Appointment Phone Number: (714) 895-8799

Counseling Office Hours:
Fall and Spring
Mon – Thu: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Weekends and Holidays

Intersession and Summer
Mon – Fri: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Weekends and Holidays

Counseling Office Location:
2nd floor, Student Services Center
[Campus Map]

Contact the Counseling Department
Counseling Department

Counseling Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

Click on a question below to view the answer.

Getting Started

1. I'm a new student to GWC. How do I enroll and register for classes?

To register at Golden West College you need to follow these steps in the following order:

(A) Submit an application online at and select Golden West College as the institution.

(B) Apply for Federal Financial Aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at You will need to obtain a PIN number for this to be completed online at For additional information on Financial Aid, visit You may need to complete your file prior to an award letter being issued. This often includes verification of your (and parents if under 24) tax records, copies of W2 forms, Independent/Dependent Student Verification form, and projected Educational Plan. For more information on financial aid, please contact their office directly at 714-895-8394. Scholarships are also available to continuing Golden West College students. Applications are available in January for the following academic year. Generally, students need at least 12 units earned at Golden West College and a GPA of 2.0.  For additional information on Scholarships, visit

(C) Complete the Online Orientation.  The Online Orientation must be completed prior to assessment testing. This orientation assists students with understanding the campus policies, course requirements, and first-semester course selection. Log in to to access the Online Orientation under the “Student” tab.  Students transferring to GWC with 15 or more semester units from another regionally accredited institution are exempt from completing the online orientation.

(D) Complete the Assessment process, if needed. You should use the Placement Tool on the Assessment website to determine the English and Math courses that best match your academic ability and educational goals. You can transfer your scores from other institutions if the assessment test was taken within the last two years.  If you have already successfully completed a math or English course at another regionally accredited institution you may not be required to take the assessment tests. If you have passed AP exams in English and Math, you can submit those results to the Enrollment Center.

(E) Develop a Student Education Plan (SEP) With a Counselor:

  1. Register for  COUN G103, Educational Planning for Student Success, in the upcoming semester
  2. Schedule an appointment with a counselor. Appointments are scheduled one week in advance. Call (714) 895-8119 to schedule an appointment
  3. Attend express counseling hours for an abbreviated SEP. This resource is most appropriate for individuals who have applied to GWC but are not currently enrolled students. Call (714) 895-8119 for availability.
Based on your circumstances, you may also qualify for EOPS and CalWorks assistance. Check with their offices to determine eligibility.


(F) Register for courses on your assigned registration date. You can check the online searchable schedule of classes for available courses at
View details about the waitlist process at

(G) Priority registration will allow you to get an earlier registration date.  You must meet the requirements in order to be eligible for priority.  For additional information on priority registration, visit

2. I'm not a high school graduate and do not have my high school equivalency/GED. May I still take courses?

Anyone 18 years or older and who can profit from instruction qualifies for admission.  If under age 18, you will qualify for admission if you have satisfied one of the following:

(A) Graduated from high school
(B) Passed the California High School of Proficiency Test or equivalent
(C) Completed the 10th grade and received permission from your high school (see Question 3)

3. I'm a high school student interested in taking a course at GWC, how do I proceed?

In accordance with California Education Code Section 48800, 48800.5, and 76001, kindergarten through grade 12 students (K-12) may be eligible to enroll in courses at Golden West College for advanced-level study in instructional or vocational areas not available at their school. The school and the college will determine who may enroll based on their judgment of the applicant’s ability to profit from instruction. The college has the right and responsibility to restrict enrollment for reasons of health and safety, appropriateness of the course, preparedness of the student, college policy, state law and space availability. Note: In accordance with SB338, enrollment in physical education courses have been restricted or excluded. Students Who Have Completed the 10th Grade: Students enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade may enroll in courses at Golden West College if they meet the following criteria:

A. The student must be at least a minimum day student at his/her school (not applicable for summer classes).

B. The course(s) requested is an advanced academic or vocational experience and not available at the student’s regular school. (PE courses are restricted.)

C. The student meets the prerequisite for the course

D. The student has the permission of his/her parent.

E. The student has the permission of his/her high school principal or designee with a recommendation of the specific course or courses to be taken.

