Not long ago, Ngoc “Nicole” La was working in a stockroom at a Californian manufacturing company. Today, as a research assistant at one of the US’s most elite universities, she has come a long way since.
The catalyst behind this successful journey? Golden West College.
In just a few years, Nicole went from an Associate in Science degree student at this community college to landing one prestigious internship after another to where she is today. As a student in the College’s Spring 2016 intake, Nicole received more than just the technical know-how of her majors: She developed a full suite of personal and professional skills for her future.
At Golden West College, she was taught by professors who inspired her. To expand her skills, she became an academic tutor and later, a teaching assistant at the College’s library. Soon, the offer letters to her applications for internships at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Stanford University came in. She got into both.
By 2018, she’s been accepted into the Bachelor of Science programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This trajectory is typical of a Golden West College student, thanks to the education and experience students receive here.
Offering majors and programmes that lead to an Associate Degree or Certificate, these are innovative and learning-centred programmes where students can truly thrive. In all subjects, from Automotive Technology to Computer Science to the Liberal Arts, these are taught by faculty members who are invested in their students’ progress.
A broad range of opportunities for involvement, service, and leadership in co-curricular activities for personal development are available too.
The Writing and Reading centre provides a space where students can improve their English language proficiency. Here, they can enrol in short courses that focus on understanding college-level texts, writing essays and research papers and improving their vocabulary and grammar skills. All courses are taught by personal tutors with experience and by an active English faculty.
It is the College’s close-knit community that allows students to thrive personally and academically. There’s no getting lost in a sea of students here. Instead, students get to form close connections with friends, faculty and staff.
Cam Greer found this out soon enough once she joined the College after graduating from San Juan Hills High School in 2016.
“Everyone here is really committed to helping students and I felt that [in an] environment like this, you can really thrive. The staff here [and] the coaches here, they are so committed to facilitating success, great character and great opportunities for all the students,” Cam said.
The second-year political science major is another student who has come far since enrolling in the College in Fall 2017. Cam is headed to a top public university in California to represent its water polo team, a feat that wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the support system she had here.
“I’m so beyond excited. I couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing staff and coaches here. I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help and support for facilitating an incredible dream that I’ve had since I was seven years old,” she said.
Nicole and Cam’s successes underscore the winning formula the College employs to leave a positive impact on its students. In addition to a helpful faculty and supportive community, the College ensures students are able to hit the perfect balance between study and leisure.
That isn’t very hard at a campus voted one of the most beautiful in Southern California and at a location famed for its “California Experience”. Enjoying plenty of sunshine and natural surroundings, students can surf, skateboard or walk by the beach. After all, it is the only college in Huntington Beach – known as “Surf City USA”, host of the World Championship surfing contests.
On these 10 miles of uninterrupted coastline, there are plenty to enjoy and experience. From an ecological reserve to a Vans Skate Park, an International Surfing Museum, and a beach dedicated to dogs, it’s the perfect setting to let those studying stress melt away.
Top that off with a diverse and welcoming local community, arguably the finest the US has to offer, there should be no concerns about safety or fitting in. The College is home to over 300 international students from 36 countries as well as over 150 students from 35 US states. The state of California has been ranked as the most diverse state in the US, not just racially and ethnically, but also in terms of diversity in politics, economics and religion.
From a close-knit campus to inspiring professors to an unbeatable location, studying at Golden West College will be one experience to remember.