purposes of the Haggerty English Language Program or upon achieving the needed proficiency based on TOEFL or IELTS test scores. (80 ibt TOEFL, 6.5 IELTS). 



HELP courses emphasize practical usage of English and academic preparation. At each of the four levels, four classes are offered:

  • Reading and Writing
  • Listening and Speaking
  • Grammar
  • Special Topics (TOEFL prep, pronunciation, American culture, and others)

Levels of instruction include:
Level 1: Elementary
Level 2: Intermediate
Level 3: Advanced
Level 4: Academic Purposes

Click here to view ESL course offerings and descriptions

Conditionally admitted students in Level 4 Academic Purposes who meet the requirements may enroll in an academic class at SUNY New Paltz while also enrolled in ESL classes. 

Special topic courses vary each semester.


Students in the HELP program have access to the many exceptional facilities on campus, including but not limited to:  

  • Indoor and outdoor sports fields and courts 
  • Swimming pool 
  • A fully equipped athletic center 
  • Theater and on-campus museum 
  • 3-D Printing Laboratory 
  • Health and counseling center 
  • Dining hall (cafeteria) and food courts 
  • Smart-classrooms with modern technology 
  • Newly renovated library 
  • Center for Student Success (writing assistance) 
  • Private study rooms and lounges 
  • Computer laboratories


Support and Advising

Each semester, all students have a one-on-one meeting with a faculty/staff member to get advice and plan their future studies. 

International students also receive advising from New Paltz staff regarding the following:  

  • Immigration, I-20, and travel  
  • Specialized ESL and academic planning 
  • Career Services  
  • CPT and OPT 
  • Orientation 
  • And more 


Cultural Trips and Activities

To help students get the most out of the program, SUNY New Paltz and HELP also offer many opportunities for students to get involved and practice their English skills: 

  • Day trips and overnight trips (New York City, Washington DC, Boston, and more
  • On-campus events and activities  
  • Community Ambassador Program with local families 
  • 130 student clubs and organizations (including the International Student Union) 
  • 35 sports teams (soccer, rugby, basketball, and baseball) 


Conversation Partners

The Conversation Partners program provides each student with the chance to meet weekly with an American student for informal conversation. We pair each interested ESL student with a trained American conversation partner, providing you with extra language practice and a great chance to mix with other university students and make friends.


Community Ambassador Program

The Community Ambassador Program connects international students with local families to welcome them into our community and provide opportunities for cultural exchange.


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