College of the Desert

College of the Desert (COD) is a fully accredited institution that was founded in 1958.  COD is a two year community college that is located next to the famous resort town of Palm Springs, California.  Our beautiful location is only a short drive from Los Angeles, San Diego, Disneyland and the beautiful California beaches.  As safety is a concern for everyone, we are pleased to say that Palm Desert offers students a safe environment in which to live and study.  COD prepares students for successful transfer to the many public and private universities throughout the United States.  Students can choose from over 50 degree and certificate programs such as Business Administration, Computer Science, Hotel/Restaurant Management, Architecture and many other programs including Intensive English study.  Our students have successfully transferred to UCLA, UC Berkeley, CSU Long Beach, CSU Fullerton, UC Irvine and many universities.

Student demographics

The total population at College of the Desert is approximately 10,500 students. We have approximately 54% female and 45% male students in our population.

For our international students: we currently have 220 international students represented in our program from over 40 countries. We have approximately 60% male and 40% female represented in this population as well.

ESL program and/or support services

Students can study intensive English at the Intensive English Academy (IEA) located on the College of the Desert campus. The IEA offers 25 hours per week of instruction in the English language for a period of either 8 or 16 weeks. Classes focus on grammar, reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and are TOEFL prep based. Classes are offered from the beginning to advanced level (basic English skills are needed to enter the program). There are 3 levels at the IEA and each level requires 16 weeks of study to advance to the next level. However, students will complete one level in only 8 weeks in our Summer Accelerated Program. Students who complete Level 3 at the IEA can enter College of the Desert without the TOEFL! Support services at the IEA are quite extensive and are handled through the International Student Office of College of the Desert. Services include housing, academic advising, social activities, immigration advising as well as access to the services located on the COD campus.

Student Housing options

Although COD does not have dormitories, we do have a Housing Coordinator who will assist international students with housing placement into either a local host family or off campus apartment. All placement is done prior to the student’s arrival on campus.

Host family option: We offer both a room with meals option for $700 per month and a room only option for $500 per month. The room only option includes access to the kitchen, but the student buys and prepares their own food. Both options require our host families to actively participate with our international students and provide a warm and friendly home.

Off-campus apartments: There are many different apartment options in our area. However, we work with 2-3 local apartments that are within walking or bicycle distance from the campus. Typical apartment rental rates begin at $900 per month; all apartments are unfurnished.

Please click here for more information about student housing.

Admission requirements

All applicants must submit:

  1. International Student Application. Please click here to download the application.
  2. $30 application fee.
  3. Financial statement verifying our estimated tuition and living expenses. Please click here for more information.
  4. Proof of secondary school/high school completion (transcripts are recommended.)
  5. English proficiency requirements: 32 iBT or 400 paper based TOEFL, 3.5 IELTS, Pre-2 Grade on STEP test. We can waive the English proficiency requirements based on student completion of certain levels at ESL school. Please click here for a list of ESL schools that we have agreements with.
  6. Passport information page.
  7. Housing application with $30 housing placement fee.

NOTE: Students applying directly to our Intensive English Academy do not require a TOEFL/IELTS score.

Transfer students: In addition to the above requirements, transfer students must submit a completed Transfer Form verifying current status as well as copies of their I-20, F-1 visa, and I-94.

International Student visas issued

College of the Desert and the Intensive English Academy issue the I-20 which can be used to apply for the F-1 visa at the US Embassy.

International Internship Program (IIP) works with InterExchange for J-1 visa assistance.

Cost of attendance and financial assistance

For the college program: We anticipate a total of $16,500 for the 2012-2013 school year. This includes both tuition and living expenses.

For the Intensive English Academy: The estimated tuition and living expenses will vary based on the amount of time requested for study: 8 weeks: $4,000; 16 weeks: $7,700, 24 weeks: $11,650; 32 weeks: $15,320; 40 weeks: $19,300

Please click here for a breakdown of all fees.

Although College of the Desert is not able to offer financial aid for students, we do have a scholarship program for continuing students. Merit based scholarships are offered each semester and have various application requirements.