Why Study in California?
California is the perfect encapsulation of the ‘American’ experience, popularized by the very TV shows and movies that you’ve seen, filmed in none other than Cali itself. From its bustling cities and picturesque beaches to the universities and companies that build its diverse community, California is every bit the dream destination that you’ve come to know.
As an international student entering the world of higher education, California offers a number of schools, colleges, and universities that are prepared to meet your unique needs.
Featured Top Schools
The schools on our 2022 edition of the Top Schools in California range from colleges to universities, each bringing something different to the table. Ultimately, the school you choose should be based on what you prioritize in your school search.
Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC)
With a reputation of academic excellence since its founding in 1918, Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) is regarded as one of the premier two-year colleges in the United States. SRJC also ranks #1 among large California community colleges for acceptance rates to the prestigious University of California system, with more than 80% of SRJC applicants being accepted to a UC campus.
Fast Facts of Santa Rosa Junior College:
Programs: SRJC offers more than 100 majors and 150 certificate programs that can be added to a major. Popular programs include business, computer studies, engineering, nursing, and wine studies.
Facilities: SRJC houses state-of-the-art classroom facilities and labs; a 148-hectare farm and vineyard that produces award-winning wines; the SRJC Museum, with a collection of over 4,000 artifacts; and a student-run restaurant and bakery.
Transfer opportunities: SRJC international students have successfully transferred to top-ranked universities, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, San Francisco State University, and Cornell University.
- Location: Santa Rosa has been ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the 100 best places to live in the United States. With the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east, and several lakes and rivers nearby, sailing, hiking, water skiing, snow skiing, surfing, rafting, kayaking, and cycling are all easily accessible.
For the past few years, UC Berkeley has been ranked the #1 Global Public university. Offering top-ranked academics taught by renowned faculty and located near San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Berkeley offers the perfect storm for a successful study abroad.
Fast Facts of Berkeley Global:
Programs: Offering unique programs specifically designed for international students, Berkeley Global has created programs with you in mind:
Berkeley Global Access (All Majors)
Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (Business)
Berkeley Global Chemistry Visiting Student Program (computational chemistry or chemical biology)
Berkeley Physics International Education Program
Diversity: 24% (nearly 10,000) of Berkeley Global students come from countries outside of the U.S.
Location: The city of Berkeley is home to 121,000 residents, features more than 350 restaurants, and has numerous trails and walking tours. Only an easy drive away from San Francisco or Silicon Valley, you’re in the perfect spot to experience everything California has to offer.
Student services: You will have an entire office dedicated to supporting you. Take advantage of pre-arrival webinars, one-site academic, health insurance, visa advising, cross-cultural training, resume and interview workshops, and more
Los Angeles City College (LACC)
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, students at Los Angeles City College (LACC) come from every corner of the world and reflect Los Angeles’ multicultural community. LACC is one of the most established community colleges in California.
Fast Facts of LACC:
Programs: LACC offers a variety of classes and programs allowing students to earn an associate degree and certificate and/or university transfer opportunities. LACC helps students transfer to competitive universities as juniors, enter high-paying jobs, and advance in their careers.
Location: LACC is located in Hollywood, just five miles from Downtown Los Angeles. LACC is a premier location and offers access to the Pacific Ocean and the San Gabriel Mountains are only an hour away.
Facilities: The college facilities include TV and film studios, a performing arts theatre, music hall, and more than a dozen multi-story classroom buildings, including a library, and gyms.
Housing: The surrounding area boasts numerous housing opportunities such as POD shares, apartments, and room rentals. LACC is also accessible through public transportation by bus or the Red Line Metro system.
- Activities: Participate in one of the many clubs and student organizations on campus, experience concerts, ballets, plays, musicals, museums, sporting events, and so much more as you explore everything Los Angeles has to offer.
Irvine Valley College
Irvine Valley College is a fully accredited, public, two-year community college within California. It is a comprehensive community college with approximately 15,000 students and over 830 international students from 50 different countries. You can immerse yourself in the cultures of the world at Irvine Valley College.
Fast Facts of Irvine Valley College:
Programs: Irvine Valley College offers more than 70 associate degree majors and 60 certificate programs in a variety of subjects in the arts and sciences.
Transfer opportunities: Irvine Valley College ranks #1 for university transfer in the state of California! Students transfer to the University of California system including Berkeley, UCLA, and Irvine; California State Universities including Fullerton, Long Beach, and San Diego, and private schools such as USC, and more!
Location: In Orange County, Irvine is a multicultural city that is home to more than 100 national and international company headquarters. Located between LA and San Diego, you’ll be close to world-renowned shopping, museums, universities, beaches, and amusement parks.
- Easy application: Irvine Valley College admits international students in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Tuition rates at Irvine Valley College are low compared to the UC or CSU systems, offering international students a great way to save money while pursuing a university degree!
Golden West College
Located in the coastal community of Huntington Beach in Southern California, Golden West College (GWC) is a medium-size, two-year, public college serving over 10,000 students. GWC offers excellent academic and career-focused programs in STEM, business, arts, and many more.
Fast Facts of Golden West College:
Programs: GWC offers various degree options including AA Degrees, AS Degrees, An Outstanding University Transfer Program, and Short-Term Certificates in over 35 career programs including: Accounting, Automotive Technology, Business Administration, Cosmetology, Computer Science, Design, Digital Media, and many more.
Pathway to success: Save money on the first two years of your bachelor’s degree as you prepare to transfer to top schools such as UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, CSU Long Beach, CSU Dominguez Hills, and more.
Clear requirements: Admission requirements include proof of English proficiency, proof of sufficient funds, high school graduation OR you must be at least 18 years old.
Student life: Huntington Beach is consistently ranked among the safest cities in the U.S., and is only 5 miles from the Huntington Beach shoreline and 11 miles from Disneyland!
City College of San Francisco
City College of San Francisco is set in historic, beautiful San Francisco. More than 1,000 students representing over 90 countries attend the college as full-time students and more than 150 students per semester attend the intensive English program. City College reflects the diversity and culture of San Francisco at its best.
Fast Facts of City College of San Francisco:
Programs: Programs are designed to qualify students for entry employment in fields such as Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, Diagnostic Medical Imaging, Graphic Communications, Film Production, Broadcasting, and Child Development.
Student services: Personalized international academic counseling is available to assist international students with educational planning and course selection. Students can also utilize the Transfer Center and Learning Assistance Centers to assist them in their academic endeavors.
Accommodations: Homestay is available for students, giving them the opportunity to live with families who provide a furnished single room with two meals per day. There are also residence clubs, an on-campus cafeteria, public transportation, and many apartments for you to choose from.
Intensive English: Students who haven’t yet achieved the necessary English placement test scores for admissions or students who want a language and cultural experience are all welcome to the Intensive English Program. In just 20 hours per week, students will be prepared to become effective, confident speakers of English.
Schools and universities are constantly updating their academic offerings. Although we’ve selected these schools for our 2022 edition, that’s not to say that there aren’t other schools that may be a better fit for your academic goals. We wish you the best of luck in your school search, and ask that you stay tuned for future entries into our ‘Top Schools’ series as we explore the top schools in states across the country.
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