Major Matters: Advice for the high school transition.

For all students, whether heading to a community college or 4-year university, you will very soon be asked to declare and outline what it is you want to study – what to “major” in. While this is a very important decision, it is equally personal; it is imperative that you make this decision based on interests once you are ready to commit to an academic area.

Among the many misconceptions of the major is that it pigeonholes an individual into one specific career trajectory, i.e., an English degree is a must for future English teachers, studying computer science means you’ll be a programmer your entire career, and majoring in Psychology means you can be only a psychologist. On the contrary, a Bachelor’s degree provides students with fundamentals that manifest across multiple disciplines. In other words, your college degree should equip you with transferable skills to work in a variety of jobs!

Let’s take a closer a look at the example of the International Relations college major. Here are some courses you should expect to take in this field:

– U.S. foreign policy
– International organizations
– International Law
– World politics
– National Security
– International conflict
– Peace studies
– Global environmental issues

This major allows you to specialize in areas such as political science, economics, history, sociology, and foreign languages. Thus, here are just some of the careers that this major leads to:

– Foreign service officer such as Diplomat or Ambassador
– International/Immigration lawyer
– International journalist
– Positions with N.G.O.s (Non-governmental Organizations)

Skills you gain in college are meant to prepare youfor one of two paths immediately following graduation – either a continued educational pursuit of advanced degrees, or an understanding and preparation for entry into the workforce.

Ultimately, the purpose of a bachelor’s degree is to equip students with the tools necessary to be effective in an array of careers. As such, the specific academic area selected as a major is, to a certain extent, irrelevant because the large majority of what they will be taught are transferable skills. That being said, a background in engineering or the concrete sciences will have a significantly different conceptual approach than that of something in Education or the Liberal Arts; hence, it is of utmost importance that students have the opportunity to select the lens they most strongly identify with.

4 Most Costly Experiences for First-Time Freshmen

Today’s post is by Benjamin Olague, GWC Outreach Specialist. This kicks off our series on college transitions, higher ed insights, and student advising.

Remediation Pitfalls – For those students who demonstrate need for remediation in either Math or English, many will find themselves in a very inconvenient academic space. Not necessarily due to the prolonging of their graduation, but rather because of future pre-requisite needs for upper-division or major-related coursework. It is imperative that students prepare for and do their best on all readiness assessments and placement tests.

Lack of Financial Literacy – Credit card scams and high prices of books make campus finances a difficult road to navigate for First-Time Freshmen. As they begin their educational experience students find themselves overwhelmed and ill-prepared to manage large sums of financial assistance and due balances, leaving many of them in economic turmoil at a very young age. Students should be carefully taught how to understand the differences between grants, loans, scholarships, waivers, and payment balances, as well as how they affect one another.

Lack of self-discipline – For most students college is their first opportunity to live as adults without constant monitoring and support. This leads to a sense of freedom that typically breeds counter-productive behaviors that when compounded lead to poor student performance. As trusted educators and community members it is necessary that we reinforce the importance of this experience, and instill the best possible attitudes towards education within students.

Absence of Support Systems – Perhaps the most damaging factor to student success is the lack of adequate support that students encounter. While we all have the students best intentions in mind, as well as the most positive opinions of their abilities this all too often translates too unnecessarily harsh repercussions when students make the slightest slip up. Moreover, family members regularly hold students to unreasonably high standards; feeling that it is necessary for students to spend every free moment studying or engaged in school work. Though this may on occasion be appropriate to rectify poor student behavior, but most commonly it is just reflective of students needing to take a much deserved break.

If you’re a senior, you’re just about three months from the end of high school. Consider what you feel ready (and not ready) for, and have this conversation soon. You can speak with your counselor, teacher, family, or GWC.

GWC proudly supports STEAM with our new Biotechnology course. Get started while still in High School!

