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Frequently Asked Questions


Why do we need to take tests before we can start classes?

The pretests that you take before you start class help us place you in the right class. When you are placed in the right class, you will have a better chance of learning the skills you need to pass the exams. The posttests results are used to measure how much you have learned while in class. OIC is required to give you both a pretest and a posttest.

Why is it better that I enroll in Tri-County OIC programs and services than other nearby community-based organizations?

OIC has a long history of providing quality service to meet the needs of our students. There are many good community-based programs in the Harrisburg area. You should take some time to learn what each program has to offer before you decide which program is best for you. OIC staff will work with you so that you receive the best service here at OIC or at another quality service provider to meet your needs.

How do I decide the best OIC program and/or service to meet my short and long-term goals?

Your OIC counselor will work with you to create an individual learning plan to meet your personal, education, and work goals. The plan will include both short and long term goals that you can use to measure your progress.

Can I return for instructional and supportive services after a long period of absence?

Yes, you can always return to complete your studies. If you have been away from school for a long period of time, you may be asked to complete orientation again.

How long does it take to complete orientation?

Orientation takes about 4 hours to complete. (For English as a Second Language students, orientation takes about 1 ½ hours to complete.) During orientation you will learn about OIC services, take the pretest placement exams, and set up your class schedule. The orientation staff will l answer any questions that you may have about support services and additional training classes.

How do I get started?

Begin by clicking REGISTER. Once you submit your completed registration form, you will be invited to an information session. If you want to move on, you will be invited to an assessment (testing) session to determine your academic levels.

When can I start class?

After you attend an information session and complete a series of assessments (tests), you will able to begin class the following week.

GED Testing

When will I be ready to take a GED/HiSET test?

Your teacher will let you know when you are ready to take the GED or HiSET test. To show that you are prepared to take the test, your teacher will ask you to take and pass a practice test.

If you take a GED or HiSET test at another site do your scores still count?

Yes, your GED/HiSET scores can be used at other GED/HiSET testing sites in Pennsylvania and across the country. The OIC GED/HiSET test examiner can help you locate your scores from another testing site or another state.

Can I use my HiSET and GED in other States?

You can use your HiSET and GED test scores in other states that administer the HiSET or GED test. Every state will recognize your high school equivalency certificate from Pennsylvania.

If I started to take my tests in Pennsylvania, and I didn’t finish, can I finish in another state?

GED test scores can be transferred to other states. HiSET test scores can be transferred only to other states that administer the HiSET exam. Not all 50 states and U.S. territories administer the HiSET examination. You should check online to see if your test scores tranfer to other states. Your OIC counselor can help you.

How much does testing cost?

All the classes are free. There is a cost to take the HiSET or GED test. However, OIC offers an incentive for attending class. Attending 12 hours of instruction and passing a practice HiSET test will earn you a voucher for a free test in that subject.

Class Schedule

Can I get a tutor to help me?

OIC does offer some tutoring assistance. You can check with your teacher to see if you qualify for tutor support.

How soon can I begin classes?

You will be able to start classes within one week after you complete orientation.

Can I change classes if my schedule changes?

Yes, you may change your class schedule to fit your needs. You must talk to your teacher or counselor if you need to change your class schedule.

Do you have classes on the weekend?

Yes, there are GED/HiSET classes offered on Saturdays and Sundays.  ESL classes are not offered on weekends at this time.

What is the class schedule?

The schedule is available at   OIC is currently offering live and video conferencing classes at various times in the morning, afternoon and evening. Live classes follow COVID social distancing protocols.  We offer online guided programs that blend real-time classes with independent study and paper-based learning that can be done at home anytime that fits your schedule.

Books and Supplies

Do you give us books and school supplies when we get to class?

In some classes, books will be given to students.  In other classes, materials will be shared online.  All students are eligible for school supplies once they have completed orientation and have been assigned to class. You can talk to your teacher if you need books or supplies to study at home.

