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FAQs

Basic Facts

Nationally Ranked in the top 5 community colleges in Washington State and top 50 in the US! - Washington Monthly 2013 "America's 50 Best Community Colleges".

Tacoma Community College (TCC) is located in Tacoma, Washington, a large, beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest, just 35 minutes south of Seattle. Tacoma is a safe and friendly place to live and study!

TCC was established in 1965 and is fully accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges as a 2-year public college.

  • Total enrollment: 9,000
  • International students: Nearly 450, from over 40 different countries
  • University Transfer Programs: Over 60
  • 1-and 2-Year Certificate Programs: Over 30
  • Levels of EAP (English Language) Classes: 5
  • Universities with Guaranteed Transfer Agreements: 21
  • Campus Clubs: Over 20

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to take the TOEFL to be accepted at TCC?

No, we have an English for Academic Purposes Program (EAP) which allows TCC to admit students without a TOEFL score.  All international students take an English language placement exam upon arrival.  Please see the English Language Program (EAP) page for more information. If you do have an official and valid TOEFL score that meets the minimum score for direct placement into English 101, bring proof of this with you on the first day of orientation.

What happens after I send my application to Tacoma Community College?

Once we receive a complete application, your materials will be reviewed and processed. You will be issued an I-20 which will be mailed to you in your admissions package. You present your admissions package at the American consulate or embassy nearest your home to obtain your student visa. 

Where do international students usually live?

Through the International Housing Program, students can choose an American homestay or an off-campus apartment. See the Housing information page for more details.

When does school begin?

Classes are held quarterly, which means you can begin your studies in September (Fall), January (Winter), March (Spring), or June (Summer).  To see an up-to-date schedule, see the Dates & Deadlines page.

How will I get to TCC from the Seattle/Tacoma International Airport?

A TCC representative is available to meet students upon their arrival.  If you wish to have this service, send your flight information as soon as your plans have been finalized. Airport pickup is included in the Housing Application Fee for students participating in the homestay program. If you don't participate in the housing program, this service can be provided for $75. Please make sure to book your flight to Seattle/Tacoma (airport code: SEA), not Washington, DC (airport code: IAD or DCA)!

How do I choose my classes?

An advisor will help you with class selection and registration during orientation before your first quarter begins.  After that, you can make an appointment with your advisor during the quarter or any time you have questions. 

How many credits should I take?

New international students must enroll for at least 12 credits per quarter. This means you will have 12 hours of instruction each week. A typical course load is 15 credits per quarter, and you may take up to 19 credits without special permission.

When should I pay tuition?

Tuition is paid after you register for classes. The deadline for paying tuition is the second Friday of each quarter. If you are having difficulty paying for tuition, please see James Newman to discuss a payment plan.

Do I need to buy medical insurance?

Yes, all international students are required to purchase medical insurance through the college.  Please see the Medical Insurance information page for detailed information. 

Can international students work?

International students are allowed to work on campus 16 hours per week if they are in good academic standing and if there is a position available.  New international students must attend TCC for at least one quarter before beginning on-campus work. Off-campus work is not allowed unless US Immigration gives special permission. After you graduate from TCC you may stay in the US and work full-time in your chosen career field through a special program called Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please see James Newman for more information.

Will I need to buy a car?

No.  Some students buy cars, but it is not necessary to do so.  There is a bus system in Tacoma. In fact, TCC has its own transit center, so it is very easy to go anywhere in town, or even to Seattle, from the college. All of the major buses in Tacoma stop on campus.  

Is a community college like a university?

The first 2 years of classes at a community college are the same as the first 2 years at a university.  You can choose to complete the first 2 years of a bachelor's degree at either type of school because the curriculum is the same. Community colleges have less-expensive tuition, classes are smaller and students receive more personalized instruction from teachers. 

How do I transfer to a university?

After completing your 2-year associate degree, you can transfer and complete 2 more years at a university in order to complete a bachelor's degree.  A special transfer advisor will help you with the process of choosing a university and submitting an application.  See our University Transfer page for more details.

Where can I have my documents translated into English?   

  WORLD EDUCATION SERVICES, INC.
   PO Box 5087
   Bowling Green Station
   New York NY   10274-5087
   Phone:  212.966.6311 email
   Web site:   www.wes.org

   FOUNDATION FOR INTERNATIONAL SERVICES, INC.  
   505 5th Ave. South, Suite 101
   Edmonds WA  98020
   Phone: 425.248.2255 email Web site:   www.fis-web.com

   ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS EVALUATION INSTITUTE, INC.
   PO Box  6908
   Beverly Hills CA   90212
   Phone:   310.275.3530
   Web site:   www.acei1.com

   INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION SERVICES  AACRAO
   Phone:  509.577.7435 email
   Website:   www.aacrao.org

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