How do I become a student at COD?

Student Success & Support Program

College of the Desert offers a comprehensive Student Success & Support Program (SSSP) involving the entire campus community. The goals are to ensure that all students complete their college courses, persist to the next academic term, and achieve their educational objectives through the components of the student success process. It is the College’s way of supporting the student’s right to succeed in college. Student Success is a partnership/agreement between students and College of the Desert.  

College Responsibilities Include

  1. Providing an admissions and records process that will enable the College to collect state-required demographic information that will be used as a basis for providing students with appropriate services.
  2. Providing an assessment process that uses multiple measures to determine academic readiness in English, reading, and math.
  3. Providing an orientation process designed to acquaint students with college programs and services, facilities and grounds, academic expectations, and College policies and procedures.
  4. Providing counseling and advisement services to assist students in course selection, development of an Abbreviated Student Education Plan (SEP) prior to enrolling the first time, and the development of a Comprehensive SEP. Follow-up advisement and counseling services will be provided to all students with a particular focus on students who have not declared an educational goal, are enrolled in basic skills courses, are on academic or progress probation/disqualification, or have been identified as high-risk students.
  5. Establishing a process to monitor student progress and provide the necessary assistance toward meeting the student’s goals.

As part of the State of California Title 5 Regulations, all students are expected to participate in the activities to promote success unless they are exempt (see Exemptions section on "How do I enroll in courses at COD?").

Students Responsibilities Include

  1. Participating in assessment, orientation, and counseling/advisement services and other follow-up services deemed necessary by the College in order to complete their stated educational goal.
  2. Acquiring and reading the College catalog, schedule of classes, handouts, and other student materials that detail College policies and procedures.
  3. Submitting unofficial transcripts for all high schools and/or colleges attended to their counselor/advisor if the student would like prior coursework to be utilized for course placements.
  4. Submitting official transcripts to the Admissions & Records Office if the student is requesting official course credit for prior coursework. All official transcripts submitted to Admissions & Records Office become the property of College of the Desert.
  5. Stating an educational goal at the time of registration and a specific informed educational goal after completion of 15 units.
  6. Completing a first semester online individual Student Education Plan (SEP) with the assistance of a counselor or advisor, usually in a Student Planning Workshop.
  7. Attending all classes and completing all course assignments.
  8. Completing courses and maintaining progress toward their stated goals.


Individuals who meet any one of the following criteria are eligible to attend College of the Desert:

  • Have graduated from high school
  • Have passed the CA High School Proficiency Exam or
  • Have passed the GED Examination or
  • 18 years of age or older and can benefit from instruction

Certain two-year programs have special admission requirements.

Non-Graduates of High School

For those interested, the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program provides an alternative way to complete high school graduation requirements. For more information, contact (760) 776-7318.

Concurrent Enrollment of High School Students

In accordance with the California Education Code 76000-76002, College of the Desert will consider students K-12th grades only for concurrent enrollment as Special Admit Students. The intent of the “Presley Bill” allows for enrollment of high school students to provide an opportunity for students who are capable of advanced work that is not offered in the high schools. Students will be considered for admission only for reasons consistent with the intent of the program. Examples of unacceptable reasons include decreasing the time needed to graduate from high school, substituting for course work not available in home-study programs or private schools, and taking coursework equivalent to courses offered in high schools (below college-level).

Students who wish to enroll in types of courses that are offered in their local school districts also will be denied admission. For instance, Physical Education is offered in the local schools. Requesting to take fencing because that specific sport is not offered is not acceptable. Non-baccalaureate courses are not acceptable. Coursework taken at the College by concurrently enrolled students will be placed on the College transcript and become part of the student’s permanent collegiate record.

The responsibility to make the determination and recommendation of the student’s preparation belongs to the school district in which the student is enrolled. Authority to restrict the admission or enrollment of a special part-time or full-time student in any session based on age, grade-level completion, current school performance, or assessment and placement procedures in conformance with student success  regulations remains the prerogative of College of the Desert. All courses will be taken for college credit. The school of attendance maintains the right to apply course credit. The parent or guardian of a pupil not enrolled in a public school retains the ability to petition directly the Superintendent/President or designee for the pupil’s special admission on a part-time or full-time basis. 

To be considered for admission as a special part-time or full-time student, the student must meet the eligibility standards established in Education Code, section 48800.05. Special part-time and full-time students are given low enrollment priority in accordance with AB 967. Students are subject to tuition and fees. The application can be downloaded under the Admissions & Records webpage of the College website.

