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Golden West College

United States


Golden West College (GWC) is a community college based in Huntington Beach. It's part of the Coast Community College District and the California Community College system. It offers students an affordable education through the following academic opportunities:

  • University Transfer Preparation
  • Associate in Arts or Science Degrees
  • Certificate programs

The transfer rate from GWC to California State University is higher than the average in the state and county, and the UC Transfer Admission Guarantee system guarantees eligible students admission to specific UC campuses.

More than 60 major options offer students a wide variety of study paths, covering areas in arts, languages, social sciences, healthcare, and much more. The college is known for its academic excellence, and teaching is enriched by industry-standard learning facilities.

International students benefit from the Center for Global and Cultural Programs where they receive high-quality dedicated support to enhance their studies. Friendly counselors are specialists in international student advising, providing support with all areas of international student life. This includes advice on academic planning, accommodation, and immigration. There are also ESL courses for those who wish to improve their English language proficiency.

There are many opportunities for experiential learning, where students can get involved with leadership and co-curricular activities. Outside of their studies, there are plenty of social experiences to enjoy, such as the many student-run clubs and organizations.

Founded in 1965, GWC's campus is spread over 120 acres of beautiful landscaped grounds, where 13,000 students study. Huntington Beach is in the heart of Southern California, just 30 miles south of Los Angeles.

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What's new

What's new

COVID-19 update

Golden West College is currently teaching classes remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. It's also providing support services online, and is still running admission services. The majority of courses are now held online, with a small number of courses cancelled or suspended.

Students can get in contact with the college if they have important questions and can keep up to date with any changes by consulting the GWC website.

Top U.S. community college eligible for prestigious award

Golden West College was named one of the top 150 community colleges in the U.S. that are eligible for the 2021 Aspen prize. The award recognizes community college excellence by looking at strong and improving student outcomes. Only 15 percent of community colleges were invited to compete for the prize, which shows GWC's commitment to a high-quality education.

Maths and Physical Science Departments

The college continues to invest in improving the mathematical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills of their students regardless of base knowledge and background diversity.

Gold West College's physical science department offers a plethora of courses to meet the requirements for non-science majors. All courses are designed to provide students with rigorous preparation for future course work and most courses including hands-on lab components.

The department integrates online resources and the use of technology to meet the needs of student planning to transfer to four-year colleges or universities.

Stem Center

Gold West College completed a new math/science building in 2019, which contains a STEM center. The center is an open space for students to study independently, in groups, and engage with STEM faculty and staff members. The college provides access to free resource to help students, as well as events, STEM Clubs and research and internship opportunities.

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Teaching quality

Teaching quality

At GWC, students receive quality teaching that is professionally relevant. Classes are small in size so teachers can give personalized attention. The college is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Center for Global and Cultural Programs (CGCP)

The CGCP is the base for all international and global engagement at the college. It leads three programs, namely the International Student Program, Intercultural Programs, and Study Abroad.

Through the International Student Program, students receive high-quality, tailored support during their studies. It's aligned to core professional competencies set out by NAFSA: AIE, to ensure it delivers quality programs and fosters cross-cultural engagement.

As well as academic counseling and personalized advising, students can benefit from the extra support that's part of the program. This includes application assistance, visa guidance, an orientation program, and accommodation advice.

Student support

From the moment they enroll until they complete their studies, Golden West College has a variety of services to support its students. Friendly support staff within a full-service international student center are dedicated to helping students reach their educational goals.

Services include:

  • Specialized academic counseling for international students, where advisors help students explore career options and education plans.
  • Admissions and immigration assistance, where international students can receive help with organising their visas.
  • Orientation events, which help international students settle into student life in the U.S.
  • Learning Resource Center, provides help for those who wish to improve their writing and reading abilities, with free tutoring.

ESL Department

The English as a Second Language Department offers classes at seven different levels. Classes are held in the morning and evening, where students can take a range of different modules to improve their English language abilities.

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Department structure

Department structure

International students can choose from a range of programs that will help them achieve their academic ambitions. The college divisions at GWC are:

  • Arts and Letters
  • Career Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Criminal Justice Training Center
  • Health, Kinesiology, and Athletics
  • Math and Sciences
  • School of Nursing

University Transfer Preparation

Students have the opportunity to gain 60–72 units of college coursework and then transfer to a prestigious university as a third-year student. Students can then complete the last two years and earn a bachelor's degree. There is a UC Transfer Admission Guarantee system, where eligible students have guaranteed admission to a specific UC campus.

