West Valley College was founded in 1966. It is a public community college located in Saratoga, CA, only 50 miles from San Francisco. This community college offers a wide range of degrees including associate and certificate degrees in a range of subjects that directly reflects the needs of the community. West Valley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
West Valley College is comprised of 143 acres just west of the famous Silicon Valley. College life here is dynamic and a reflection of the technology boom of the area. The college also has satellite campuses including the Campbell Educational Development Center and Leigh High School.
Like many schools, courses are offered online through distance learning to serve the diverse needs of a non-traditional student body composed of full-time parents, full-time employees, and individuals seeking to improve their marketability in the workplace.
West Valley offers more than 50 associate degree programs and close to 100 certificate programs. With a student population of more than 12,000, it offers degree programs that ultimately are ideal for individuals looking to transfer, fortify their workforce skills, or acquire new skills. The college offers accounting, biology, economics, digital media design, sociology and theater for example as possible majors.
Courses in the Department of Applied Arts and Sciences includes coursework in engineering, child studies, and paralegal studies. Under the Career Programs Department students can choose to study anything from web development and animation to historic preservation and park management.
The Physical Education Department offers courses in physicial education as well as the athletics program. The Fine Arts Department houses music and philosophy. The Science and Mathematics Department offers general transferable degrees such as biology and chemistry, hence students potentially interested in being pre-med, may consult this department. And of course, there are also your average social sciences such as psychology, history, and political science which are transferable also to four year institutions.
Under the Language Arts Department you will find not only a mixture of courses related to languages, but also the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Individuals interested in this program must first take an assessment to determine their level of English proficiency. After the level of proficiency is determined students can then be placed in their appropriate class level. These English classes focus on reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Students interested in improving anything from their conversational to business English skills will find a course here that fits their needs.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Students interested in enrolling at West Valley College must submit an applilcation for admission. Incoming freshman applicants who have recently graduated from high school must submit their official transcripts. Transfer students are required to submit transcripts from all colleges previously attended.
International students must also submit an application. Along with the application, an international student must also submit a copy of their transcripts if previously enrolled at another college, proof of financial ability to pay (a bank statement), immunization record, copy of passport,and acceptable scores on the TOEFL. All this information is listed in the International Student Admissions Package which can be found under the office of Interantional Students.
For freshman applicants, the second step in the process is to complete an assessment to test your skills in writing, reading, and math. This assessment will determine if you are eligible to take college level courses or if first development courses are needed. If one falls into the category of requiring development or remedial help in one of the areas, courses accordingly will be assigned to the student. For some students this is discouraging, but many graduates begin with remedial level courses. Ultimately, it is more important where you start versus where you finish. It’s better to have the proper preparation through development classes than to begin at a higher level and not complete the course successfully. It is the role of development courses to build a strong foundation for academic success: Focusing on general study skills as well as literacy, numerical, and critical analysis capabilities.
In order to be considered for any type of federal aid, students must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly called the FAFSA. This application can be found online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Once the FAFSA is completed and submitted, information regarding the results of the application will be sent to the school(s) of your choice, in this particular case West Valley College. It is through the FAFSA results West Valley will be able to award a student a financial aid award which can include a combination of scholarships, grants, or loans. Students cannot receive scholarships through FAFSA, but they can receive federal loans, grants, or be considered eligible for the federal work-study program. There are financial aid deadlines normally for the state and federal government, so be sure to inquire about these deadlines prior to filling out your FAFSA.
There is also the availability of private loans or scholarships. Corporations such as Toyota or Walgreens have scholarships available to students. If you are unable to receive a scholarship, consider inquiring with your financial instituation regarding a private loan. For particular scholarships West Valley may offer, inquire with the Financial Aid Office as scholarships depend on gift giving normally, which can fluctuate from one year to another.
Student Financial Aid Details
Several programs for students who may need additional academic support are available through West Valley College, including ET, the Educational Transition program that focuses on service learning; and CARE, which provides support to single parent students.
There are also student clubs that focus on academics, special interests, or social clubs. There is the Ceramic Art Guild, the Vietnamese Student Association, and Fashion Design Club, for example. The organization known as the Inter-B Club Council oversees all these clubs, so one can consider joining this organization as well. There is also, of course, an active student government organization. Students frequently underestimate the role student organizations can play in fostering a dynamic, eventful, and fun college experience. If none of the clubs listed on the website interest you, remember you can always start one of your own. Just be sure to take advantage of the extracurricular activities offered, because they are essential to a memorable college experience.
There are also music and theatre events on campus for students to enjoy, as well as other forms of live entertainment. Although West Valley does not offer dormitory living for its students, a student can look for area housing in the form of apartments.
Student Enrollment Demographics
There are both women and men’s teams sponsored by West Valley College. The women’s teams are soccer, volleyball, water polo, track and field, swimming, and softball. The male teams include a similar variety; soccer, football, baseball, basketball, swimming, track and field and water polo. The men’s water polo is especially talented, having won a state championship in 2010. Other sports such as softball and men’s soccer has also attracted attention for their strong teams.
For those hoping to just play sports, but would rather not compete on a national or state, or regional level can consider joining intramural sports in badminton, flag football, volleyball, tennis, soccer, golf, swimming, and basketball, just to name a few!
Additional School Information
Center for Global Education
This Center for Global Education fosters a connection and understanding of individuals from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. It is based on principles of multicultural and international education. The Center’s goals are to “promote awareness”, assist students in learing about “interdependence in our world”, and “facilitate conversations about diversity in the U.S. West Valley College supports the development of competency in Global Education and Global Citizenship”
Community Education/Continuing Education
Through this department students, faculty, and the community overall can take courses. There is even a program called “College 4 Kids”. This program offers fun interactive classes for children between grades sixth and ninth. Courses such as economics for kids, film appreciation, creative writing, and hands-on science will be offered. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also classes especially designed for senior citizens in the community. These classes include art, music, body conditioning, and important resources for seniors. These courses are offered at the Saratoga Senior Center, the Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos, and the Campbell Senior Center.
Services and Programs for Students
There is a Child Studies Department at West Valley College which offers childcare services for all interested individuals including students, faculty or community members. The program is actually part of the Early Childhood Education Teacher Training Program.
West Valley College also offers a Student Health Services program. Through this service students can receive referrals to treatment programs, receive personal counseling, and general clinical services.
West Valley College plays an important role for military students in terms of educational opportunity and access. There is even a monthly newsletter created especially for veterans. If as a veteran you need information regarding GI benefits, tuition assistance, or how military credits transfer, you can simply vistit the Veterans Support Services as there are counselors that focus primarily on veteran students.
- City of Saratoga. 17 May 2011. Web. <http://www.saratoga.ca.us/>
- West Valley College. 17 May 2011. Web.