STEAM is a term used in education starting in Elementary School. What is it? It is the acronym used for the link between Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Golden West College’s Biotechnology course combines the use of these areas of discipline in an innovative, career focused way. Steve Lustig spearheads the course development and instruction at GWC, tying the world of graphics and design with the intrigues of science and technology.
“The goal of any good STEAM education should be to integrate creativity and the arts into project based interdisciplinary education to create well-rounded, fully engaged, imaginative students who are prepared for new, innovative, economic opportunities in a rapidly changing world. The foundation for this specific scenario is fundamental drawing and how that thread weaves its way through all aspects of modern digital technology in learning and creating for science.” – Steve Lustig, GWC Biotechnology Instructor
Steve has taken this GWC course offering to new heights by linking up with the surrounding K-12 schools and offering for the students to take part in his courses while still in high school.
To learn more visit:
Start GWC in 11th or 12th grade! Find details at:

Among GWC Alumni is Emmy Winner Justin Krumb

As for many alumni, Emmy winner Justin Krumb’s success started at Golden West College. An alumni of the GWC Broadcast and Video Production program, Justin found his success in the Entertainment industry. He was recognized by his peers earning an Emmy for his documentary, The Next Wave- a Tsunami Relief Story, along with many regional nominations for directing, editing and camera work. His work has appeared on ESPN, Fox, National Geographic TV and PBS, and his films have been screened at film festivals including the Sundance Festival.

It is really exciting to be able to see where our alumni end up and in what facet they have used their GWC education and his story is just one of the many successes GWC Alumni have accomplished. Justin came from our Broadcast and Video Production program, transferred on to receive a B.A. in Radio/TV/Film from CSU Long Beach, and founded Rough Cuts Productions as a producer/director with a focus on feature documentary and television production. His success in his industry tells of both of the quality of education provided at Golden West College, and fruition of student perseverance.

To learn more, visit

Take Math Your Senior Year in High School!

We often hear that you don’t need math your senior year. However, by keeping up with your math skills, you have a better opportunity to place higher on the math assessment test. The old saying, “use it or loose it” is specifically applied to this subject. In many cases, the longer a student takes a break from math, the lower their test scores will be.  Each student will need to take a math placement test to determine their first successful course placement level. These testing scores will sit on your record for up to two (2) years. Entering college at the remedial level in math is one of the primary reasons a student takes longer (sometimes much longer) to graduate. A student’s major of choice will determine the required coursework for math. Most students can avoid this delay by taking math during their senior year.

Do you Accept EAP Results?
Golden West College will accept EAP results if students have been designated “college ready” on their STAR test. Students are then placed into the lowest level of transferrable English and Math courses. However, something to pay attention to is that their college major determines their requirements for math. If the major requires higher levels of math, such as Engineering, it is in the best interest for the student to take the assessment test and enter at the highest level possible.

GWC ranks #6 in the State for community colleges, becoming a lead in the Coast District

GWC has ranked #6 in the State in a May, 2015, study for all community colleges conducted by, becoming the leader in the Coast Community College District. The critera for ranking was based on affordability, accessibility, retention, and graduation and transfer rates. They also used key success indicators from the National Center of Education Statistics, and the University of California and California State University systems to find and rank the best community colleges in California.
“Golden West College is a major transfer all-star; its combined UC and CSU transfer rate placed it in the top 10 percent of all California community colleges in 2014. It also offers a sizable share of online classes — a feature a full one-third of its students flex each year. These distinctions are not the only factors that draw students to Golden West: it’s also set in Huntington Beach, the true Surf City USA, home to one of the state’s most popular beaches and the laid back lifestyle for which the area is known.”

Top 25 California community colleges
1. Saddleback College (Mission Viejo)
2. Santa Monica College (Santa Monica)
3. Cypress College (Cypress)
4. Las Positas College (Livermore)
5. Pasadena City College (Pasadena)
6. Golden West College (Huntington Beach)
7. Folsom Lake College (Folsom)
8. MiraCosta College (Oceanside)
9. Napa Valley College (Napa)
10. El Camino Community College (Torrance)
11. Irvine Valley College (Irvine)
12. Cosumnes River College (Sacramento)
13. Orange Coast College (Costa Mesa)
14. Woodland Community College (Woodland)
15. Chabot College (Hayward)
16. Cuesta College (San Luis Obispo)
17. American River College (Sacramento)
18. Merced College (Merced)
19. Reedley College (Reedley)
20. San Joaquin Delta
21. Fresno City College (Fresno)
22. Glendale Community College (Glendale)
23. Sacramento City College (Sacramento)
24. Fullerton College (Fullerton)
25. Citrus College (Glendora)
*National Center for Education Statistics, 2013
**California State University, 2013; University of California, 2013; National Center for Education Statistics, 2013
To read the full article go to:

Our Teachers is one of the TOP reasons to attend GWC!