F. If the student is home schooled, he/she must provide verification that the home school program is recognized and approved by the county department of education.

High School students interested in attending Golden West College under the Special Part-time Program must submit a completed admissions application to the Admissions Office along with a Special Part-time Permission Form signed by both the high school principal and the parent/guardian.
Golden West College Application [PDF]

Upon receiving all approvals, the student will be allowed to register during the In-Person registration period provided space is available in the course. The college gives priority to regular college students. Admission of a K-12th-grade student cannot displace a college level student.  For more information, visit

4. Do I need SAT scores to attend a community college?

No, SAT scores are not needed to attend a community college.

5. I'm in the military and stationed overseas. How can I get started taking an online class?

Submit an application online at and select Golden West College as the institution.  Be sure to include your electronic signature.  If you have attended other colleges and earned at least 15 units, you may be exempt from participating in a new student orientation.  If you do not have 15 units of prior college credit and wish to enroll for more than 6 units, you may complete your new student orientation online.  Please log-in to to access the Online Orientation under “Student” tab. To register for a course with a math or English prerequisite (or to take a math or English course) you must show evidence of satisfying that prerequisite, or wait to take the course once you return home and can take the math and/or English placement tests.

6. Can I attend more than one community college at a time?

Yes.  However, students who attend more than one community college simultaneously should consult with a Counselor for guidance throughout their program of study. Universities articulate General Education courses, as well as lower division major requirements on a college by college basis. Caution should be exercised so as not to duplicate coursework or miss requirements.

7. Will I be allowed to continue attending a Community College after completing a degree?

You may continue taking courses at the community college after completing any level of degree.  Keep in mind there are transfer restrictions for those students earning more than 90 semester units combined from a two-year and a four-year college or university. See your counselor if you fall into this category. Also be aware there are limitations on the amount of financial aid a student may qualify for if they already possess a bachelor’s degree or higher.

8. What is eCounseling? What services are provided?

eCounseling is an online advising resource that enables students to access a counselor through email.  eCounseling counselors can answer general questions that do not require accessing transcripts or other student records.

See the eCounseling link by clicking here.

Registering for Classes

1. What are the minimum and maximum number of units I can take?

During the Fall and Spring, students may take as few as 0.18 units or as many as 19. The maximum number of units in Summer is 9.  Students wishing to exceed the maximums must appeal in Admissions and Records.

2. What is the advantage of taking a course for P/NP (Pass or No Pass)?

Your Communication, Writing, Critical Thinking and transferable Math courses must be taken for a letter grade. It is also recommended that you take all coursework in your major for a letter grade.  Pass/No Pass is an option to consider when a course is not applicable to your degree objective.  If you are not sure, always consult a Counselor.

3. I'm trying to register for a class and it says I'm not eligible. What can I do?

This generally means you have not satisfied the prerequisite for the course, or the class is already closed.  You have the right to challenge a prerequisite.  For more information concerning the challenge process, you may contact the GWC Assessment Center at 714-895-8388 or visit

If the class is closed and it is prior to the start of the semester, please refer to the wait list process at

If the semester has started you will need to attend the first class session and ask the instructor for permission to add the course.  If space is available, the instructor may provide you with an Instructor Permission Code (IPC) that will allow you to enroll in the course through your MyGWC.

4. I'm having difficulty logging into MyGWC. Where do I go?

This may happen if you have entered the wrong user name and password. If you are unsuccessful logging in or you have been locked-out, you must submit an electronic request to re-set your username and password. To submit this request, simply click on Technical Support at the bottom of the page where you are given the message that you cannot log in and forward your request by submitting your personal information. You will receive an email with your new username and password (please allow 24 hours for this process).  FAQ’s and other solutions for registration and login issues may be found at 

5. I have a hold on my registration, what should I do?

There are many reasons why a hold may be placed on your record. You may owe unpaid fees, you may owe a parking ticket fee, you may have an outstanding account at the library, you may have an academic hold, or if you are a new student, you may need to complete the matriculation process before your holds are cleared. If you log in to and check your registration status from the student tab and see that you have a hold, please call the number that is provided next to your hold so you can obtain information on how to remove it.

