If you are looking to go to a community college in the Los Angeles area, there are a few factors that will make selecting the right school easier. First, consider your educational goals. What is it that you want to study? Some community colleges specialize in certain programs and have a “fast track” option into a four-year institution. Some community colleges lean towards vocational programs that may be more towards your interest. The right college for you is the one that will meet your needs.
If your end goal is to transfer to a four-year institution in California or out of the state, the most important thing you can do is research what the college’s graduation and transfer rate is like. Ultimately a school with a high transfer rate is your best bet.
In the end the biggest factor in determining the likelihood in transferring to a four-year school is your own effort. The right college can give you an edge in admissions, but that means nothing without work on your part. Personal effort will determine your admission success. A combination of the right school for you, good grades, and diligence enables opportunities for success in the future.
That being said, five of the best community colleges in the Los Angeles community college district based on their graduation and transfer rates are listed below. Bear in mind that these figures are based on the student population as a whole—all programs, vocational students, and continuing education students included.
No discussion of community colleges in Los Angeles would be complete without Los Angeles Pierce College. Widely recognized as one of the top transfer schools in the county, more than one third of Pierce College students (36%) successfully transfer to a four-year institution. In fact Pierce College is so known for transferring that among their mottos is the phrase “Pierce is Transfer. Transfer is Pierce,” as well as “Keep calm and transfer on.” This success is largely due to cooperative alliances with most of the universities in the state and beyond. With a fully dedicated Transfer Center with tailor-made workshops on how to get into specific schools in California, Los Angeles Pierce College is a college geared towards helping you get to a four-year school.
East Los Angeles College’s reputation as a diverse school that services fourteen communities in the Los Angeles area acts as a draw for many prospective and international students. Located in Monterey Park, California, this school is strategically located ten miles east of downtown Los Angeles, and is close to a number of popular four-year schools. ELAC takes great pride in being a place where students can get a head start on their educations by helping them prepare for admission into four-year institutions. Because of this dedication, ELAC boasts one of the highest transfer rates of community colleges in Los Angeles with a rate of 34.6%. Among the largest community colleges in the area, ELAC shows its commitment to the community in its occupational programs designed to help Californians find employment through vocational training and the CalWorks system.
West Los Angeles College is the “campus in the hills.” Overlooking West Los Angeles, WLAC is a bustling campus of almost 12,000 students. Don’t let that size fool you though, the college manages to provide a small college feel in the big city. WLAC offers a wide variety of associate degrees, transfer degrees, certificates and programs. In fact more than 60 percent of associate degree graduates transfer to four-year institutions. On a whole, 31.3% of WLAC students transfer to new schools. WLAC prides itself in being an affordable solution to rising costs in education. Costing approximately $700 in tuition per year for California residents, students of WLAC have an opportunity to gain learning without emptying out their bank accounts.
Los Angeles Harbor College services those that live south of Los Angeles. Located in Wilmington, California, this community college focuses in vocational programs, continuing education, and transfer programs for students of prospective four-year schools. In order to better serve their students, LAHC has spent many years cultivating good relationships with schools like UCLA, UCI, UC Berkeley, Azusa Pacific University, Pomona College and more. To this end, LAHC offers an honors program that grants priority admissions to specific programs like UCLA’s School of Letters and Sciences. Designed to push students harder in their coursework and excel, the honors program is an inexpensive way to receive quality education and transfer to a four-year school.
Located near the stars and glitz of Hollywood, Los Angeles City College features prominent alumni that have made their names as Nobel Prize winners, judges, architects, and Academy Award winners. 30.1% of all LACC students transfer to four-year programs thanks in large part to LACC’s scholars program. The unique Ralph Bunche Scholars Program gives students an edge in transferring to four-year institutions. Students in the program are exposed to the intensity of university level classwork, while experiencing the intimacy of smaller class sizes. Because of the excellence of education offered by the program, students that successfully complete the program requirements have a high priority in admissions to many universities in California and across the country. LACC has had success placing students in top universities like Columbia University, Ivy University of Pennsylvania, University of California Los Angeles, Irvine, San Diego, University of Southern California, and the Claremont Colleges. In addition to this great program, LACC features a dedicated University Transfer Center designed to help students learn about the admissions process into four-year schools, and aid them in their application process.
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