Bakersfield College (BC) is one of the oldest junior colleges in California, having been in constant operation since its founding in 1913. Today it is a public community college with a population of over 18,000 students. The main campus extends over 143 acres in the northeast part of Bakersfield, a city of roughly 350,000 people in southern California. There are also two satellite campuses; the Delano center 35 miles north of the city, and the Weill Institute in downtown Bakersfield.
Currently there are 184 distinct certificate programs and associate’s degrees. There is a heavy emphasis on the trades at BC, with several degrees and certificates offered in areas such as woodworking, welding, manufacturing technology, construction technology, and automotive. Bakersfield is also particularly strong in agriculture, business administration, child development, computer studies, food and nutrition, and radiologic technology.
Transferring to a Four Year School
BC has transfer agreements with Vanguard University of Southern California, La Verne University, University of Southern California, Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and National University. Transfer Services has counselors who will sit down with each student individually to assess their transfer options, offer assistance, and make recommendations. Not all courses are transferable, so students planning to transfer to a four-year institution after Bakersfield should take transfer capability into account when choosing their courses. Transferable courses are marked in the catalog.
Alternative Class Formats
The Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning at Bakersfield caters to those people who are 55 years old or older. Classes are not taken for credit and cost very little. Many topics focus on the enjoyment of life in the Bakersfield area, such as “The History of Neon Lights in Bakersfield,” “Geology of Kern County: Earthquakes and Rivers,” and “Exploring California’s Wineries and Vineyards”. Bakersfield also offers several classes online, as well as a number of hybrid classes, for which students spend a limited amount of time meeting in person but take much of the class online.
The career center offers a particularly wide range of services, including career assessment, occupational education, assistance with choosing majors, personalized career counseling, job shadowing, practice interviews, salary guides, and links to job networks. The Assessment Center at Bakersfield administers College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, which allow qualified students to receive college credit for information already learned. They also offer proctored exams for apprenticeships and other off-campus opportunities for BC students.
This campus allows students who are unable to attend a traditional classroom setting to enroll in online learning. The classes follow the on-campus semester schedule, and students are required to have their own computer, internet connection, and an email that is checked frequently.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Programs for Students with Challenges
There are a number of programs at Bakersfield to reach out to students who may have difficult acclimating to college academics. The Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP&S) program is a state-funded initiative to help orient, recruit, and retain college students from California who are economically, socially, and/or educationally disadvantaged. EOP&S offers financial assistance and academic support to qualified students. EOP&S services are geared towards full-time students with risk factors for failure, including being at least one of the following: a first-generation college student, a re-entry student, a student with a disability, a student whose first language is something other than English, an ethnic minority, or a student with a poor educational record.
The Office of Disabled Student Programs and Services strive to make a college education available to anyone who wants it. To this end, they provide counseling, registration assistance, learning disabilities assessment, assistive computer technology, materials in large print, materials in Braille, alternate testing arrangements, and more.
As part of their mission to offer higher education to everyone in their community who desires it, Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) was created. This program provides tutoring, mentorships, workshops and various other forms of assistance to educationally disadvantaged students.
One of the more innovative school/community programs at Bakersfield is the environmental training program, which offers low- and no-cost services to small area businesses such as waste minimization plans, regulatory compliance assistance, and energy assistance plans. This program provides a significant benefit to business while offering experience and a foot in the door to students learning to provide those same services.
Constitutional Test Preparation
Because prospective teachers in California are required to demonstrate their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution in order to receive teaching credentials, the Social Science Division and the College Assessment Center collaborate to offer Constitution test preparation, administration, processing, and certification for their students and other potential teachers.
The admissions process does not exclude anyone who wishes to enroll in the college, with the exception of international students not in possession of an F-1 visa. An online admission application is available on the school’s website. In addition to holding an appropriate visa, international students must achieve a minimum score of 450 on the paper Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Alternatively, students may submit a score of 133 on the computer-based version of the TOEFL or 45 on the internet-based version. It is important to note that because there are no residence halls at Bakersfield, international students must find their own housing.
An array of financial aid options from government sources are available to students. All students in need of aid have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
In addition, the college offers several unique merit- and need-based scholarships. Check the website for more information on the requirements and deadlines. The school also encourages students to check into other scholarships, that are based outside of the school, and to apply for those.
Student Financial Aid Details
Clubs and Organizations
There are many student organizations and clubs, including professional organizations such as the Engineers Club and Future Teachers Club; skill-building clubs such as the student newspaper the Renegade Rip and the Debate Team; cultural clubs such as the Intercultural Student Association and Maize (to promote Latino cultural understanding); agricultural groups such as Agriculture Club and Agriculture Ambassadors; and artistic organizations such as Chamber Singers, Jazz Ensemble, and several other different bands and choirs. The Renegade Rip enjoys a strong reputation among college newspapers, and has won several awards from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC). Not only does Bakersfield have a strong student government of its own, but the college hosts the annual American Student Government Association’s Community College Student Government Training Conference.
There is a bustling schedule of extracurricular events and festivals throughout the year. The alumni association holds a barbeque for the athletic department in the fall and there is a Shakespeare festival, concert series, and guest author readers every October. April brings an annual jazz weekend, a horticultural-themed arts and crafts festival, and a wine and food festival. Various other dinners, dances, and merriment dot the year as well.
One of the jewels of the Bakersfield campus is the William M. Thomas Planetarium. With a Chronos star projector and a SciDome all-dome video system, the planetarium is well-equipped to put on educational and enjoyable programming every day of the week for students, elementary to high school students in the district, and the general community.
The Renegade Room is a public restaurant operated on a regular basis and for select special meals by students in the Foods and Nutrition department. For the price of a fast food meal, students can enjoy meals comprised of dishes such as braised lamb shanks, veal saltimbocca, duck spinach salad, and grilled Moroccan salmon.
The college offers child care as a student service through the Child Development Centers (CDC). The CDC is licensed and staffed with trained and accredited early childhood education professionals. Services are available for children from age 6 months to 5 years. Children of currently enrolled students are given priority enrollment. There are three branches of the CDC: the Bakersfield College Child Development Center on Panorama Drive in Bakersfield; the Delano Campus Child Development Center in Delano; and the Loma Linda State Preschool on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Bakersfield. The first two centers are both open from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, while Loma Linda is open from 8-11 am and then noon-3 pm.
Student Enrollment Demographics
The “Renegades” offer sporting opportunities to all interested students. Athletics are divided by semesters: Fall sports include men’s basketball, women’s basketball, cheer team, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, women’s golf, football, soccer, volleyball, and wrestling. Spring sports include baseball, cheer team, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s golf, softball, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s track and field, women’s track and field, men’s swimming, and women’s swimming. The Renegades compete in the Western State Conference.
A number of football players in the NFL attended BC, including Vern Burke, Joe Blake, Joe Hernandez, Colby Lewis, George Jones, Brandon Banks, Rocky Rasley, Taj Smith, Jeremy Staat, Mike Waufle, Dick Witcher, and Spain Musgrove. Other notable alumni include Wyoming politician Gordon L. Park, actor Guy Madison, county supervisor Michael J. Rubio, former California State Senator Walter W. Stiern, and Delbert E. Wong, the first Chinese-American judge to take the bench in the mainland U.S.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.