6. How do I get priority registration?

Effective Fall 2014, in order to be eligible for priority registration, students must meet ALL the following requirements prior to June 1, 2014:

  1. Completed placement testing and orientation (or equivalent).
  2. Have a counselor-approved Student Education Plan (SEP) on file with a specified Course of Study that leads to an Associate Degree (AA, AS, or AA-T or AS-T), transfer, State-approved Certificate of Achievement, or career advancement.
  3. Be in good academic standing and/or progress standing.
  4. Have not earned more than 100 degree-applicable units within the Coast Community College District (Coastline Community College, Golden West College, and Orange Coast College).
7. What is DegreeWorks?

DegreeWorks is the new degree audit and tracking system for Coast Community Colleges. DegreeWorks provides an accessible, convenient, and organized way for students to assess their academic progress.  DegreeWorks can be accessed through the myGWC portal. After logging in, go to the Student Tab and click on Launch DegreeWorks.

Completing Requirements

1. I'm interested in finding out more information about Nursing.

Please visit the nursing website regularly for updates at

We accept applications for the Basic Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) Program from students who have completed the prerequisite coursework and meet eligibility requirements for the program.  For details on eligibility and selection requirements, you should view the online nursing orientation at

You will need to complete the following prerequisite courses or the equivalent prior to submitting an application to the RN program:
Biology G220 – Human Anatomy, Biology G225 – Human Physiology, Biology G210 – Microbiology, and English G100 – Freshman Composition.
In order to submit an application to the Nursing Program, you must have proof of high school graduation or equivalent, you must take the TEAS V exam, you must complete the Online Nursing Orientation, you must have a minimum “C” grade in all prerequisite coursework and an overall GPA of 2.0 or better.  More information on TEAS exam is available online at  *There is a five-year recency on the three prerequisite biology courses.  All other general education coursework for the degree does not have an expiration date. More information on the application process can be found at

Additional General Education coursework required for the Associate Degree in Nursing that does not need to be completed prior to application: 

Math G160 – Statistics
Biology G200 – Pharmacology – Med & Drugs
Communication Studies G110 – Public Speaking
Psychology G118 – Life Span Developmental Psychology
Sociology G100- Introduction to Sociology
English G110 – Critical Thinking, Reading & Writing through Literature

Please note that there are many more applicants than spaces available each application cycle. GWC accepts applications one time per academic year, and once admitted, the nursing program is two years in length.  Please visit the website regularly for updated information on application deadlines.  Based on the program’s impacted status, it is not possible determine an exact timeframe from start to end of program, as that depends on your ability to enroll in prerequisites and how long it takes to actually gain acceptance to the program. Successful completion of the nursing program awards the Associate Degree in Nursing, as well as eligibility for the NCLEX to obtain your license.

Due to the high number of inquiries about our nursing program, evaluation of equivalent coursework from other colleges is not conducted until a student applies to the Nursing Program. Online evaluations are not available. Please visit the catalog and website for further details about course content and requirements.

The nursing application and selection process is a complicated one. You are required to complete the Nursing Orientation online before making an appointment with a nursing counselor shown at

2. What is Certification of General Education?

Full General Education Certification will be granted if all CSU or IGETC general education coursework was completed prior to transfer. Students may also apply for Partial CSU General Education Certification or IGETC After Transfer. The notation of certification is listed on official transcripts, and is included on the official transcript request form. You can request an official set of transcripts to be sent to your university with the certification notation by completing the Transcript Request Form at:

Please be sure to select the box on the right requesting certification for either the CSU (formerly AA Option II) or IGETC (formerly AA Option III) based on the plan you completed. Submit the form to the Admissions and Records office for processing.

3. Where can I find the requirements for an Associate Degree?

You can view the requirements to receive an Associate degree at:
A list of GWC majors and their respective course requirements may be found at:
It is advised that you meet with a counselor to discuss your academic goals and complete a Student Education Plan (SEP) to help you facilitate this process. Please call the Counseling Center at 714-895-8119 to schedule a one-hour appointment.

