New & Returning Students Guide

Welcome to Southwestern College! Congratulations on taking the first step in your higher education journey. We offer more than 320 degrees and certificates -- so whether you are interested in a career, looking to transfer to a four-year university, or want to access our many community programs, Southwestern College meets your needs. With campuses in Chula Vista, National City, Otay Mesa, San Ysidro, and the Crown Cove Aquatic Center, you can learn where you live.

Did You Know?

Whether you are new or returning to Southwestern College, we’re glad you’re here!

Selecting Southwestern College as the starting point towards your career and academic objectives is a wise decision. Did you know that community colleges are chosen as the first point of entry to post-secondary education by almost half of all undergraduate students in the United States?

Southwestern College:

  • Promotes the development of essential basic skills
  • Prepares students for transfer to university
  • Provides career technical and workforce development
  • Offers enrichment

If this is your first semester at Southwestern College or your last, you can be enrolled in classes early with priority registration.

Quick Facts about Community Colleges

  • Health care: 59% of new nurses and the majority of other new health-care workers are educated at community colleges.
  • Workforce training: 95% of businesses and organizations that employ community college graduates recommend community college workforce education and training programs.
  • International programs: Close to 100,000 international students attend community colleges, about 39% of all international undergraduate students in the United States.
  • Homeland security: Close to 80% of firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMTs are credentialed at community colleges.
  • Online education: Students at 41% of public community colleges can earn a degree entirely online and 92% of all institutions offer at least one Internet-based course.
  • Earnings: The average expected lifetime earnings for a graduate with an associate degree are $1.6 million, about $.4 million more than a high school graduate earns.

*Data derived from the most current information available as of January 2008 from the American Association of Community Colleges.

Welcome New & Returning Students!

Where Do I Begin?

Steps to follow for new and returning students.

Where Do I Find Help?

Links to on-campus and community resources.

How to Apply

Our application process is free and online. Here's how to get started.

Residency Requirements

How you can establish residency, whether you are documented or undocumented.

Tuition & Fees

Understand our fee structure so you can set up your budget.

Financial Aid

Make the most of the aid we offer, ranging from scholarships to tax credits.

Additional Information

Printable Forms

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any more questions such as adding or dropping classes, college credit earned outside of SWC and more, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.