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Golden West College

United States


Based across over 120 acres of beautiful campus, Golden West College (GWC) is an open-access institution that offers academic quality and innovation.

Founded in 1965, its Southern Californian campus is in the beautiful coastal community of Huntington Beach, just 30 miles away from Los Angeles. Home to over 13,000 students, GWC is part of the multi-campus Coast Community College District, as well as the California community college system.

Enhancing student's career prospects and preparing them for transfers to four-year institutions, the college offers over 60 major options across several disciplines. This includes accounting anthropology art automotive technology biology business administration liberal arts mathematics and more.

It provides several options for students to pursue their academic goals, including university transfer preparation, associates in arts and science degrees, as well as career-focused certificate programs.

GWC is known for its academic excellence, and students are taught in industry-standard learning facilities. Outside of the classroom, students can enhance their leadership skills and participate in experiential learning through extra-curricular activities, including taking part in student-run clubs and societies.

From their first week on campus, international students are given specialist support from GWC'S Center for Global and Cultural Programs. Staffed by professionally trained counsellors, students can receive advice on many aspects of college life, including academic planning, accommodation, and immigration.

In addition to this, the UC Transfer Admission Guarantee program and the CSU Associates for Transfer degrees guarantee eligible students' admission to specific UC and CSU campuses. The combined transfer rate from GWC to California State University or University of California campus is among the top 10 percent of California community colleges.

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What's new

What's new

Covid-19 update

Due to Covid-19, most classes are currently being taught remotely and online. Golden West College is considered a hybrid campus and will be offering both online classes as well as some in-person classes for the Fall 2021 semester. Support services are also available online, so students can still contact the college with any questions.

Award nomination

Golden West College was recently named amongst the top 150 U.S. community colleges eligible for the 2021 Aspen prize. Recognizing educational excellence through analyzing student outcomes, only 15 percent of community colleges were eligible to be nominated.

New Stem Center

The college recently completed its new mathematics and science building. Housing a modern STEM center, students have free access to a range of resources, events, STEM clubs, as well as research and internship opportunities. It is also an open space where students can work independently or collaboratively, as well as seeking advice from faculty.

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Department structure

Department structure

Golden West College is split into seven divisions. These are:

  • Arts and letters
  • Career education
  • Criminal justice training center
  • Health, kinesiology, and athletics
  • Math and sciences
  • School of nursing
  • Social sciences

Offering over 60 major options across several disciplines, the college offers three types of majors and programs. These are:

  • Associate degrees
  • Certificates
  • University transfer preparation

GWC's courses align with general education requirements, and its transferable programs comply with lower-division requirements for several majors.

On a university transfer preparation program, students achieve between 60 and 72 units of coursework. This allows them to transfer to a university as a third-year student and earn an undergraduate degree. The UC transfer admission guarantee system means eligible students are guaranteed admission to a specific campus.

The college's associate degrees specialize in the areas of arts and science. The degrees can either be studied as a preparation program before transferring to a four-year institution or for career development purposes.

Students can also choose from a range of certificates, worth between 12 and 44 coursework units. Whether students wish to study for academic or occupational purposes, areas of study include accounting automotive technology business administration design and computer science.

The college also hosts an English as a second language department. Providing classes across seven different levels, it's designed to help students improve their English language skills alongside their general education courses.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

An open-access institution, to be considered for a place at Golden West College, applicants need to be high school graduates, or in the final semester of high school (or equivalent). If applicants are under the age of 18, they will also require permission from their legal guardian.

International applicants need to submit:

If an applicant's native language isn't English, they will also need to submit proof of English language proficiency. The college accepts TOEFL and IELTS English language tests and the following minimum scores:

  • TOEFL iBT – 61
  • TOEFL PBT – 500
  • IELTS – 5.5

If international applicants are already studying at a U.S. institution, they can attend GWC as a part-time student. Part-time applicants need to submit an F-1 part-time international student application, a letter from a designated official at their current school, and a copy of their I-20 form.

All college applications can be submitted throughout the year, and international students don't require SAT, ACT, AP or GPA scores to be considered.

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Scholarships & funding

Scholarships & funding

International students can apply for a range of scholarships and funding opportunities through Golden West College and its international student program. Awarded based on academic achievements and merit, all applications will automatically be considered for general scholarships.

Some scholarships will require additional information including transcripts and essay submissions. All details of funding and criteria are on the college's website. Scholarships available for international students include:

GWC Foundation Scholarship for International Students

A new scholarship for 2021, it awards USD 500 to a new international student. To apply for this scholarship, students need to submit a video essay of no more than two minutes along with their scholarship application.

Applicants need to be enrolled as a new international student at GWC for a minimum of 12 units, and not previously studied at Coastline, Golden West or Orange Coast colleges.

The college also lists scholarships from external organizations and private agencies.

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Student support

Student support

Throughout their time at Golden West, international students receive high-quality, dedicated support from the Center for Global and Cultural Programs. Led by friendly counselors who specialize in providing advice to international students, they support across a range of areas. This includes advising on academic planning, accommodation, as well as immigration and visa issues.

Additional support on-campus can be found at the GWC Student Services Center. A central hub for support resources, students can find the following services there:

  • Academic and career counseling
  • Admissions and records
  • Bursar's office
  • Campus life support
  • Global and cultural programs
  • Transfer Center

Career's advice is located in the Career Center, a free service that focuses on enhancing career development. Its trained staff help students explore their options and find them the necessary resources to achieve their goals.

Accessibility support is provided by the disabled students programs and services. The dedicated team ensures all students with disabilities have equal access to education and can participate fully in all programs and activities.

Students will also find peer and staff support through joining clubs and organizations. There is a range of topics and interests covered by the clubs, where students can make friends who share similar interests.

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Student safety

Student safety

The college's Public Safety Department ensures the campus is safe and secure, 24 hours a day, throughout the year.

Campus safety officers are trained to help students in safety and security procedures, including first aid and CPR. The team's safety services include:

  • Crime prevention
  • Crisis alert system
  • Emergency responses
  • Lost and found
  • Room lock-out assistance
  • Safety escorts
  • Safety tips and advice
  • Suspicious activity reporting
  • Vehicle jump-starts
  • Training videos

The safety department can also provide information and guidance about what students should do in an emergency.

The college also has a Crisis Alert Team, who respond to all campus incidents which involve personal and/or sexual assaults. If these incidents occur, the team decide on the most appropriate action and who to notify.

Located on Huntington Beach, the city is also rated as one of the top ten safest cities (City Crime Ratings). Students become part of the diverse, welcoming, and multicultural environment, while always feeling safe.

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Average cost of living in United States

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Holi Festival
Surf city
Digital Art
Student Services Center
Math & Science Building
Dance performance
Chinese Lunar New Year
Surf city

Total average cost: $1767

  • $816
  • $677
  • $98
    Daily life
  • $176
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To find out more about the information shown here – read about How we collect and display course information. IDP assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. We always recommend that you speak to an IDP counsellor to get the latest and most accurate advice.

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