West Valley College
14000 Fruitvale Avenue, Saratoga, CA 95070 • Phone (408) 867-2200

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

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Application

Who is eligible to attend a community college?

Any person may attend who is a high school graduate, has passed the State Proficiency Test, obtained a G.E.D., or is 18 years of age or older. Students whose legal residence is outside the state of California or who have not resided in the state for one year and one day prior to the first day of the semester may apply for admission as non-resident students and are subject to non-resident fees. High school students may enroll with written permission from the high school principal or counselor. High school students may earn both high school and college credit unless restricted by the high school. International students are also welcome to attend West Valley College. For more information on applying as an international student, please contact the international student advisor at (408) 741-2694

When and how do I apply?

Applications are accepted continuously preferably at our website or in person. Once your application is received, it will be processed and you will be sent an ID# and a registration date. Registering for class occurs over the Internet. It is best to apply well before the beginning of the semester, to insure an early registration date for best selection of classes.

What is a unit/credit

Usually, one unit equals 1 hour of classroom lecture time, lab time is 3:1. So a course valued at 3 units means that you will spend 3 hours per week in the classroom. Additionally one unit equals a specific number of grade points: e.g., 1 unit, with a letter grade of "A", equals 4 grade points. See below for various letter grades and their associated grade point values:

Letter grade for 1 unit Grade point value for 1 unit
A 4.0
B 3.0
C 2.0
D 1.0

Unit and grade points are used to derive Grade Point Average (GPA).

What is the difference between quarters and semesters?

A quarter is approximately 12 academic/school weeks. There are 4 quarters in an academic/school year. A semester at West Valley College is 16 academic / school weeks. There are 2 semesters, plus Summer and Winter sessions, in an academic/school year. Within the University of California (UC) system, all campuses are on a quarter system with the exception of UC Berkeley. Within the California State University system, 16 campuses are on a semester system, while 6 campuses are on a quarter system. To transfer as a junior, you will need 90 quarter units where at a semester system, you will need 60 semester units.

 

Assessment and Orientation

Do I need assessment?

Generally you will need assessments in English, reading, and math unless you've already attained a college degree. It is recommended to take the assessments prior to enrollment if you intend on taking courses with pre-requisites in reading, math, or English. The assessment schedule is available online at westvalley.edu/admissions/assessment/

Do I need orientation?

Orientation will help you to get the most out of your college experience. You will learn how to establish goals, choose classes to meet your goals, register for classes, and make an educational plan that will guide you through your college career. Learn about the various degrees and career programs West Valley offers, and meet other students in the process.

What are pre-requisites/co-requisites?

Pre-requisites are courses or skills that are required before you can enroll in a course. Co-requisites are courses which you must take at the same time as another course as a condition of enrollment.

 

Advising and Counseling

What is the purpose of the Class Schedule?

The class schedule announces what will be offered in the 16 week semester, online, and late start as well as classes offered off the main campus-like Leigh High School. It also provides the required section numbers that you will need to register for classes as well as the final exam schedule.

Do I need a College Catalog?

It would be extremely useful to own a college catalog in the year you start community college. The catalog provides the more extensive course descriptions, requirements for all the majors, certificates, student's rights and responsibilities, and faculty/administrators educational backgrounds. The catalog also is the document that will be referred to when you want to know if a course transfers or not.

What is Registration?

Registration is the process of obtaining classes that you would like to take. You must submit an application before you can register for classes as well as meet the pre-requisites before you can register. The computer could deny you from registering if you do not meet the requirements for entering the class. The computer will also deny you from registering in more than 18 units. Currently, you can only register online or in-person.

Transcripts from other colleges or AP credit

If you have completed coursework or AP credit and would like to have this credit be part of your collegiate records, you need to send official transcripts to West Valley. Once received, you will need to request that they be evaluated in the Counseling Center. For AP services call 1.888.225.5427.

How do I get credit for a subject I already know?

You can earn credit by examination for knowledge and experience you may have gained during your life. Generally referred to as "challenging a course", a student can arrange to take the final exam in a course, provided the individual department has approved the course as "challenge-able". You must also meet other minimum requirements as explained in the college catalog under the heading: Credit by Examination. Below is a list of the individual divisions at WVC:

  • Applied Arts & Science: 741-2013
  • Business: 741-2012
  • Fine Arts: 741-2014
  • Language Arts: 741-2016
  • Physical Education: 741-2017
  • Science/Math: 741-2018
  • Social Science: 741-2019
  • Student Services: 741-2009

How long does it take to complete a degree/certificate?

The amount of time it takes to complete an associate degree at WVC varies by individual need. During this time, you are completing general education requirements, major requirements, and any prerequisite courses you might need. Most of our certificate programs (and they do vary widely in the number of units required) typically take two or more semesters to complete.

What is an Associate Degree?

An associate's degree requires 60 completed degree-applicable units. There are two types of Associate's degrees, the Associate of Arts, (A.A.) and the Associate of Science (A.S.). You are able to obtain an Associate's degree at any Community College. Generally, universities do not offer associate's degrees. To obtain the Associate Degree, a student must complete 60 units of college work. The 60 units must include General Education, Major and Elective courses.

Which is better, an A.A. or A.S. degree?

In California, the AA degree is generally in preparation for transfer. The A.S. degree is generally for a vocational program or for majors in the sciences/math. Both degrees are good.

What is General Education?

General Education involve areas of study in the language and rationality (English), biological and physical sciences, arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and math. To achieve a degree, there are minimum numbers of general education units that must be completed.

