Know Why You Are in School

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!

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If you don’t know what you want to do, read the How to Choose a Career track! It takes you step-by-step through the process of picking a goal that fits you.

You can also visit a Career Exploration Center for hands-on planning and goal setting!

I know my academic goals and my major 

Get help choosing a degree and major!

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

  • The Academic Track gives you an overview of PCC degrees, and a plan for choosing the best degree for you.
  • Meet with an academic advisor about which major what might best fit your goals.

I know how long it will take to get 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
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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 the starting wage at my future job

Figure out your future salary!

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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.
  • Oregon CIS in MyPCC: go to the My Courses tab in MyPCC and click Oregon CIS. Under Explore Careers, go to Occupations, find your future job, and then click Wages to find entry level income.