Enrollment Steps

There are six important steps a student should take before beginning coursework at College of the Desert:

  1. Admission Application
  2. Financial Aid Application (optional)
  3. Orientation
  4. Placement
  5. Counseling/Advising
  6. Registration

The College requires all NEW students to participate in these steps.

1.   Admission Application

Complete the COD Admission Application and submit all necessary transcripts to the Admissions & Records Office.

  • The COD Admission Application is available online and must be completed by all new students intending to enroll at College of the Desert.
  • Continuously enrolled students are not required to reapply. However, two semesters break in enrollment requires a new application.
  • After completing the application, the Admissions & Records Office will email all new students (to the email provided in the admission application) information regarding next steps as outlined on College of the Desert's Getting Started webpage. Students must wait two business days to log into their MyCOD Student Portal where they will receive their College of the Desert Student Identification Number that is sent to the MyCOD email account when the student first applies for admission to the College.

2.    Financial Aid Application (optional)

Students in need of financial assistance to help afford college should apply for financial aid.

3.    Orientation

Orientation services are required for all students entering COD.

  • Students will receive academic planning assistance; information about college facilities, resources, and policies; and a review of student rights and responsibilities.
  • An online orientation is available through the MyCOD portal. Instructions for accessing the online orientation are located on the College of the Desert's "Getting Started" webpage.
  • Contact the Counseling Center by phone at 760.773.2521 or visit the Counseling webpage for more information. 

4.    Placement

All students have a right to access transfer-level English and math.  New, first-time students are placed in English, reading, and mathematics based on a multiple measures.  Placement information and resources for guided self-placement are available on the College website.  Students are encouraged to speak with a counselor regarding their placement.

5.    Counseling/Advising

Student Education Plans (SEPs)

Upon admission to the College all students are required to declare an educational goal. A specific educational goal, along with a Student Education Plan (SEP), is required of all students once they have completed 15 degree applicable units or attended three consecutive semesters.

An SEP is a planning tool that students complete online via Self-Service Student Planning. The Counseling Center offers many opportunities for students to create an SEP, including workshops, open labs and individual appointments.  The SEP is based on a student's future academic and career goals. It outlines a semester by semester plan of suggested courses to take based on major and transfer plans, taking into consideration the sequence of courses.  

Priority Registration will be given to students who work with a counselor to develop a Student Education Plan (SEP), succeed in their classes, and stay on track.

Abbreviated SEP - one to two terms in length designed to meet students' immediate needs that must be created before registering for first term classes.

Comprehensive SEP - a more detailed SEP that outlines completion to students' education objectives. A comprehensive SEP takes into account students' interests, skills, career and educational goals, major, potential transfer institutions, and the steps needed to take on an educational path to complete the educational goal. The comprehensive SEP includes the student's educational goal and course of study requirements, such as the requirements for the major, transfer, certificate, program, applicable course prerequisites or corequisites, the need for basic skills, placement, and the need for referral to other support and instructional services. The comprehensive SEP is tailored to meet each student's individual needs and interests and can be created before or after registering for classes.

The Comprehensive SEP is a participation requirement for the following programs:

  • EOPS
  • DSPS
  • CalWORKs
  • Veterans
  • Athletics
  • Reentry

If a student is transferring to College of the Desert from another college or university, prior to scheduling an appointment for an SEP, he or she must:

  • Send official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities previously attended to the Admissions & Records Office.
  • Verify with the Admissions & Records Office that transcripts have been received. 

Counseling faculty are available in the Counseling Center. Counselors will assist students with academic, personal, and career goal setting and provide information about available campus resources to help students achieve their goals. A primary role of a counselor is to assist students in developing a Student Education Plan (SEP).

Faculty Advisors are available in every academic department. Advisors can provide valuable information about department majors, career pathways, and will work collaboratively with counselors to advise students with regard to the student's educational and career goals. A list of advisors and their contact information is listed in the Schedule of Classes each semester.


Some students may be exempt from the placement, orientation, and/or the counseling/advising components if they meet certain criteria (Title 5, section 55532). However, students will not be exempt from the admissions and follow-up components. Information about exemption eligibility is available on the Counseling Center webpage.

Students wishing to obtain an exemption in any of the three areas mentioned should submit an Exemption Request, along with supporting documentation, to the Counseling Center. If approved, the Counseling Center staff will clear the student to register for classes. This does not exempt students from meeting prerequisite requirements. For more information, contact the Counseling Center at 760.773.2521.

6.    Registration

Priority Registration

College of the Desert is committed to the philosophy that all students should have fair and equitable access to courses and programs within the resources and in accordance with State Education Code, Title 5 Section 58108, provisions and guidelines adopted by the Board of Governors. Furthermore, the College believes that students should be able to progress toward their stated educational objectives in a timely manner.

The primary mission of the College is to provide transfer and vocational courses and programs. Therefore, priority is extended to students who have demonstrated satisfactory academic progress toward their declared educational objectives.