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College Search Process

You’ve invested time exploring your interests, skills, and talents.  You’ve done your best to be your best in school — and in life.  Now it’s time to narrow your choices and really go for what you want.

Check back here to see how to pull it all together: identifying your best learning style for college and beyond; learn about our six area colleges and universities; meet face-to-face with college reps; attend state and area college fairs; get help building your winning application packet; learn about the Common and Universal applications; seriously explore trade and apprenticeship programs; talk to recruiters; and more!

The future is yours!  Get ready to go get ‘em!

Community College

Two-year colleges offer comprehensive programs that lead to an associate degree or a certificate in a specified field. Courses of study include a liberal arts/transfer curriculum that provides the courses for the first 2 years leading to a baccalaureate degree; occupational/technical programs that prepare students for employment or assist those already employed to upgrade their skills; developmental education programs that help students improve their basic academic skills; and courses that respond to individuals’ and communities’ social, intellectual and recreational interests.

Advantages of Community Colleges:

  • Save money; attend a local community college for the first 2 years and then transfer to a 4-year college to complete your baccalaureate degree
  • Oregon Promise Grant– A state grant that covers some or all tuition at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED recipients.
  • Career Pathways – Provides visual roadmaps of career-technical certificate programs at all Oregon Community Colleges.
  • Oregon Transfer Degree- these degrees are designed for students who want to complete the first two years of college education, with flexibility to transfer to any insitution within the Oregon University Stytem (OUS). Students must talk to individual schools for additional information.
  • Most community colleges offer courses online, at night or on weekends

Success Tips When Applying

  • Each community college has individual scholarship programs. Don’t overlook these opportunities! 
  • Create the same type of application plan that you would for 4-year colleges
  • If a student plans to transfer to a 4-year university after graduating, they should meet with a community college advisor and ensure that courses meet the transfer requirements. 
  • Apply for dual enrollment, in which you take some courses at the community college and some at the university!

Lane Community College Steps for Admissions:

Step 1: Create an Email Account if you don’t already have one
Step 2: Apply for Admission Once you have completed your credit admission on-line, you will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of your application and another e-mail with your Lane ID “L” student identification number.
Step 3: Apply for Financial Aid
Step 4: Schedule your Placement Testing appointment (after receiving your L#)
Step 5: Schedule a Student Orientation, Advising & Registration (SOAR) session Click here for upcoming terms’ SOAR dates. SOAR includes academic advising and new student information.  There is also an optional Money Matters workshop offered on the same day.
Step 6: Register for Classes Instructions will be provided for Fall term students at SOAR
If you have any questions about academic advising or programs offered at Lane Community College, contact the Counseling Department:

  • email or call (541) 463-3200
  • come by the Counseling and Advising Center at the 30th Avenue campus, in Building 1, Room 103

Early Decision vs. Early Action

If your child finds a college that seems a perfect fit, applying early may be a good idea. Early decision and early action plans allow your child to apply early (usually in November) and get an admission decision from the college well before the usual spring notification date. You know by December or January whether your child has been accepted at the first-choice college.Sometimes, students who apply under these plans have a better chance of acceptance than they would through the regular admission process. These plans are also good for colleges because they get students who really want to go to the college to commit early in the process.Your child should understand the differences between early decision and early action before sending in applications. Keep in mind, also, that the rules may vary somewhat by college. Your child can check with the school counselor to get an understanding of the early  applicant’s rights and obligations. Below are some important facts about the three types of early-application plan. 

Early decision plans are binding. Your child agrees to attend the college if accepted and if the college offers an adequate financial aid package. Although your child can apply to only one college for early decision, applying to other colleges through the regular admission process is allowed. If your child is accepted by the first-choice college early, all other applications must be withdrawn.  

Early action plans are similar to early decision plans, but are not binding. If accepted, your child can choose to commit to the college immediately, or wait until the spring. Under these plans, your child may also apply early action to other colleges. Usually, candidates have until the late spring to let the college know their decision.  

Single-choice early action is a new option offered by a few colleges. This plan works the same way as other early action plans, but candidates may not apply early (either early action or early decision) to any other college. Your child can still apply to other colleges under regular decision plans and is not required to give a final answer to the early-application college until the regular decision deadline.


Application Type Binding Can Apply Early to Other Colleges Can Apply to Other Colleges Under Regular Admission
Early Decision Yes No Yes
Early Action No Yes Yes
Single-Choice Early Action No No Yes


Should My Child Apply Under One of These Plans?

Your child should apply under an early decision or early action plan only if your child is very sure about wanting to attend a particular college. You child should not apply under an early decision or early action plan if planning to weigh offers and financial aid packages from several colleges later in the spring. Also, your child shouldn’t apply early if it would be beneficial to have more senior year work to show a college.

Which Colleges Offer Early Plans?

More than 400 colleges offer an early decision plan, an early action plan, or both. Use our College Search to look up each college your child is interested in and see if it offers these options.

A Last Word of Advice:

In the fall, it may seem appealing to get the college decision over with, but your child may want to keep options open during senior year, while learning more about colleges and personal preferences.  On the other hand, your child may be confident of thriving at a certain college. If so, your child is the type of student early decision was created for.

Early Decision and Early Action Calendar

If your child is even considering the option of early decision or early action, here are the steps your child needs to take:

Junior Year


  • Take college admission tests, such as the ACT.
  • Visit colleges during spring break.


  • Take ACT to demonstrate your knowledge and achievement in specific subject areas and to help you stand out on your college applications.
  • Work hard and keep up good grades.

Senior Year


  • Work on and complete applications.
  • Get teachers to write letters of recommendation.
  • File early decision or early action applications according to college deadlines and procedures.
  • Take the ACT if necessary (Note: October is the last test date that makes scores available in time for early decision and early action programs).
  • If necessary, register for CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®.


  • File any early applications by the college deadline.
  • Follow up with teacher recommendations.
  • Work on regular-decision applications as a backup in case you’re not accepted early decision or early action.
  • File the PROFILE and any other college-based financial aid forms that may be required of early decision candidates.

Playing Sports in College

Visit the websites for these athletic associations to learn about participating schools, and requirements to play. Make an appointment with your counselor if you plan to play sports in college. Click here for an information sheet.

– NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association – Divisions I, II, and III)

– NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics)

– NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association)

Oregon Colleges and Universities

Admission for Oregon public universities are identical in terms of the core curriculum credits they require from high school graduates, and some require either an SAT or ACT test scores.

Finalize the list of colleges you plan to apply to and write down application deadlines. These can vary by college and by individual program.

Some colleges offer the opportunity to apply early. Other colleges don’t have a firm deadline (also known as rolling admissions). This means you can apply at any point before a term starts.



Top 10 Things Parents Should Remember About The College Search Process