There are many college options. Find ones that will be a good fit by thinking about your future goals, needs and preferences.
How to find colleges that will be a good fit
Whether you are deciding what colleges to apply to, what college to attend, or just exploring your options, your goal is to learn about the academic programs, student life, and financial aid opportunities available at a college so you can find a good college fit.
How to explore colleges
- Search online college databases like College Scorecard and BigFuture.
- Go to each college’s website and sign up to receive e-mails and an information packet.
- Follow college accounts on social media.
- Take an in-person or virtual campus tour.
- Attend an info session.
- Talk to students, staff, and alumni of a school.
- Learn about Oregon colleges.
Other considerations when exploring colleges
Authorized to award degrees
Oregon must approve colleges to operate in the state and grant degrees. If a school is not approved in Oregon, any degree or credential you earn will not be recognized.
Colleges can choose to be evaluated by different accreditation organizations. They are accredited if they meet the minimum standards.
Accreditation is not required by law. However, regional (not national) accreditation is usually best. Regional accreditation means it’s more likely your credits will transfer between colleges. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities provides regional accreditation in Oregon.
For-profit v. non-profit
Most colleges, including public community colleges and universities are not-for-profit. However, many private career or technical schools are for-profit.
Are for-profit colleges bad? No. But these institutions exist, at least in part, to earn money for their owners and shareholders. That means they all are working to make a profit.
For some, that means making decisions that will help them make more money, rather than making decisions that are in the best interests of their students. But that’s not true for all. In fact, in some cases, a for-profit college might be the best fit for you. Your job is to research all your college options carefully.