Top Community Colleges in California

California has been my home for 21 years and I couldn’t imagine it any different.

It is also home of several beaches, beautiful hills and great community colleges. The following are what I consider to be five of the top community colleges in California (the Golden State).

  • Cuesta College

Located in the wonderful city of San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College was established in 1963.

Cuesta is “highly regarded throughout the state for its excellent education programs, responsive student services and exceptional faculty and staff,” according to the college’s website.

Cuesta offers 66 degree programs and 93 certificate programs.

With classes offered on the main campus in San Luis Obispo, the North County Campus in Paso Robles, and the South County Center in Arroyo Grande, Cuesta is definitely a college to consider attending. The main campus is located near many beautiful beaches. Not to mention, Oprah has named San Luis Obispo the “happiest city in America.”

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo — the four-year college I attend — is located in the same city. So when I say this town and the people in it are wonderful, I mean it.

Prefumo Canyon located in beautiful San Luis Obispo.

Prefumo Canyon located in beautiful San Luis Obispo.

  • Santa Barbara City College

If beaches and a great academic program are what you’re looking for, give Santa Barbara City College a chance. Located in sunny Santa Barbara (approximately an hour and a half south of San Luis Obispo), this college offers more than 50 certificate and more than 80 associate degrees.

Santa Barbara City College offers intercollegiate basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field, and volleyball for both men and women.

The college’s website sums it up: “Beach. Mountains, Sunshine, Warm temps.”

  • Glendale Community College

Located in Glendale, this two-year college offers certificate, diploma and associate degrees according to The CollegeBoard.

The college is located in Los Angeles County, just 10 miles from Los Angeles, and is home to approximately 21,303 undergraduates. Check out the college’s website for more information.

“Glendale Community College welcomes students of all diverse backgrounds, goals, ages, abilities, and learning styles. As an institution of higher education, we are committed to student learning and success. Using personal interaction, dynamic and rigorous instruction, and innovative technologies, we foster the development of critical thinking and lifelong learning. We provide students with the opportunity and support to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to meet their educational, career, and personal goals. Our commitment is to prepare students for their many evolving roles in and responsibilities to our community, our state, and our society.” — from the Glendale Community College mission statement

This two-year college is located in the suburban Los Altos Hills, CA. Foothill College offers certificate and associate degrees. Majors offered range anywhere from biological sciences to computer software engineering. While there are many majors offered, students are not required to declare a major before choosing Foothill College.

I plan on taking online classes this summer and Foothill College is the community college I plan on doing my classes through.

Located just 40 miles from San Francisco, Foothill College is somewhere to consider attending.

  • San Diego City College

San Diego City College is located in the great city of San Diego.

According to the college’s website, it’s a “multicultural institution committed to providing open access to all who can benefit from instruction and to meeting the diverse and ever-changing educational, cultural, and economic needs of the urban core and surrounding communities of San Diego.”

This public community and junior college offers lower division and general education courses.

Community colleges are a great place to start, especially if money is an issue. The above five top community colleges in California are definitely ones I would have considered had I gone that route.

Choosing your top school requires you to do some research to find the college that best suits you; the college that offers exactly what you’re looking for in the setting you’re looking for. In putting together a list of what you want out of a community college, hopefully you’ll find the perfect fit for you — and maybe it’ll even be one of the schools above!

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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