How to Get Started

Preparing for College

The college environment differs greatly from high school or other learning environments you may have previously encountered.  According to the Oregon Post-Secondary Education Transition Guide:

    "If students are interested in attending college, they need to know about and do many
    things in order to be successful in that setting.  This is particularly true for those who
    wish to enroll in and complete Academic and Professional-Technical Programs."
The Guide lists the following key factors for a student's success:

  • level of interest and motivation
  • independence, self-direction and self-advocacy skills, knowledge about him or herself
  • academic abilities
  • information about college programs and services
  • resources for support.

These factors are equally important whether you are a traditional student transitioning from high school, or a student returning to school at a later time in your life.  

Admission & Registration

Admission procedures are outlined in the college catalog and in the schedule of classes published each term. You may also go to the COCC Admissions website, for more information.

If you believe you will need any special service or accommodation based on disability, it is critical that you contact the office of Services for Students with Disabilities, located on the ground floor of Boyle Education Center (BEC), 383-7583, as soon as possible. Determining what service you are eligible for and making the necessary arrangements to have it in place by the time classes begin often takes time. Ideally, prospective students should contact the SSD office about eight weeks prior to enrollment. Students in high school transition programs will want to make this contact even earlier, about midway through their senior year. This early contact will help us, and you, to do the appropriate planning. COCC will make every reasonable effort to accommodate you even if you do not meet these recommended timelines, and certain accommodations can be arranged without a lot of preplanning. Still, to assure that we are able to provide the service you need, we urge you to make every effort to meet with the SSD office early. (Examples of accommodations where early planning is very important include requests for sign language interpreters, print material in alternate format or specialized equipment.)

Initial Meeting

The initial meeting covers a lot of information and is designed to prepare you for your next steps of orientation and registration (if you have not already done so).  At this meeting, be prepared to discuss:  

  • your plans and goals
  • a review of the strategies and accommodations which have worked for you in other learning environments, and of your existing support system
  • a discussion of COCC's services, programs and facilities
  • your request for specific services and accommodations at COCC, and a discussion of your responsibilities to advocate for yourself
  • a review of the documentation of disability you provide which supports the accommodation requests you are making.

Depending on your educational plans and/or special needs, you may be advised by the Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities or you may be assigned to an advising group or individual advisor.

You may need to schedule a second meeting sometime after you have registered for classes and before the term begins to determine your eligible accommodations.

Auditing Classes

Students who want the experience of taking a particular class or classes but do not wish credit may register as "audit" students in college courses. Audit students are not required to meet specific course requirements but should participate fully in class activities. Persons who want to explore college but are not sure if they are ready for college-level work and demands may find the audit option attractive. For more information, see the COCC catalog.

Adult Basic Skills

Students who are interested in COCC-but not ready for college credit instruction-should look into Adult Basic Skills (ABS). The ABS program provides high school completion courses, GED test preparation, and basic skills instruction in reading, writing, spelling, math, study skills and basic computer technology. Assessments are available to help the student determine current skill levels and learning style. Enrollment occurs through the quarter. For more information, call COCC Adult Basic Education, (541) 504-2950, or go to


 » Return to Guide for Students with Disabilities Index

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