Irvine Valley College (IVC) began as Saddleback College North Campus in 1979, then became an independent institution six years later. The campus is only ten miles away from the beach, a significant inducement to many students who want to maximize their blend of affordable education and play.
Students come here to earn associate degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, business sciences, social sciences, and technologies. Some end up transferring their degree to a four-year institution, while others enter the workforce. Some students come here to learn a particular skill or two for career certification or advancement, and there are still more classes to suit the needs of community members who want to take a class for fun.
The school also recognizes that many of their students have multiple commitments in their lives or other circumstances that require support. Support services on campus include academic counseling, transfer assistance, career counseling, English and math tutoring, subsidized child care, subsidized health care, low-income assistance, and supportive services for disabled students.
Associate degrees are offered in 60 different majors. Areas of study include liberal arts and sciences, social sciences, business sciences, and technologies. Both day and evening classes are available along with some online classes. Incoming students normally take an assessment exam, then attend an orientation session before signing up for their first class schedule. The college has one of the highest transfer rates of its students to four-year colleges of all the community colleges in Orange County. There are transfer agreements with both the California State University and the University of California systems for students in all of their academic divisions. Students can easily transfer to any California State University or University of California campus and be guaranteed to bring all of their credits with them.
The Honors Program is comprised of 20 academically intensive classes. These classes offer enriched coursework, guaranteed priority admission at several transfer institutions (including UC Irvine and UCLA), scholarships for some students, library borrowing privileges at UC Irvine and UCLA, and smaller class sizes. To attain priority admission to transfer institutions, students must finish at least five courses in the Honors Program, receive at least a 3.25 GPA in their Honors classes, and maintain an over GPA of at least 3.25. To apply for the Honors program, incoming students must submit an application with transcripts demonstrating a 3.5 GPA and strong SAT or ACT scores. In addition to the Honors Program, the school also hosts chapters of two honor societies: Alpha Omega Mu Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, an international organization specifically for two-year colleges; and Psi Beta, a national honor society for psychology students.
While many of their degree programs are recognized for excellence, the school has a particularly well-known dance program. The dance curriculum includes classical ballet, modern dance, jazz dance, tap dance, social dance, Middle Eastern dance, African dance, Pilates and dance conditioning, choreography, music for dance, and dance history.
Most Popular Fields of Study
There are two programs offered for non-credit continuing education. The first, the Emeritus Institute, is geared towards critical thinking and creative expression among elders. The Emeritus Institute serves roughly 5,000 students in more than 200 classes a year. Some classes are held on campus while others are held at various sites around Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Tustin, Laguna Beach, and Newport Coast. Class sites include mobile home parks, senior centers, nursing homes, community centers, and high schools. Class subjects are selected in collaboration with faculty and administration.
Community Education is the second continuing education initiative sponsored by the college. The Community Education Department offers classroom and online options for personal and professional growth, while hosting educational and informational videos on the College Television, available on channel 33 on Cox cable.
The Distance Education program is growing rapidly, as more students who are already highly Internet literate enroll in college. Distance Education classes are completely equal to all other college courses.The program is recommended only to students who learn well independently, do not procrastinate, have good reading comprehension skills, can resist distraction, and won’t mind missing the social aspects of attending class in person. Distance Education allows students to learn from home without regional or physical barriers and with reduced time barriers. Some instructors run their classes on a schedule similar to on-campus classes, while others allow students to work independently and at their own pace.
The Blackboard management system is used to organize and implement Distance Education. Each student is added to a Blackboard course and assigned an instructor when he or she registers. Students must then attend an initial orientation session. In addition to Blackboard, some classes use MyMathLab and CourseCompass. Students must purchase a class code from the IVC bookstore to access the coursework in these classes. Many students take a combination of Distance Education classes and traditional, on-campus classes as they work toward their degrees.
These students share library and student support privileges to the same extent as any other student.
Technological help is available through the Technology Services Help Desk.
The college hopes to provide the kind of assistance that will help veterans attain their educational goals. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the Montgomery G.I. benefits they have earned. Also available is a Veteran Affairs Coordinator to encourage and assist veterans and the widows and dependents of deceased veterans in using their education benefits after an active duty discharge. The coordinator helps veterans utilize the California Department of Veterans Affairs college fee waiver program for dependents—this waiver covers enrollment, registration fees, and tuition.
The college has open admissions for anyone who is at least 18 years old (or a high school graduate) and who has passed the State Proficiency test or received a General Education Development (GED) degree. The admissions process is easy, just fill out the online form and submit it. The school will contact you for further information and to complete the enrollment process.
Students here can enjoy the advantages of the California Community College system, which regulates the fee structure at the college. Enrollment costs are for a minimal charge per credit hour for California residents. Out-of-state students are charged a substantial extra fee per credit.
The college disburses over $10 million in financial aid every year, contributing to roughly 25% of the student body. To begin the process, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to see if you qualify for any federal loans or grants. Furthermore, a quarter million is offered in scholarships and students are highly encouraged to seek those out and apply.
Student Financial Aid Details
The school boasts of their nearly two dozen student clubs and organizations, including award-winning Model United Nations, Forensics, and Administration of Justice teams. Student activities include the Business Leaders Society, the Chess Club, the Muslim Student Association, the Green Team Alliance, the Speech and Debate Team, and several more.
Annual traditions include a homecoming basketball game and pep rally; the Halloween Spooktacular, complete with costume contest; and a Multicultural Day with a food festival and live performances.
Student Enrollment Demographics
There are 13 athletic teams, known as the Lasers. Sports include badminton, baseball, basketball, golf, volleyball, tennis, and soccer. Most sports feature a men’s team and a women’s team. Irvine Valley still has a close relationship with its mother institution, Saddleback College. These days the two schools compete for a trophy called The Irons. The men’s soccer team has been the small colleges National Champions twice in recent years. The men’s volleyball team won State and National Championships twice in recent years as well making for good fun on campus.
Accreditation is provided by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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.