4. Can you tell me what I have left for my certificate/AA/transfer requirements?

If you would like know what courses you have left in order to complete your academic goal, please make an appointment to see one of our academic counselors. We cannot discuss student information without proof of identification due to confidentiality restrictions set forth in federal law under the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA). Please call the Counseling Center at 714-895-8119 to make an appointment and make sure on the day of your appointment that you bring your student ID as well as all of your transcripts from all colleges you have attended if we do not have them on file.

5. How do I know if a class transfers? What courses should I take if I want to transfer?

All courses numbered 100 or higher transfer to the CSU system and some also transfer to the UC.   You can verify this information by looking at our class schedule and/or college catalog, checking the ASSIST website at, or by asking one of our academic counselors. You can access the class schedule and catalog by going to visiting, and You can also see our counselors in the Counseling Center by making an appointment or during our walk-in hours.

If you are planning to transfer, then you should be focusing on coursework leading to transfer to the university that you want to attend. If you are interested in attending the CSU campus, then you should follow the coursework in General Education – CSU Transfer.
You can find this online at  This will meet general education coursework at the lower-division level for any of the CSU Campuses.

Additionally, you will need to complete your entry / lower-division major coursework to prepare for study at the junior and senior level at the university.

If you are planning to transfer to a UC campus, or undecided about which campus to transfer to, then you should be following coursework listed in IGETC UC-CSU General Education for Transfer.

See for a full list of IGETC requirements.  This works for nearly all majors at the UC.  Again, you will need to complete lower-division major requirements at the community college prior to transfer.

All the major specific transfer requirements can be found on the ASSIST website at You can use ASSIST to explore majors and other requirements at various UC and CSU campuses. Please check ASSIST for the most up to date general education and major requirements lists. For major requirements, select “Explore Transfer Information” and from the drop-down menu, select Golden West College, then the campus you wish to attend and your major. A listing of requirements for that campus will be displayed.

6. I think I might want to be a teacher. What classes should I take?

Requirements for teaching vary greatly depending on what level you want to teach and where you plan to transfer. It is important to make an appointment to see a counselor to complete an educational plan early in your education. Teaching Info [PDF]

What Else?

1. I didn't do as well as I had hoped my first couple of semesters, but I'm serious now and ready to commit to school. What can I do to get back on track?

Please refer to the following policies regarding probation and disqualification. Also, please be sure your contact information (including mail and phone number) are current with the Admissions and Records office. Student notifications of probation and/or disqualification are mailed about four weeks after the end of each regular term. A student shall be placed on probation whenever he or she meets one or both of the two conditions listed below:

Academic Probation
Has attempted at least 12 semester units at Golden West College and has a grade point average of less than 2.0 in the most recent semester completed, or has a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.0 in all units attempted.

Progress Probation
Has attempted at least 12 semester units at Golden West College and the percentage of units per semester or overall in which entries of “W”, “I” and “NP” are recorded reaches or exceeds 50 percent.

All probationary students shall be notified of their status and counseling services will be made available.

A student at Golden West College who is on academic and/or progress probation shall be disqualified whenever he or she meets one or both of the two conditions listed below:

Academic Disqualification: Any student on academic probation for two consecutive semesters shall be academically disqualified.

Progress Disqualification: Any student who is on progress probation for two consecutive semesters shall be disqualified for lack of satisfactory progress.

Students on Academic and/or Progress Disqualification for the first time are required to complete the Online Disqualification Workshop and will be restricted to 7 units. You are also encouraged to meet with a counselor to discuss strategies for improving student success.  Students on Academic and/or Progress Disqualification a second time are required to sit out the subsequent semester, but can return following their sit out. Upon return students are required to complete the Online Disqualification Workshop and will be restricted to 7 units. You can access the tutorial online at

A student on probation or disqualification at Golden West College, Orange Coast College or Coastline College shall be on probation at any District college.

Please contact the Counseling Center at (714) 895-8119 if you on are a registration hold due to Academic Disqualification.