Associate in Arts or Science Degrees

Two-year associate's degrees are available to study, either as preparation for transferring to a four-year college or university, or to prepare for employment.


There are a range of different certificates from 12–44 coursework units where students can pursue their chosen academic or occupational field. This includes accounting, business administration, design, automotive technology, and computer science.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

To apply to Golden West College, students must be:

  • High school graduates
  • In the final semester of high school or equivalent, or be aged 18 or older (students under age 18 require legal guardianship).

International students must complete the International Student Application and submit the application fee and a copy of their passport. They will also need to submit an Affidavit of Support to show proof of financial resources. SAT, ACT, AP courses or a minimum GPA are not required.

Students can submit applications throughout the year. The college makes admissions decisions shortly after.

English language requirements

International students will need to prove a good level of English language proficiency. This is so they can make the most of their college instruction. If a student's native language is not English, they can submit proof of proficiency through an English language test. The following minimum scores and tests are accepted:

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

Part-time students

Students who are already at another U.S. institution can attend Golden West College as a part-time student. If they have a valid I-20 from their school, they can submit an F-1 Part-Time International Student application, a letter from a Designated School Official at the school who gives their permission, and a copy of current I-20 form.

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Scholarships & funding

Scholarships & funding

Scholarships are in place to help international students with their living and learning expenses. The International Student Program at the college offers a number of funding opportunities for students, including the Stephanie Dumont Scholarship which awards up to USD 500 to assist newly admitted international students. In order to qualify for this scholarship students must:

  • Make an application to study at Golden West College
  • Have not been previously enrolled at Golden West, Coastline or Orange Coast College
  • Complete an international student application

Funds for the scholarship will be automatically allocated to students once they are enrolled. The college also offers a number of funding opportunities based on academic merit and achievement.

Students are encouraged to visit the college's website for more information on scholarships and requirements.

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Golden West College has a variety of facilities, services and initiatives in place to help students have the best educational experiences possible.

Academic facilities include the library, which consists of numerous materials, books, online resources, and computers. Students can study in the library or make use of the Student Computer Center where there are computers, scanners, and printers.

The Student Center has a cafeteria, lounge area with a HDTV, Wi-Fi and a free-to-use computer cafe. There are many student clubs and organizations to join, which offer great opportunities for students to enhance their academic experience and make friends with others who share the same interests. Clubs cover a range of topics, suiting a wide variety of students.

GWC Student Services Center is based in the heart of campus. The majority of services are located there, including the bursar's office, admissions and records, campus life, financial aid, global and cultural programs, academic and career counseling, and the Transfer Center. It's a central hub for all that students need in order to support their studies.

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Average cost of living in United States

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Los Angeles California 15744 Goldenwest, Street Huntington Beach
Golden West College, part of the California Community College system, was founded in 1965 and is located on 120 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds within the city of Huntington Beach, a coastal community just 30 miles south of Los Angeles and in the heart of breathtaking Southern California.

The college holds maximum accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges with over 500 faculty serving approximately 13,000 students. Small classes, state-of-the-art equipment and superior faculty prepare international students for an Associate in Arts degree, transfer to a university, in addition to a wide variety of short-term vocational (Certificate) options. Golden West College strives to be a lively center of learning where students and faculty share educational experiences in a friendly, challenging and creative environment.

The Student Activities Office provides a variety of opportunities for students to actively participate in campus life. Most international students belong to the International Students Club, which provides an excellent opportunity to make new friends and plan social events such as beach parties, TV tapings, road trips or a simple coffee hour. Students can develop leadership and social skills by joining a club, running for Student Council, or serving on a campus committee.

Art exhibits, films, music, dance, and theater are scheduled throughout the year for the enjoyment and participation of students and the community. Musical opportunities include the Golden West College Choir, Jazz Ensemble and the Symphonic Band which tours internationally every other year. Drama, comedy and musicals are part of the season in the Mainstage Theater, while The Actor?s Playbox, Theater Upstairs, and Patio Theater schedule experimental, traditional, and children?s theater in small intimate settings. The arts at GWC add enrichment to student and community life.
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