Guided Self-Placement

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Guided Self-Placement

West Valley College students are required to complete the Guided-Self Placement. This tool will help determine which math and/or English class might be appropriate, if you choose to take one. This one-time requirement will take only a few minutes to complete.

Begin Guided Self-Placement

California Law, Assembly Bill 705, enables all students to have the right to take transfer level English, ESL and most Math classes right away, which reduces the time and money you’ll spend to achieve your goals. With this in mind, we would like to provide you with course information so that you can make the best choices for your academic needs.

Disability and Educational Support Program (DESP) for students: if you have a verifiable disability, you may request accommodations for assessment. Contact the DESP Office at (408) 741-2010 or TTY / DESP (408) 741-2658.

ESL (English As A Second Language) Placement

Students who want to enroll in ESL courses MUST complete the ESL Guided Placement process before registering for any ESLW (credit) or NCEL (noncredit) course.

Difference between Credit ESLW or Noncredit NCEL

ESLW | Credit NCEL | Noncredit
  • Earn units
  • Pay fees
  • For degree-seeking students
  • Earn letter grades
  • Financial Aid recipients
  • EOPS students
  • No units
  • Free
  • Take for pass/no pass
  • May earn a certificate
  • Repeatable

Students with a goal of a degree or transfer who are seeking further ESL instruction have a right to access academic ESL courses.

ESL students are required to have access to a computer in order to complete assignments and take the placement assessment. If you don’t own a computer and can’t afford one, some loaner computers may be available – please email [email protected] before the semester begins.

Process to Take ESL Classes at West Valley

Within a few days, look for your West Valley Student ID number and WVM username/email in an email from the college. If you do not receive your ID number, email [email protected]

The placement process will take about 10 minutes. It is not a test. You are the best judge of what you can and cannot accomplish in English. You need to think about what you can do now in English in your reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Then you will choose the appropriate level for your skills in the ESL program.

To access the guided ESL placement, you need to sign into the Portal. Find your username and password.

For more assistance after your ESL self-placement, visit the ESL homepage or the Welcome Center.

Register for credit (ESLW) or noncredit (NCEL) classes.

Please note: If the class you want is full, you should add your name to the waitlist. When enough students are on the wait list, the college may open a new class section.

Wait Waitlist for a Course video.

Pay tuition fees for credit classes.

Buy books online.

Choose classes that fit your schedule – take one or both classes (LS and RW) at each level.

Attend an optional ESL information session on Tuesday, August 20 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM in SSC 105A.
Attend the first day of class starting on Saturday, August 24.


General Academic

General Lifeskills/Civics

Frequently Asked Questions

ESL may not be repeated. Please attend the class you were placed into and review the course content with your instructor before challenging.


A prerequisite is a course or skill which is required before you can enroll in a particular course. West Valley College has prerequisites that must be met before taking certain classes. For example, CHEM 1A with a grade of C or better is required before you can take CHEM 1B. Please review the course sequence and for your chosen major and/or a course description for a desired course to determine if there are prerequisites required.

Begin Prerequisite Clearance Form


Prerequisites can be met by different criteria, depending on each student’s history. See the examples below:

High School Transcripts can be used to fulfill prerequisites for a limited list of classes. The most common examples include:

  • Fulfilling the chemistry requirement (CHEM 002) to take General Chemistry (CHEM 001A)
  • Fulfilling the pre-calculus and/or trigonometry requirement to take Calculus (MATH 003A)

Students with AP test results can submit score reports in the prerequisite clearance form. The most commonly used AP test results for prerequisite clearance are:

  • A score of 3 or higher in English Literature AP or English Language AP to fulfill requirements for ENGL 001A.
  • A score of 3 or higher in Calculus AB to fulfill requirements for MATH 003A.
  • A score of 3 or higher in Calculus BC to fulfill requirements for MATH 003A.
  • A score of 4 or higher in Calculus BC to fulfill requirements for MATH 003B.

NOTE: Submitting the AP scores here is for placement, not credit. If you plan to attend West Valley College full time and want the scores to count toward credit, you will need to submit official College Board test scores to West Valley College. In addition, you will want to meet with a counselor to discuss how the colleges you want to transfer to may accept your scores.

If you have completed the AP exam and not yet received your AP scores, you can use your high school transcript showing a final grade of a C or higher to meet the pre-requisites for classes, such as English 1B, Math 003B (Calculus and Analytical Geometry) and MATH 004A (Intermediate Calculus).

