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For-profit colleges can be a great option for many people who need to gain skill-based training while they work full-time. Likewise, for-profit colleges offer many vocational and trade degrees and certificates who are looking for a leg-up in their careers. However, there are some things you should know before dedicating your time and money.


  • Extremely flexible

For-profit colleges are very flexible. They offer degree programs that you can take online at anytime. Some even allow you to complete coursework without deadlines, which means you can take as little or as much time as you need. For some, this is a great opportunity to go to school while also being able to spend time with their family and work, helping you lower the cost of childcare.

  • Easy admissions process

Because for-profit colleges are a business, their admissions process is less selective than traditional nonprofit colleges. They want to be able to admit as many students they can in order to make as much money as they can, which can be a benefit for you if you are unable to get into another school. Most only require a high school diploma or GED, and some don’t even require that.

  • Vocational and skill-based training while you work

Vocational and skill-based training is a huge plus for students who don’t want to go the traditional academic route and instead obtain the skills they need to be successful. Trade programs in auto-mechanics, welding, industrial design, informational technology, cosmetology, medical and dental assistant, and project management. These schools also can offer graduate programs in economics, accounting, and nutrition.

  • Shorter time to get a degree or certificate

Because you will obtain your education mostly online and on your own time, it also means you will be able to complete your degree program in a shorter time than at traditional nonprofit schools.


  • Tuition is generally higher than nonprofit colleges

One of the disadvantages to going to a for-profit school is that tuition is generally expensive and much more than nonprofit schools. Though both will offer financial assistance through FAFSA and other student loan programs, the cost of tuition can be a deal breaker.

  • Degrees or certificates might not be accepted by potential employers

Perhaps the only reason you would want to go to college is so that you can begin a career in your chosen field of interest. Some for-profit degree programs aren’t accepted or are looked down upon by potential employers because of their less-regulatory academic standards. If you want to get a job in a certain field, you need to make sure the school you are planning to attend will be reputable enough to get a job after graduation.

  • Mostly online

This can be a pro and a con depending on your goals. Since degree programs are mostly online, you won’t be able to get as much outside assistance from educators as you would a nonprofit school. Not being able to meet the professor face to face and speak with them one on one can mean a lot to understanding coursework and successfully passing classes.

  • Little to no student support

Another disadvantage is that there won’t be as much student support or campus life at a for-profit institution. Most state colleges and universities will offer tutoring services, student activities such as academic clubs and sports, and Greek life. You won’t be able to get this at a for-profit school, which is why the majority of students who attend these schools are nontraditional students who are typically older.

Weighing these pros and cons will help you choose between a for-profit school and nonprofit school. Always be sure to do your research, no matter which college you decide to go to, be sure of legitimate accreditation, and speak to students and professors at the college in question. Both for-profit and nonprofit colleges can offer great opportunities to get ahead in life, though both can also be a waste of time and money.

Need help finding a scholarship? Peterson’s has you covered.