The Oceanside-Carlsbad Junior College organized its first classes in 1934 at a local Oceanside high school. Voters approved the funding of a new campus for a community college in 1960. The junior college changed its name to MiraCosta College (MCC) and moved to its current hillside, suburban location four years later. In the years since its inception, MCC has grown by leaps and bounds. Together with a satellite campus in San Elijo, the school serves the academic needs of thousands of students. With an elevated campus overlooking the town and oceanfront, it’s not surprising that MiraCosta translates as “behold the sea.”
MiraCosta College offers associate’s degrees, certificates and diplomas in over sixty academic disciplines. Students who ultimately want to complete a bachelor’s degree can finish half of their journey at MCC before transferring to a four-year institution. Certificate programs deliver targeted vocational training for students eager to enter the work force. A Community Learning Center in Oceanside provides a host of services to everyone in the community.
The Computer Studies Department is one of the more popular and versatile academic pathways for students at MiraCosta. The department offers seven associate’s degrees and sixteen certificates across the entire discipline of information technology. Preparation for any one of the standard professional certification exams is also available through special courses in the Computer Studies Department.
Like many community colleges, MiraCosta College strives to offer courses and programs that reflect the needs and opportunities within the region. The Horticulture Department fits the bill, as students can pursue degrees and certificates in wine technology, agribusiness and landscaping, to name a few. Students can earn one of five distinct associate’s degrees in addition to certificates of achievement and certificates of proficiency.
Most Popular Fields of Study
High school applicants and those who have never taken college courses should begin by filling out an online application. The application can also be printed and sent through regular mail. Some departments at MiraCosta may have stricter admissions standards than others, but in general the college practices open admissions.
New students take both an English and a mathematics placement test. The tests are conducted at either the San Elijo or Oceanside facility. Both tests are computerized and provide immediate score results. These placement tests help the college determine what general education courses a student may bypass, or if any remedial instruction is necessary.
An online, recorded orientation and advisement seminar prepares students to succeed at MiraCosta College. The orientation session acquaints students with college life, academic terminology and student services. The advisement session guides the student in terms of course selection and long-range planning, depending upon their ultimate goals.
Students with credit earned from another institution can generally transfer those credits to MiraCosta College. Like other applicants, transfer students must fill out the paper or online application. Additionally, transfer students must complete the Course Review for Requisite Purposes form and submit transcripts of prior college work. MCC encourages these students to schedule a meeting with either a counselor or a staff member in the Transfer Center.
The application process for international students begins with filling out an application and attaching a photograph. Applicants already in the United States need to complete a Transfer Clearance Form as a way to prove immigration status. Prospective students must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Original transcripts of high school and college work, translated into English, should be included with the application. International students have fewer avenues for financial aid, so a Certificate of Financial Responsibility is required to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to cover all their expenses. Finally, MiraCosta asks for one or two letters of recommendation and a short (1-2 page) Statement of Purpose essay.
Students who anticipate a need for financial assistance should fill out the appropriate paperwork as soon as possible. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) establishes a student’s eligibility for federal grants and loans. California residents should also complete the Cal Grant application. Both scholarships and grants are considered gift money and never have to be repaid.
Grants and Scholarships
The federal government offers both the Pell Grant and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant to students with demonstrated need. California residents are eligible for the Cal Grant, which takes into account both financial need and academic merit.
The MiraCosta Foundation Scholarship Program provides a centralized point of contact for institutional scholarship opportunities. Students fill out a single application for multiple scholarships, most of which are awarded to high academic achievers. The foundation website also has links to external scholarship opportunities.
Federal Direct Loans are typically a last resort. Yearly loan limits are based on student status. As the name implies, loans must be repaid, plus any accrued interest. Private loans are also available, though discovering these funding sources will be entirely up to the student.
As with most community colleges, MiraCosta College is a commuter campus without student dormitories or housing. Over 15,000 undergraduates attend classes at MCC or online, and these students represent a diverse range of ethnicities and experiences. Half of all students only attend class part-time, and many of these fall into the non-traditional category. Students who plan to complete their bachelor’s degree typically transfer to UC-San Diego or Cal State-San Marcos.
A new, 48,000 square foot library and information center opened its doors on the Oceanside campus in 2003. The facility boasts 400 public computer terminals, a tutoring center, television studio, and a cutting-edge teleconferencing center.
Enrolled students enjoy the benefit of a modern wellness center with cardio equipment, strength training equipment and exercise area. Both the Oceanside and San Elijo campus provide health services for students suffering from illness or mental/emotional issues. Marriage and Family Therapy interns are available at both offices for students dealing with family life difficulties.
Student Enrollment Demographics
MiraCosta College competes in both men’s and women’s basketball and soccer. Each of these teams participate in the Pacific Coast Conference of the California Community College Athletic Association. MCC also has a surf team which competes in the National Scholastic Surfing Association.
Oceanside is a suburban community tucked between coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean, 35 miles north of San Francisco. The MiraCosta College Campus sits on a hillside overlooking the town and the ocean. Weather is near perfect most of the year with abundant sunshine and warmth. In June, heavy fogs often roll in off the ocean. The dry season can bring hot, offshore winds and the danger of wildfires.
Compared to both San Diego and Los Angeles, Oceanside offers affordable living, a greater sense of community and a slower pace of life. MCC and Oceanside have always maintained close ties, with reciprocal programs that enhance both the college’s curriculum and the community’s appreciation for all the college has to offer local residents.
The College Board. MiraCosta College. 2011. Web. 24 July 2011.
MiraCosta College. MiraCosta College. 2011. Web. 24 July 2011.
Petersons Two-Year Colleges 2011. New Jersey: Peterson, 2010. Print.