At the Open University of Sri Lanka, one aspect of academic success is proficiency in English, and the university strives to provide equal opportunities for learning English to all students in all faculties. However although English is considered vital for academic programmes, since the inception of OUSL, no attempt has been made to postulate linguistic profiles of students vis-à-vis proficiency in English. This paper therefore addresses this issue and attempts to establish certain parameters of proficiency in selected student populations. The paper is based on student performance at the Grading Test in English, a test which is administered on entry to all faculties and departments that mandate English as a compulsory requirement. This paper focuses on student competence in English and presents a comparison of the abilities of students in different faculties and academic departments. Our initial survey appears to reveal that there are significant differences in the abilities of students, faculty wise as well as department wise. These findings seem to support a need for further investigation into the social and educational background of students as determinants of academic progress within OUSL.