Can I transfer without general education certification?

Yes. You can transfer without GE certification, but it may not be advisable. Having West Valley certify the completion of your general education requirements means that a State university will not ask you to complete their lower-division general education pattern after you transfer, as you have completed the necessary requirements for the West Valley College General Ed Certification. Please note that there is no partial certification for IGETC.

What is the graduation reading requirement? Why do I have to take it?

In order to earn an associate degree from WVC, all students are required to take a reading proficiency test or complete Reading 53 (Speed and Critical Reading) with a grade of C or better. Students are required to complete a college level composition/writing course as well (English 1A).

What is Information Competency?

Information Competency involves completing Library 4 and completing an infused course to be able to gather, evaluate, and organize information to complete research projects to properly cite sources according to established acceptable academic formats.

Does WVC have Special Education or Resource Specialist?

Yes. We have a program called the Disability and Educational Support Program (DESP) serving students with disabilities. To determine eligibility, bring your most recent I.E.P. and test scores with you during your first meeting with the counselor. You can also go to westvalley.edu/desp.

Are there Student Clubs on campus?

Yes. All of the clubs at WVC reflect the current interests of our students. Clubs can be formed for example to represent academic interests (Alpha Gamma Sigma, Psi Beta, the Math Club), ethnic identity (Native-American Inter-tribal Council, Vietnamese Student Association, the Persian Club), hobbies or sports (the Ski Club, Chess Club, Cycling Club), or major interests (Interior Design Club, Student Architecture Club, Fashion Design Club). The Inter-Club Council (ICC) is the governing body for all the sanctioned clubs on campus. Each club has an ICC representative, sets its own charter and by-laws, and selects its own faculty advisor. If you can't find a club that meets your interest, start your own!

Can you get a degree online? Is there a limit to distance learning courses?

You can achieve an associate degree online. You may not be able to get specific degrees online or get all the necessary courses to transfer to a university online. Only international students studying in the U.S. have a limit on distance learning courses.

Is there an Honors program at West Valley College?

There is an Honors program. Please access: westvalley.edu/services/academic-success/counseling/honors.html

 

Transfer

Do Private Colleges accept IGETC/CSUGE certification?

What is IGETC?

The Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is a series of courses that can be used to fulfill lower division transfer GE requirements for CSU and UC campuses (and some private colleges - see a counselor for more information).
There are five (5) areas that need to be completed:

  1. English Communication
  2. Mathematical Concepts & Quantitative Reasoning
  3. Arts & Humanities
  4. Social & Behavioral Sciences
  5. Physical & Biological Sciences

What is the difference between UC and CSU?

There are a number of differences between a CSU and a UC.
The following shows some of those differences:

Category UC CSU
Number of Colleges 10 26
Admission GPA 2.8 2.0
Junior Transfer 60 60
Fees & Tuition $7000 (approx) $3000 (approx)
Offering Ph.D. 9 2

Many majors in colleges require higher GPA's.

What is a TAA/TAG?

TAG stands for Transfer Admission Guarantee. A TAG is a "contract of understanding" between a community college and a university guaranteeing that a student will be admitted to the university when the conditions of the contract have been met.
In order to initiate a TAG, you must:

  1. See your counselor to determine eligibility.
  2. See the Transfer Center Advisor in the Transfer Center.
  3. Make sure official transcripts from any other college you have attended are in your file before you begin the TAG process.

The contract basically outlines the courses you will be taking prior to transfer and the required GPA. If you meet the conditions of the contract, you will be admitted to the University.
West Valley College has Transfer Admission Agreements with:

University of California

  • Davis
  • Irvine
  • Merced
  • Riverside
  • San Diego
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santa Barbara

California State Universities

  • East Bay
  • Monterey Bay

Private Universities

  • Santa Clara University

Honors Program - Transfer Alliance Program (TAP) (Honors Program students only)

  • UC Los Angeles:
    TAP gives priority admission consideration to Honors Program students only for majors in the College of Letters and Sciences.

What is the typical length of time to transfer?

There is no typical length, as it depends on your work schedule, course-load, and obligations outside of college.

When I transfer, will I be a freshman?

Typically, students stay at a community college to complete a minimum of 60 transferable units so they can transfer to a university as a junior. By completing 60-70 transferable units, they will be able to start university as a junior and complete their last two years towards a bachelor's degree.

Internships, Jobs, Summer Employment with Federal Government Agencies

Federal database:
www.usajobs.gov/studentjobs/
Search "Student Temporary Employment, Student Career Experience, summer or other"

Federal Jobs by majors:
help.usajobs.gov/index.php/Jobs_By_College_Major

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)
www.dm.usda.gov/employ/

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
www.niehs.nih.gov/careers/research/summers/

National Security Agency (NSA)
www.nsa.gov/careers/opportunities_4_u/students/undergraduate/

 

Privileges

Responsibilities and Account and System Security The Distance Counseling site is not a secure site (not Http (s)) Each individual user is responsible for the proper use of their assigned account, including password protection. Users must not share their computer account with others who have not received authorization. In the event of disciplinary action, the fact that someone else used your account will be no excuse for violations of the Acceptable Use Policy. User accounts assigned to another person must not be used without written permission of the system administrator. Users should save their data files to their own disks. The District is not responsible for lost or deleted files. Users are advised not to reveal your address, phone number or their personal details about themselves or others.

 

last published: 7/16/14 • validate xhtml css 508