NOTE: If you do not receive a score of 3 or higher on the AP exams, you will need to drop the course you registered for.

Students who have completed prerequisite coursework at another college can submit an unofficial transcript to clear the prerequisite.

NOTE: Submitting the college transcript here is for placement, not for credit. If you are in enrolled in (or have completed) 12 units, you can follow the steps outlined in the Transfer Evaluation process.


If you believe you meet the prerequisite for a course but do now have the required course, you have the right to challenge the prerequisite.

Begin Challenge Form

Challenge Form Instructions

If you have completed the prerequisite at another institution, do not use this form. Please scan and email the your form and transcript to WV Assessment. In the subject line of the email, be sure to include your name, WVC ID number and if it is a Challenge or Prerequisite form.

  1. Fill in all required fields
  2. Include documentation.
  3. Documentation may include any of the following:
  4. Screenshot of all relevant transcripts - Review Committee will not have access to your West Valley records.
  5. Recommendation letter from instructor
  6. Valid file types includepdf, jpg, png, and tiff
  7. Complete the Personal Statement explaining why you believe your challenge should be approved
  8. Your request will be evaluated by a challenge review committee and a written response will be available within five (5) instructional days. Response will be emailed to the address you provide
  9. Decisions by the Challenge Review Committee are final
  10. Upon approval of the challenge, you will be eligible to enroll in the class requested IF SPACE IS AVAILABLE.
  11. If no space is available at the time the challenge is approved, the challenge will be resolved prior to the beginning of registration for the next term. If the challenge is upheld, you shall be permitted to enroll if space is available when you register for the subsequent term.(Title 5, Section 55201)
  13. Some of the grounds for challenge REQUIRE that you support your challenge with documentation. Failure to attach this information will result in a disapproved challenge. You may also be requested to provide specific information to the challenge review committee. See below for additional information about supporting documentation.
  14. Criterion #5: Some courses are limited to students who must (1) try out or audition in order to be accepted into the course (ex: athletics or performance courses); (2) meet specific criteria, such as Honors.

Math Challenges

Students who are challenging a math prerequisite under option #4 must provide DOCUMENTATION indicating that they have acquired the prerequisite math skills for the course in which they are attempting to enroll. This documentation might include transcripts, copies of old exams, homework, etc., or a statement from a previous instructor attesting to the student's math skills. A written statement by the student or the current instructor will not be considered sufficient evidence alone to approve the challenge.

Philosophy Challenges

Possible consequences for challenging the prerequisite for Philosophy 3 or 17:

  1. IGETC requires the English 1A prerequisite. This means a CSU or UC can refuse to accept the class for transfer if you don't have the prerequisite. If you are not interested in transfer, or you are planning to attend a school other than CSU or UC, or you are not following the IGETC pattern, the lack of English 1A may not be an issue.
  2. Philosophy 3 and 17 presuppose that you already have the skills taught in English 1A. They assume that you can write an argumentative essay or research paper in Standard English. If you do not have these skills or if you cannot read and write fluently in English, you are not likely to succeed in Philosophy 3 or 17.

This challenge process is based on Title 5 regulations pertaining to prerequisites, co-requisites, and other limitations on enrollment. A copy of these regulations is located in the Office of Instruction and is available upon request. The regulations themselves are not sufficient to meet the requirement for supporting documentation. To support your challenge, where required, the following kinds of documentation are examples of what may be submitted. Additional information may be requested by the challenge review committee.

  • Copy of pertinent section(s) of the college catalog
  • Copy of pertinent section(s) of the schedule of classes
  • Copy of the course outline (available from the appropriate division office or the Office of Instruction)
  • Copy of the course syllabus (available from the appropriate division office or the Office of Instruction)
  • Copy of high school and/or college transcript
  • Documentation of work or other related experience
  • Doctor's statement
  • Personal written statement

In some cases it is advised to have the form preapproved by meeting with the Department Chair.
If this is the case, then documentation may not be required. Please mention that you have already met with the department chair in your personal statement.


A corequisite is a required course that you must take in the same semester as another course. For example, BIOL 010: Introduction to Biology has a co-requisite of BIOL 010L: Introduction to Biology Lab.

If a course has a co-requisite, you must register for BOTH classes at the same time within the portal. For example, you would need to register for both BIOL 010 and BIOL 010L at the same time.

NOTE: Some students complete a challenge or indicate a prerequisite to register for classes.

Last Updated 7/2/24