online program

California! The very name conjures images of dramatic history, Hollywood glitter, high-tech innovation, and jaw-dropping natural wonders, but the Golden State offers college students more than just an opportunity for dreaming.

Considering California

If you want to study outside in January, southern California is the perfect spot (note that San Francisco and other more northern parts of the state are cooler, although snow is mostly limited to mountain areas). Depending on which school you choose, outdoor exercise options include everything from swimming to skateboarding to skiing. And if you’re an athlete or a sports fan, you’re certainly aware of the Trojans, the Bruins, and other NCAA big names, but did you know that San Diego State University offers a for-credit surfing course?

California is one of the largest and most diverse states in the US, and you’ll find that diversity reflected in restaurants, live music and other performing arts, cultural festivals and opportunities to learn new skills and languages, and even architecture.

Even if you’re not ready to move quite yet, you can enroll in an online program to start earning credits. If you’ve been a California resident for at least one year, you may qualify for a Cal Grant which will cover a portion of your tuition and expenses at certain schools and which doesn’t need to be paid back.

Chasing College Towns

California is justly famous for San Francisco and Los Angeles, but despite the excellent schools available in both, they’re a bit too large to truly qualify as college towns. If you’d prefer to be close to nature, Arcata (home to Humboldt State University), Chico (California State University; Butte College), and Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz) fit the bill admirably, though frankly almost every California college town is a winner in this category. San Luis Obispo (California Polytechnic State University; Cuesta College) has a thriving culinary and brewing scene, as does Claremont (The Claremont Colleges, which consist of five undergraduate and two graduate schools), while Davis (UC Davis) combines wine culture with an easily accessible devotion to music and art.

Choosing a College

When you’re deciding on a school, you’ll want to think about your field of study at least as much as you do about the kind of student experience you’re hoping to have. California Institute of Technology are often ranked among the best private colleges in the state, while the University of California is well-regarded among public colleges, but there are plenty of other smaller and more specialized schools throughout the state (included religious ones). More specially, UCLA is often considered one of the best universities in the US for film studies, while Stanford and Cal-Tech make the list for computer technology. Regardless of your exact academic and career ambitions, take the time to research which school will serve you best.

The US has an abundance of excellent colleges and universities, but California offers a truly exceptional range of choices.

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