Berkeley, CA 94704
If you want to attend community college while also studying at UC Berkeley, Berkeley City College is the perfect place. You may even be able to take some lower-division Berkeley City College classes on the UC Berkeley campus.
Located just two blocks from UC Berkeley, this campus offers an easy stroll onto the university grounds or into downtown Berkeley. It's also easily accessible by BART. The Downtown Berkeley BART station is just around the corner.
As this campus's location may suggest, it focuses on classes that will prepare you to transfer to a university. If you intend to do the first part of your education at a community college and then transfer to UC Berkeley (or elsewhere), this location is a good choice.
Berkeley City College is also a good choice if your weekday schedule is busy with a job or other obligations. Some of the classes here are available online, meaning you can complete your coursework anywhere you have an internet connection. Other classes are offered as hybrids, meaning much of the work is done online with occasional meetings. Many of the courses at Berkeley City College are taught in the evening, so a full-time day job will not prevent you from attending.
Alameda, CA 94501
The College of Alameda is allegedly the state's only community college on an island. If you want to be able to claim the honor of having attended such a unique institution, make sure you take at least a class or two here.
This college's main campus is located on a 62-acre site on the island of Alameda. It's almost directly across the water from Jack London Square. If you drive to Alameda through the Webster Street Tube, the College of Alameda will be on your right shortly after you reach the island.
The courses offered at many of the community colleges tend to be fairly interchangeable. That is, you can take English or physics or math classes pretty much anywhere. The College of Alameda has one of the exceptions. It offers programs in aviation maintenance. These are not on the main campus. Instead, they're offered at a satellite site near the Oakland International Airport.
The College of Alameda also offers accredited programs in other subjects, including dental assistance and automotive service.
Oakland, CA 94607
If you were simply to read the names of the four colleges that make up the Peralta Community College District, you would probably assume that Merritt College would be next to Lake Merritt. Surprisingly, this isn't the case. Instead, Laney College is the one beside Oakland's beautiful lake.
Laney College is also near downtown Oakland. It's an easy walk to the Oakland Museum of California and other sights. If transportation is an issue, you'll be glad to know that Laney is just a block away from the Lake Merritt BART station.
With over 14,000 students, you can expect to feel like you're part of a big, bustling school. This isn't the kind of community college with few enough people that you feel like you know everyone. It fits comfortably into its busy urban environment.
As you would expect from a school with so many students, Laney offers classes in a wide range of subjects. These run the gamut from technology classes (in the college's new technology center) to classes in culinary arts.
Oakland, CA 94619
As mentioned in the description of Laney College, Merritt College isn't actually near Lake Merritt. Instead, it's located in the charming Oakland Hills. If a beautiful atmosphere is important to your state of mind, look no further.
This beautiful location comes with one major drawback. There is no BART station within easy walking distance of this campus. This means you would need to rely on other transportation options, such as the bus or a car.
The educational programs here, like at Laney, run the gamut – though most of the acclaimed programs are in the humanities. These include, for example, nursing, child development, and nutrition. However, these certainly aren't the only programs offered, and you can study plenty of other topics at this campus.