Colleges of Contra Costa – From the San Francisco Bay Area to your Dream University
The Colleges of Contra Costa (Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College) are accredited community colleges that enroll more than 700 international students from over 60 countries.
The Colleges of Contra Costa are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the most diverse and vibrant areas of the United States. San Francisco is popular for its beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, mix of cultures, and outstanding dining and entertainment. The Bay Area is also known for its mild climate. The average annual high is 22℃, while the average annual low is 9℃.
Students have easy access to the city, including the international airport, with the public transportation system of the Bay Area (BART):
The colleges are also within one to three hours by car from well-known four-year colleges and universities like UC Berkeley and Stanford as well as famous landmarks and attractions such as Napa Valley, Silicon Valley, Yosemite National Park, Point Reyes, Lake Tahoe and Muir Woods.
The Colleges of Contra Costa offer a high quality education at lower tuition than at most four-year U.S. universities and colleges. Tuition is $8,304 (24 units) to $10,380 (30 units) per year. Though our tuition is lower, our facilities are on par with four-year institutions.
Most international students complete 60 units within two years and then transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree. International students are also eligible for merit scholarships at the end of their first semester. These scholarships generally range from $500 - $1,000 and are based on academic performance (GPA) and field of study.
Aside from a lower tuition, the average class size of 24 to 30 students is significantly smaller than at many four-year institutions. Classes therefore tend to be more student-centered and faculty are easily accessible both in class and in after-class office hours. A second advantage is that students are taught by faculty, not by graduate students. Third, it is statistically easier for international students to transfer to year three at a four-year university than it is to be admitted directly after high school from abroad.
International students enjoy support services such as per-arrival and in-person orientations along with immigration advising to ensure they remain in active immigration status.
Students also benefit from one-on-one academic counselling, free academic tutoring, and transfer and career services. Each college provides a secure student environment with police stations on campus to keep the colleges safe.
Students have options regarding admission requirements, start dates, academic programs, accommodation, student clubs and transfer institutions. There is no SAT/ACT required for admission, and students without the required English proficiency may be conditionally admitted if they complete a specified level with a partner intensive English program. Please visit https://intl.4cd.edu for up-to-date admission requirements and program dates.
Once admitted, students can choose from over 125 majors. The most popular among international students are Business, Computer Science, Engineering, Biology and Psychology. And, even if we don’t have a major that students are looking for, it may be possible to transfer into that major in year three at a prestigious four-year institution!
Outside of the classroom, international students participate in one or more of 130 student organizations. This participation helps students to develop leadership, problem-solving and teamwork skills as well as establish global friendship networks. Participation in student organizations is also helpful for transferring.
International students are likewise eligible for off-campus internships during their studies and employment, both after one year and after they complete their studies. For instance, Emily from Vietnam said this about her experience at Contra Costa College (CCC):
For accommodation, international students have a range of off-campus housing choices, from furnished and unfurnished apartments to houses. Homestays for instance provide a safe “home away from home” where students live with a local family.
Although students live off-campus, they typically eat lunch during the week at one of the colleges.
The Colleges of Contra Costa offer transfer guarantees to 29 out of 32 public universities in the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems. In addition, there are transfer articulation agreements to public and private institutions throughout the United States.
Each year, over 300 international transfer students to four-year colleges and universities, with Diablo Valley College (DVC) being the #1 international student transfer institution to UC Berkeley! Over 1,000 international students have transferred from DVC to UC Berkley since 2010. The average acceptance rate during this period has been 38%. Contra Costa College (CCC) and Los Medanos College (LMC) also have impressive transfer records. For example, since 2015 over 75% of applicants from the Honors Program at LMC have been admitted to UCLA. And approximately 50% of international student transfers from CCC to four-year institutions since 2015 have enrolled at UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC San Diego or UC Santa Barbara.
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