2. I earned a D or F in a class, may I retake it? If so, how many times?

Courses in which you previously earned a “D”, “F”, “NP” or “NC” grade can be repeated to improve the grade.   The original grade will always be visible and will never be erased from your transcript, but an “E” will appear next to the original grade indicating the grade has been excluded from your GPA. Students who receive substandard grades (“D”, “F”, “NP” or “NC”) and/or one of more Withdrawals (“W”) may attempt to successfully complete the course up to total of two additional times within the Coast Community College District, if necessary to alleviate the substandard grade or successfully complete the course.  After the second attempt, the student will not be able to add or waitlist the class through MyGWC.  The student must obtain an add authorization code directly from the instructor on the first day of class and submit it to the Enrollment Center in order to register.  After the third attempt, the student may complete the Petition to Repeat form and submit it to the Enrollment Center for one additional attempt.  Petitions are only considered for documented extenuating circumstances.

There is also a process for eliminating up to two semesters of coursework from your GPA without having to repeat all the courses – this process is called Academic Renewal and can be processed when your past coursework is not reflective of your current abilities and the courses you earned a substandard grade in (D or F) are not fulfilling requirements towards your current educational objective.

At GWC, this can be petitioned after completion of one year and 12 units of coursework with a GPA of 2.0 or greater. Academic Renewal petitions are available in Admissions and Records.  More detailed information on Academic Renewal can be found at

3. I have a degree from another country. May I use these courses to complete my degree in the US? What if I changed my major?

Regardless of what post-secondary courses you completed out-of-country, it is generally advisable to have your records evaluated.  In order to determine if you can use courses from another country to satisfy US requirements your academic records must be officially translated into English if they were not originally issued in English and you should submit your translated records, along with other necessary documentation, to an independent credentials evaluations service.  There are several credential evaluation services to choose from, however, we recommend International Education Research Foundation (IERF, Before submitting your academic records for evaluation you should make an appointment to see one of our academic counselors to discuss whether or not it is advisable to request a credential evaluation. To make an appointment to discuss out-of-country academic records contact the Counseling Center at 714-895-8119.

4. How do I drop a class?

Students may drop a class up to the final drop date online at or in person with the Admissions and Records office. Please view detailed withdrawal information at

5. How many units should I take?

To be considered a full-time student, you must enroll in at least 12 units per semester. A unit is the amount of credit you earn for a class. This varies from course to course. College work is measured in terms of the “credit unit”. In a lecture course, a college unit is normally defined as one hour of lecture and two hours of homework per week. In a laboratory course, three hours in the classroom per week with no outside work equals one unit of work.
Within the district, you may only enroll in a maximum of 19 units during the fall and spring semesters and a maximum of 9 units during summer.

For every one hour of classroom time, allow two hours of outside homework time.

  • 3-unit class = 3 hours of classroom time + 6 hours of homework time = 9 hours total time per week.
  • Full-time load is 12 units = approximately 12 hours of classroom time + 24 hours of homework time = 36 hours of total time per week.

Guidelines for how many units to take:

  • If you WORK 40 hours per week, TAKE NO MORE THAN 6 units
  • If you WORK 30 hours per week, TAKE NO MORE THAN 9 units
  • If you WORK 20 hours per week, TAKE NO MORE THAN 12 units
  • For VETERAN’S benefits: Please check with the Veterans Services for requirements at
  • For ATHLETIC eligibility: Take at least 12 units during season of sport
  • To be FULL-TIME student: Take at least 12 units

International students: Take at least 12 units

Paying for School

1. I just registered for my classes, when are fees due? How can I pay them?

You have 48-hours after you register to pay your fees. You can pay for them using your credit card at You may also pay your fees in-person in Admissions and Records (by cash, credit or debit, or by check).  Students with a BOG Fee Waiver must still pay the required health fee, College Service Charge and materials fees or you will be dropped from your classes if you register prior to the start of the semester.

2. How do I apply for financial aid?

Apply for Federal Financial Aid as early as possible beginning in January of each year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at You will need to obtain a PIN number for this to be completed online at For additional information on Financial Aid, visit You will likely need to complete your file prior to an award letter being issued. This often includes verification of your (and parents if under 24) tax records, copies of W2 forms, Independent/Dependent Student Verification form, and projected Educational Plan.

3. Where can I find out about scholarships?

GWC Scholarship Applications are available from November-January on the Financial Aid website at Numerous scholarships are available to students attending Golden West College. Listed below are the minimum qualifications needed to apply for Golden West College Scholarships.

