Strong English language skills are important for any student to be successful at the University of Minnesota. Because we value multilingualism, we are committed to supporting students as they develop their skills throughout their time at the University.

What is an AZ Hold (AZ Service Indicator)?

An AZ hold or English as a Second Language (ESL) hold, is placed on a student’s record by the Office of Admissions when the student’s English proficiency test scores indicate that the student would benefit from a supportive English course when they begin their studies. The hold prevents registration until the student meets with an advisor in the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP).

What if I Have an AZ Hold?

If you have an AZ hold:

  1. Review the email you receive from MELP, which includes instructions about how to set up an online meeting to discuss your AZ hold with an advisor. It is important that you meet with a MELP advisor before your college/program orientation. If you don't, the AZ hold will prevent your registration
  2. Meet with a MELP advisor to learn which English course you will be required to take during your first semester. The advisor will give you a permission number for the course and temporarily release the AZ hold so you can register for all of your courses.
  3. Register for the required English course and your other academic courses during your college/program orientation.
  4. Pass the required English course with a grade of C- or better. At the end of the semester, when you have passed the course, a MELP advisor will release your AZ hold permanently.

May I Take Another English Proficiency Test to Clear My AZ Hold?

Yes, in addition to registering for the required English course, you also have the option of taking another English proficiency test to meet the exempt requirement. MELP offers the Minnesota Battery Test on campus the week before classes begin. 

Alternatively, students may submit a new English proficiency test score to the Office of Admissions. If you submit an official score that meets the exempt requirements before the semester begins, your AZ hold will be released.


For information about accepted English test scores and how to send your scores to the University of Minnesota, visit Undergraduate Admissions or the Graduate School. For questions about your AZ hold, please contact