High School students applying for concurrent enrollment will be notified of their status within 2 weeks of submitting their completed application. In the event a student is denied admission, the student may petition the appropriate dean. The dean in which the course resides will review the appeal and inform the student in writing of the decision.

Concurrent Enrollment-Dual Credit Program

The College has partnered with Coachella Valley, Desert Sands, and Palm Springs Unified School Districts to offer a Concurrent Enrollment - Dual Credit Program of study. This program allows students to earn high school credit while earning college credits. The courses offered through COD at the high school may be transferable to the UC or CSU university systems. The program's intent is to provide educational enrichment opportunities for a limited number of eligible high school students, rather than to reduce current course requirements of secondary schools, and also to help ensure a smoother transition from high school to college by providing students with greater exposure to the collegiate atmosphere (Education Code, section 48800). If you have questions, please contact the counseling center at your local high school. The Concurrent Enrollment-Dual Credit Program is specifically designed to accelerate the academic or vocational career of high school students. Admission is allowed for most college level courses as approved by the high school liaison (counselor), provided students have taken the assessment test and meet the prerequisites. Additional course restrictions may be applied at the discretion of the College or high school. High school students are exempt from enrollment fees and books may be provided.

The following are not allowed:

  • Physical Education classes
  • Beginning music performance or art activity courses
  • Recreation or hobbies
  • Remedial courses

High School Students Admittance into Career Tech & Performing Arts Classes

CTE Transitions is defined in the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (Perkins) as a national strategy designed to prepare high school juniors and seniors for improving their academic knowledge and technical skills. High school students who fulfill course specific requirements in Career and Technical Education completer programs can earn college credits for their secondary coursework through the completion of articulated courses. The CTE Transitions Model combines at least two years of secondary and two years of postsecondary education in rigorous academic standards and technical hands-on learning to form a balanced and practical program of study or career pathway development in high school and ROP CTE classes, and/or college classes. This effectively results in a well-rounded educational experience and the increased likelihood of high school graduation and college enrollment in pursuit of post-secondary degrees and/or certificates of completion. CTE Transitions prepares students to be college and career ready.

Students who wish to be considered for enrollment in a Career Tech program (ex: Automotive) who do not meet the grade point average (3.0) required for Concurrent Enrollment/Special Admit Students may be granted admission by exception; the student must submit a letter of recommendation by the COD instructor along with the required Concurrent Enrollment Application.  An assessment test may not be required if the course selected by the student does not have a prerequisite.

High school students who have auditioned and been accepted for a performing role in a theatre arts or music production must submit the Application for Admission, the Special Student Application for Concurrent Enrollment, and written permission of the appropriate dean and faculty member.

Probationary Transfer Students

Applicants whose scholastic achievement at another college represents less than a “C” average may be admitted for a restricted academic program. Satisfactory performance in this work may allow admission to subsequent semesters. Admission on probation is a privilege granted, not a right of the applicant.

Supplemental Application - Nursing Program

Because of departmental requirements and enrollment limitations for Nursing, this department established screening procedures and a supplemental application for their candidates. Students accepted in the Nursing Program must follow the requirements as set forth by the State Board of Nursing. Policies and Procedures are in the Nursing Handbook. Information regarding this application is available on the School of Health Sciences & Education webpage.

International Students with F-1 Visas 

College of the Desert welcomes applications from international students and offers a full-service International Student Program to support students throughout their studies. In order to be considered for admission, international students must submit the International Student Application packet. (International students cannot apply through CCCApply.) In addition to the application, applicants must submit proof of adequate funding for studies at COD and verification of high school/secondary school graduation. Financial and high school/secondary school information must be submitted with an official English translation. Applicants must also submit a minimum TOEFL score of 450 (paper-based test) or 45 (internet-based test). For more information, visit the International Education webpage or send an email.

All International Students must purchase the COD international health insurance plan. International students are also required to enroll for a minimum of 12 units each semester to maintain their F-1 visa status. Students in this status must pay foreign student tuition and capital outlay fees.

Intensive English Academy

Students wishing to study at the Intensive English Academy (IEA) may also apply using the International Student Application. Students applying for the IEA do not need to submit a TOEFL score. Students can choose from 8-week and 16-week programs at the IEA. The IEA is offered on a full-time basis and offers various entry dates throughout the year. International students in the IEA will benefit from 30 hours per week of English instruction in both the classroom and language lab. Students in the IEA must either purchase the COD health insurance plan or provide proof that they have purchased another health insurance plan that is accepted at medical facilities in the United States.

For more information and to obtain an application, please visit the International Education webpage or send an email.