  • You must have completed at least 12 units at Golden West College prior to the first day of the Spring semester.
  • You must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (gpa) of 2.00 (subject to change).
  • You must be enrolled in and complete at least 6.0 units during the Spring semester.
  • You must plan to enroll in a minimum of 6.0 units at a college or university in the Fall semester. Some awards may not be transferable.
  • You must complete a golden West College Scholarship Application and submit it to the Financial Aid Office. Be sure to indicate any unique financial need you might have that makes you deserving of scholarship assistance.

*Scholarship funding is limited and meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee that you will receive a scholarship. By meeting the minimum criteria listed above, you will be considered for awards that mandate “GWC General Criteria” for initial eligibility.

**Some awards are awarded by various departments on campus (Arts & Letters, Nursing, Technology, Science, etc.). Based upon your major area, your application will be forwarded to the appropriate department for review if you qualify. Individual departments have their own criteria and committees that evaluate each applicant.

Scholarships are also available to continuing Golden West College students. Applications are available in January for the following academic year. Generally, students need at least 12 units earned at Golden West College and a cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Other scholarship websites include, and Another helpful website for students looking for ways to pay for school is

4. I am an unemployed single parent. Are there any programs to assist with paying for fees and books?

You may be eligible to participate in the following programs. Please contact each office to obtain eligibility information.

Re-Entry/CalWORKs Center  

The Re-Entry/CalWORKs Programs offer specialized support services to parents receiving CalWORKs/TANF/GAIN benefits for themselves to ensure a smooth transition into the college environment. Support services consist of individualized counseling, career assessment, transportation assistance, book bag and school supplies, free student success workshops, job development assistance, resume preparation and job interviewing skills, and may also include child care assistance and work-study opportunities, if funding is available.

EOP/S & C.A.R.E.

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP/S) and Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (C.A.R.E.) are designed to assist students from low-income and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. Service includes counseling and guidance, program advisement, tutoring, grants, and transfer assistance.

Finishing Up

1. The courses I need to complete my certificate have not been offered for the last two semesters. What should I do?

You should make an appointment with the Chair or Dean of the department to determine an approved course substitution. You will need to complete a Petition for Course Substitution [PDF] with the Department Chair or Dean before you enroll in the alternate course.

2. What do I need to do to receive my certificate/associate degree?

Associate in Arts Degrees and Certificates are not automatically awarded when the student completes the requirements. The student must file a petition in person in the Admissions and Records Office according to the following schedule:

Graduation Filing Period 
Spring February 1 – April 1
Summer July 1 – August 1
Fall September 1 – November 1

Associate  degrees are awarded only after spring graduation, but the graduation date is posted on the student’s transcript after the graduation period in which the Associate  degree is earned.

Certificate of Achievement application may be made during the semester of completion. Filing deadlines are the same as for graduation.

3. How do I obtain my transcripts?

Please visit the Admissions and Records transcript request link at

There are three ways in which you can order your official Golden West College transcript:

Option 1: Internet Request
Golden West College has partnered with Credentials Inc. to accept transcript orders via the Internet through a secured site. TranscriptsPlus® will facilitate your request 24 hours per day, 365 days per year for a minimal service charge.
• To use this service, you may go to the following webpage or
follow this link:
• Check on the status of your order by referencing the following link:

Option 2: Via Mail
If you wish to request your transcript by mail, you may fill in the “Transcript Request Form” available online

Option 3: In Person
You may request your transcripts in person at the GWC Records counter. PHOTO IDENTIFICATION IS REQUIRED TO ORDER TRANSCRIPTS. Please allow three (3) business days to process your request. “Rush” services are available, please see below for details.

Transcript Fees
The first two requests for transcripts and/or verifications of enrollment are free of charge (note: this service is not available through the TranscriptsPlus® service).
A $5.00 processing fee is charged for regular processing of each additional transcript.
We provide a special handling RUSH service for an additional $5.00 per copy ($10.00 total per copy). This guarantees your request will be processed by 11:00 a.m. the next business day. If you are mailing your request and chose to pay the special handling charge, please write “RUSH” on the outside of the envelope.