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Frequently Asked Questions

ESL

Who are my teachers?

The ESL teachers include Arleen Shulman, Rachel Rébert 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 www.tricountyoic.org.   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 for you. 

Will childcare or transportation be available?

We don not provide childcare or transportation.

When and where are the classes?

At this time, all classes are during the day.  Classes are available both online with 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.

Registration

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.

Childcare

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.

Class Schedule

What is the class schedule?

OIC is currently offering video conferencing classes at various times in the morning, afternoon and evening. We are also offering online guided programs for independent study and paper-based learning at home that can be done anytime that fits your schedule. Once OIC opens for in-person classes, that schedule will be available on our website.

GED Testing

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.

Home Study

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. When OIC opens in the future for in-person classes, you can study both in school and at home.

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.

ABOUT US

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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