Golden West College: Prepares you for university and sets you up for success
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Golden West College: Prepares you for university and sets you up for success

Preparing yourself for university can be hard. You have to make sure you have the right scores, find a course that best suits your career goals and, in the case of international students, be ready to learn and adopt a new culture. Getting in also means competing with thousands of others. And to get into that dream university feels even more impossible still.

If you’re looking for an edge or a way to stand out from the crowd, a stint at Golden West College (GWC) might be for you.

Source: Golden West College

Majoring in biology and graduating from GWC this year, Nancy Duong has always dreamed of studying abroad. Hailing from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, she was drawn to the health sciences as a young child and has always wanted to make a difference in the healthcare industry ever since. “After finishing my high school degree here, I decided to attend a community college because not only did it provide me with a good curriculum of course preparation, but also smaller-sized classrooms that allowed me to efficiently reach out for help from the staff and faculties,” she says.

Duong’s older sister had attended GWC and she’s seen its high turnover of brilliant graduates first-hand. It made full sense for Duong to join their ranks. “I decided to major in Biology as it fulfilled all my prerequisites for transferring,” she adds. “The program also allowed me to develop both academic and laboratory skills for my future education and professional development.”

Duong’s favourite classes were the Organic Chemistry series. “To me, GWC educators are one of the nicest and most understanding faculties I have received an education from,” she explains. “Among them, I deeply appreciate Professor Kay Dutz who taught me the Organic Chemistry series for an entire academic year. I will never forget the days I came to her office hours sharing my thoughts and concerns about not passing the class and she never stopped encouraging me to push through using her personal experiences and offering resources she found.”

But stellar academics are not the only reason students are attracted to GWC. Born and raised in Germany, Maja Overbeck was drawn to the beach, sun and people after a family trip, travelling up and down the west coast of the US, in 2019. She was determined to return. “I found GWC amongst a list of many other colleges, but for some reason, it just stood out to me,” she says. “I searched Huntington Beach on Google and it looked awesome! Everybody is surfing, the weather is super nice all year around and it seemed just like a good place to be.”

Source: Maja Overbeck

Overbeck works at the international student office, helping people feel less overwhelmed by their new surroundings. “Also, my supervisors in the International Office have helped and supported me so much during my time here,” she explains. “They have given me so much confidence in my position as a student assistant and in my time as a student here in general. They always have an open ear for everybody and they try their best to help me out, whatever it might be.”

Calling Huntington Beach her second home, Overbeck has been able to attend some exciting events like the US Open of Surfing. She has also formed strong friendships, creating unforgettable memories. “My first two semesters I lived in an apartment with five other girls from Germany and Sweden and it was the best time,” she says. “We made so many amazing memories together, from going to Arizona and visiting the Grand Canyon to flying to San Francisco and multiple road trips to San Diego. We had sleepovers, movie nights, beach days, went out to parties and just had an amazing time together. My personal highlight was our 10-day Trip to Oahu, Hawaii in December of 2021.”

Maja Overbeck and her room mates visiting the Grand Canyon Source: Maja Overbeck

For both Duong and Overbeck, studying at GWC has led to exciting opportunities. “I will be starting my six-month Internship at Porsche-MHP Germany in Stuttgart this July and I’m so excited,” says Overbeck. “I think studying in the US and being able to attend the classes I did helped me a lot in my application process for Porsche. In my interviews, they were really interested in my time here and what projects we did in the International Office. I think studying abroad can make you more attractive for future companies, not only because of your advanced English language skills, but also because of the broader cultural perspectives you gain here.”

Aiming to become a physician assistant in the future, Duong managed to get into UCLA for a degree in biochemistry with the help of GWC. “My admission process to UCLA was blissful thanks to the help of the Transfer Student Center and International Student Program,” she says. “These two programs equipped me with a good foundation for obtaining my prerequisite on time from the wonderful counsellors and career advisors. Apart from academia, ISP also helped me with my Optional Practical Training (OPT) application where I could gain career insights through paid positions and volunteering opportunities.” The OPT refers to a period of temporary employment that allows students on F-1 visas to get real-world work experience related to their field of study.

There is so much Duong has learnt and will carry forward into the next chapter of her life. “Studying at GWC particularly challenged me to push against my traditional study skills and helped me step out of my comfort zone,” she says. “When class materials were somewhat challenging, I figured visiting office hours and forming study groups made them more enjoyable while also strengthening my knowledge. Another skill I picked up was practising active recall by consistently testing myself on taught materials a few days after the lecture to retain understanding.”

The future is bright for both of these women who have worked hard and fully embraced their experience at GWC. It’s a college experience that prepares you for a successful path ahead.

To enroll at Golden West College, click here. Connect with a GWC student ambassador to hear more about their experiences.

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