Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

girl studying in Cascade library

Before you use financial aid to pay for your education you need to identify your goals. Why are you in school?

Academic goals checklist

If you can say yes to each item on this checklist, you are on the right track. If not, we have resources to guide you with making these decisions.

I know what I want to do after college

We can help you it figure out!

If you don’t know what you want to do, the PCC Career Centers can help. The Career Resource Centers are the place to go for help in exploring career options. Many students enter PCC undecided about their educational and career plans.

Free services and resources at the Career Centers include:

  • Professional assistance from Career Resource Center Coordinators.
  • Self-assessments to assist you in learning more about how your interests, skills and values fit within the world of work.
  • Career Library – A resource library of books and handouts.
  • DISCOVER and Oregon Career Information System (CIS), online career planning programs and databases full of useful occupational information.
  • Career related websites.
  • Scholarship Resources including handouts such as the Scholarship & Financial Aid websites list, directories of national scholarships and an online scholarship database through CIS
  • Transfer resources with information about universities, majors, academic requirements, college costs, and other transfer issues. Resources include college catalogs, college directories, and online college planning programs.
  • Samples of resumes and cover letters offer student examples of appropriate job-search materials.

I’ve clearly identified my academic goals and declared a major 

Get help choosing a major!

academic track paws

PCC offers many academic programs and degrees to help you meet your goals. Getting the right information to help you start your academic career at PCC is very important.

  • The Academic Track will give you an overview of what degree options are available and where to go if you are not sure what you want to do.
  • Make sure that you meet with an academic advisor about the different degree options and what might best fit your goals.
  • To get a glimpse of what PCC has to offer, check out our Academic Programs.
  • Grad Plan is a web-based tool to help students monitor their progress toward their degree.  GRAD Plan combines PCC's degree requirements and your completed coursework with an easy-to-read worksheet to see how completed courses count toward degree requirements.

I know how long it will take to complete my degree

Use the completion calculator!

To effectively use financial aid, you'll need to know how many years you plan on taking to earn your degree or certificate. Even if it's called a "two year" degree or a "four year" degree, every student follows their own timeline, and some students take more or fewer years to complete. Use the calculator below to get a rough estimate. If you're still not sure how long it will take you, work with an academic advisor to create a timeline for your education.

Completion Calculator
graduation icon

Your enrollment status is .

It will take you about terms to complete your degree.

You should budget to be in school for about more years.

I know how much my starting wage will be at my job

Figure out your future salary!

money icon
Be realistic.

It's tempting to look at the median income or even the top range of salaries for your future job. But the truth is that most people don't start at those levels. Realistically, it takes years of experience to work up to those incomes. Accept the fact that during repayment, you will be making toward the lower range of your future income.

To figure out how much student debt you'll be able to afford, you need to estimate how much money you'll be making after you graduate. Determine the job that your education is preparing you for, and then find the starting annual income for that job using one of the resources below:

  • State of Oregon Occupation info: search for your job, and then find the wages chart. Look at the number in 10th percentile column: this will most likely be your starting income.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: find your job, and look at the wage chart. Look at the number in 10th percentile column: this will most likely be your starting income.
  • MAP in MyPCC: go to the My Courses tab in MyPCC and log in to MAP. Go to Occupations, find your future job, and then go to the wages page to find the annual entry level income.