Where do I get Zoom?

You can download ZOOM from this website : You can ask your teacher or email for help.

Support Services

What type of additional support can I expect from the various Tri-County OIC services, as an Adult Learner?

OIC offers these support services: job counseling, testing scholarships, limited transportation support, free textbooks and school supplies, limited free vocational skills training, and financial literacy and digital literacy workshops.


What does OIC stand for?

Opportunities Industrialization Center

What do you do at OIC?

At OIC we help you meet your academic, vocational, family, or work goals. OIC can help you get your high school diploma, learn English as a second language, find a job (or better job), prepare you for college, or teach you a vocational skill.

Home Study

How do I get into remote classes?

When you register for classes online, you can select remote classes. When you complete your orientation be sure to let your teacher know that you are interested in remote classes. OIC staff will help you set up your computer or other device to use at home for remote classes. If you do not have a computer or other device to use for remote classes, we may be able to help you get one to use for remote classes.

Can I study from home/online?

Yes. We are offering several types of instruction that you can do from home. We have classes by video conferencing, online guided programs for independent work, and paper-based learning. You can study both in school and at home.


Who are my ESL teachers?

The ESL teachers are Arleen Shulman, Rachel Rébert, Heather Lee, and Alexis Vang.  Once you are assigned a class, we will give you information on how to contact your teacher directly. 

How do I sign up for classes?

First, you must register online at   Once OIC receives your registration, we will contact you BY E-MAIL.  We will ask you, if possible, to come to OIC to learn more about the school, fill out some forms and take an English test.  The test will make sure we put you in the right class. 

When and where are the classes?

There are day classes and night classes.  Classes are available both online using Zoom and in person.  You may join a Zoom class using a mobile phone or computer.  In-person classes take place either at OIC, 500 Maclay Street or at Pine Street Presbyterian Church, 310 N. Third Street.  We follow COVID-19 rules for cleaning, wearing masks and social distancing.

How much do classes costs?

Classes are free.  Materials are provided.

Why should I join an English as a Second Language class?

Maybe you want to get a job or a better job.  Maybe you want an American high school university certificate.  Maybe you want to understand what is going on in your community or help your children with school.Our classes use listening, speaking, reading and writing practice to help you reach these goals.


Do you provide childcare or transportation?

OIC does not provide childcare assistance. There may be some limited transportation options available. You should ask the school counselor or your teacher for more information.

High School Diploma

What is a high school equivalency diploma (HSD)?

Pennsylvanians who don’t have a high school diploma and are not currently enrolled in a high school can earn a high school equivalency diploma from an adult learning center such as OIC. You must be at least 18 years old (or obtain a waiver from the state that permits you to  test).  If you earn a passing score on all sections of an HSD test, you will receive a diploma. OIC offers preparatory classes for a test called HiSET®, which like the GED® test, but a different brand.

You may take HiSET as a paper test or by computer. It has a different scoring and pricing system than the GED, and has n five tests, rather than GED’s four. In our experience, our students are more successful taking the HiSET.

You will need a current Pennsylvania driver’s license, permit or PennDOT photo identification card.

How long will it take to get my high school equivalency diploma (GED or HiSET)?

There is no single answer. Potential students come to us at all different levels of ability. You may have been in school recently, or maybe you have been out of school for years and lost knowledge and studying skills.  People learn at different speeds and in different ways.  Maybe you learn better by yourself with guidance from teachers, or maybe you learn better in a class with other students. Perhaps you need assistance because English is not your first language.

Because everyone is different, we start with a state-approved assessment of your academic needs, the T.A.B.E test, to target the best ways for you to meet your goals. Most of our students need to start with refresher courses and then move on to the more challenging material. Some students move faster. You can take the time you need.


Tri-County OIC is a community-based, non-profit, Federal, State, local, foundation and supporter funded organization, which is part of a greater nationwide alliance of OIC’s. 


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