By Tre Nesbit
Western Sun staff writer

Students have no need to travel to the Smithsonian Institute or the National Geographic museum to view some of the renowned sculptures featured there. They can simply take a stroll right down to Humanities 133 right here on the Golden West College campus to view the artist whose work is featured in such places in action.

Raymond Persinger doubles as a prolific sculptor whose work has been featured in museums across the world, and as a professor to students wanting too learn about the craft. Be it bronze, clay, or even glasswork Persinger brings his extensive body of work and experience to the classroom to assist novice artists.

Persinger’s eyes light up as he begins talking about his students. “I really like teaching at this level because for many people this is when they discover what they’ve been missing, something they feel they’ve needed.” He says that many discover their desire to be artists in his classes and “It’s nice to be that person that introduces them.”

“I recall a particular moment when a student slammed her first on the table and said ‘this rocks! I had no idea this was out here.’ I told her ‘it’s been waiting for you for some 2,000 years,” he says with a chuckle.

The 45-year-old was a born handyman, building things with his father’s tools from a young age. “I always loved making things, I think on some level we all do as humans. We like to express our experiences be it spiritual, sexual, music, food.”

He continued with his craftsmanship until a high school teacher encouraged him to expand on his handyman tendencies through means of studying fine art. First came his bachelor’s form California State University (CSU) Long Beach. Next was his Master of Fine Arts degree from CSU Fullerton and next came his legacy.

At the fresh age of 23 Persinger was commissioned for his first large public art piece, creating “Mustangs,” a life-size recreation of three horses for the city of Brea. Persinger was then recruited by Dinamation, creating life-sized sculptures of dinosaurs and other creatures for museums across the world. After 10 solid years with the company he left doing freelance work for Disney and was eventually asked to teach at the Laguna College of Art and Design from 1995-2013 which Persinger says is one the highlights of his career.

“I’m really proud of what we did there, I mean we built the program from the ground up. It was eventually recognized as one of the best programs in the nation. It was just my wife Mary Ann and I. We had had good instructors, and so we were good instructors.”

As an instructor Persinger says he continues to learn from his students. “I believe the Outside the classroom his work influences his whole family who gets in on the art. He works alongside his wife and even his children. “I remember when I had my first daughter she must have been only a toddler, I was so in love. I would let her create with me sometime, she would sculpt away at the base of a piece and I would go back and fix it or change things. It got to a point where she put her hand out at me once as if to see ‘no, this part is done.”

Presinger’s favorite part about creating is that art “has a life of it’s own. You create it and so many people love it and means different things to so many different people. It continues to live on, people take pictures with your work and people tell you stories of how it influenced them or what it means to them. You love knowing you did something that mattered to someone.”

In general terms of creating the sculptors best advice is to be true to yourself. “If you do your own work, people will find you. If you do someone else’s work they’ll end up finding them.”

Raymond currently teaches 3D Design and Sculpting at Golden West College as well as classes at Mt. San Antonio, Orange Coast College, Golden West and Blizzard Entertainment Academy.

About Western Sun
THE WESTERN SUN is published bi-weekly on Wednesdays by the newspaper production classes of Golden West College. All opinions expressed in The Western Sun, unless otherwise indicated, are those of the individual writer or artist and do not necessarily reflect those of the college, district, or any other organization or agency. The Western Sun is a member of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges and the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association.

Fall 2014 Registration has begun!

Fall registration has begun! You should have your registration date and time in your MyGWC email by now. Make sure that you have completed (or are scheduled to complete) the orientation and counseling workshop (SOAR students!). By completing these tasks you will be eligible for registration, and should have a general understanding on how to layout your semester.

Should you have any questions as a new student or as a returning student, please visit our new Answer Center located in the Admissions building. They can help you with a variety of questions regarding schedule, services and your records. Stop by and get those questions answered so that you are off and running in the right direction.

Need extra assistance, use the contact button above to send me an email. I would be more than happy to answer and/or direct your question.