10 Ways to Know About For-Profit Colleges

Sure, they’re accredited. Yes, they have a placement office. Of course they have commercials that include testimonials from their graduates. They’ve been around a long time. Well, there’s more to know.

  1. Is this field of study in line with the results of assessment testing?
  2. Are you considering this program just to make good money?
  3. Do you think you shouldn’t work while you attend this school?
  4. Do you have to attend five days a week?
  5. How does it compare to its competitors?
  6. What’s the graduation rate?
  7. What’s the pre-graduation employment rate?
  8. What’s the post-graduation employment rate?
  9. What is the employer’s market share in the industry?
  10. Do you realize you may have to adjust your personal life, i.e., who’s in it?

Traditionally Gender-Specific Industries

If you’re studying in a traditionally male or traditionally female field, the above questions matter if you’re of the opposite sex. You don’t want to spend months or years studying when you’re unlikely to be taken seriously in the field. This applies more to women working in traditionally male jobs. It can matter for men in typically female jobs as well. Bias is bias. Consider the Women in Tech movement or the success of male nurses.


Be patient. Rushing can take you headlong into a huge or expensive mistake. Waiting usually pays. These schools are usually flexible with enrollment. The pressure is on them, not you. Don’t let them convince you otherwise.

Get References from Actual Graduates

LinkedIn can help with this. Use the name of your potential school to search for graduates. Read their profiles to see how far their educations took them. It’s also possible to connect with them and get a conversation going. Try to meet them if they live locally. That can save you much unnecessary and misguided effort.