Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) is a two-year community college in southeastern Washington State. The main branch is located in the city of Walla Walla. The college also maintains small campuses in Clarkston, Washington, and at the Washington State Penitentiary. The average annual enrollment at WWCC is more than 13,000.
Degrees offered at WWCC include an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Arts with an Emphasis in Agriculture, Associate in Arts with an Emphasis in Criminal Justice, Associate in Business, Associate in Elementary Education, Associate in Math Education, Associate in Applied Science-Early Childhood Education, Associate in Biology, and Associate in Secondary Education-Earth and Space Science. Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences Degrees are designed for students planning to enter a career after graduation, rather than transfer to a four year school.
Students majoring in Science who plan to transfer to a four year school can choose between two different tracks: the biological science track, including chemistry, geology, environmental sciences, and earth science; or the engineering track, including computer science, physics, and atmospheric science.
Students who successfully finish core courses as well as nine credits of related academic work in an approved professional-technical program are eligible to receive a certificate, whether they had originally planned to earn one or not.
WWCC has a transfer agreement with Washington State University and the University of Washington for students planning to major in the arts, social sciences, and humanities. The agreements give students guaranteed entry into four-year bachelor’s degree programs at these institutions, provided that they perform well in their cousework at WWCC. Many students choose to participate in transfer agreements rather than attend four year universities for their whole education as a way to save money.
Education for Career Tracks
Many students at WWCC study agriculture, one of the largest industries in the region. Promoting and marketing foods and fibers are important to the Walla Walla valley economy. Students in agriculture can specialize in plant and soil sciences, animal sciences, or agricultural sciences. WWCC has transfer agreements with Washington State University and the University of Idaho for students majoring in agriculture. Many students from WWCC go on to work in the area as farm managers, ranch managers, agricultural technicians, , commodity brokers, greenhouse workers, and, of course, farmers. Because Washington state is a heavy grape-growing region with many vineyards, there is a need for commensurate agricultural education. WWCC prepares students in the winery program to be vineyard masters, cellar masters, viticulturists, winemakers, lab technicians, and winery equipment sales agents. There is also a large farrier program at WWCC. (Farriers trim and shoe horses.)
Students majoring in elementary education must pass the WEST-B exam to apply to teacher preparation programs in the state of Washington. WWCC administers the WEST-B regularly as a benefit to their students. The education program also prepares students to work as tutors, classroom assistants, speech assistants, and bilingual assistants.
Students in the accounting program go on to become auditors, accounting managers, payroll clerks, tax preparation specialists, bookkeepers, and of course, accountants.
The computer programs prepare students to take positions as system administrators, digital design, computer system designers, and computer support specialists.
WWCC trains a large number of diesel service technicians. Graduates go on to work in forklift repair, mining equipment repair, logging equipment repair, heavy duty truck repair, heavy equipment repair, truck repair, bus repair, and construction equipment repair. WWCC also offers specialization for auto detailing, insurance appraising, custom painting, motor pool maintenance, auto equipment manufacturing, and more.
Some of the specific careers that students in the electrical department go on to perform include millwright, meter technician, control technician, refrigeration and air conditioning installer, and industrial mechanic.
Many students in WWCC’s fire prevention program go on to fight forest fires in the Pacific Northwest.
College Academics for High School Students
There are several ways for high school-aged students to begin their college educations early at WWCC. The Alternative Education Program meets the needs of students between the ages of 16 and 20, including several homeschooled students. The Running Start Program is a somewhat similar program for juniors and seniors in high school. Both programs are subsidized so that students pay for neither tuition nor books.
Tech Prep is a program that identifies strong candidates in area high schools and invite them into classes which integrate college material into high school curricula. Students can also get a head-start on accumulating college credit by scoring well on the Advanced Placement (AP) exams or the College Level Exam Program (CLEP).
Most Popular Fields of Study
WWCC has several unique programs not found at most community colleges. WWCC partners with the John Deer Company to offer certificates in John Deere Agricultural Technology and John Deere Dealership Management. The college also offers a unique degree in Golf Management. Students go on to become golf instructors and coaches, as well as course superintendents and turf technicians. Watershed Ecology is another program that partners with the particular needs of the Walla Walla area to create habitat specialists, water quality technicians, and fish and wildlife technicians.
One of the newer programs at WWCC is Wind Energy Technology, which is racing to keep up with anticipated future need in the next decade. Students learn the ins and outs of basic circuits, electronic controls, programmable logic controllers, electrical motors and their controls, and variable frequency drives.
WWCC has several partnerships with other organizations to help meet the needs of their student body. The Western Undergraduate Exchange allows students to enrol in out-of-state colleges for significantly less than the normal out-of-state tuition rates. This allows students from other western states to take advantage of some of the unique programs at WWCC that may not be available to them in their area of residence.
The National Student Exchange (NSE) allows students to travel throughout the US and experience different cultures with minimal added cost. NSE has over 180 member campuses, including private schools and Canadian schools.
The Walnet Library is a consortium of the community college libraries, the Walla Walla Public Library, and the Walla Walla County Rural Library District. Students at WWCC have full and free use of materials from all the libraries. June
In keeping with their mission to offer higher education to any adult who chooses to pursue it, WWCC has open admissions. Applicants for degree programs must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and fill out an application and send in a paper copy to the admissions office. Online applications for admission are not accepted.
International Student Admissions
International students must submit their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores as part of their application. A minimum score of 500 on the paper test, 173 on the computer test, or 61 on the Internet test is required.
In addition to the usual range of federal and state financial aid options open to any college or university student in the state of Washington, WWCC offers several of their own unique need- and merit-based scholarships.
There is no on-campus housing available, although college counselors are happy to assist students in locating off-campus accommodations. Local public transit serves the college to allow low-cost transportation from locations around Walla Walla. Many students use a walking and biking path to access the campus.
The Waltasa Café functions both as a dining facility for the student body, staff, faculty, and visitors and as a learning laboratory for students in the Culinary Arts program. The menu offerings change frequently, as each batch of Culinary Arts students learn preparation of new dishes. In general, deli sandwiches, paninis, burritos, tacos, salads, pizzas, breads, and pastries are available for quick dining. In addition to enjoying a meal, guests may observe the students perfecting their craft in the demonstration kitchens.
Student Enrollment Demographics
The Athletics department is known as the Warriors. The Warriors compete in intercollegiate varsity athletics in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, golf, rodeo, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball, and volleyball. There are regular intramural activities as well. The Clarkston campus shares athletic facilities with the local community, which allows students to use the fitness center and pool for free.
The Walla Walla Valley is a hiker’s paradise. It is also a huge fishing, hunting, horseback riding, canoeing, and BMX racing destination. There are a large number of public parks inside the city, and several large state parks in the area. WWCC is located in proximity to the local airport and is served by non-stop public transit from the Seattle-Tacoma airport.
Clarkston Campus. Walla Walla Community College. Web. 8 May 2011.
Dining Services. Walla Walla Community College. Web. 8 May 2011.
FAQs. Walla Walla Community College. Web. 8 May 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
Walla Walla. The City of Walla Walla. Web. 8 May 2011.
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.
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