We demonstrate that eigenvalue problems in ordinary differential equations can be recast in a formulation suitable for the solution by polynomial collocation. It is shown that the well-posedness of the two formulations is equivalent in the regular as well as in the singular case. Thus, a collocation code equipped with asymptotically correct error estimation and adaptive mesh selection can be successfully applied to compute the eigenvalues and eigenfunctions efficiently and with reliable control of the accuracy. Numerical examples illustrate this claim.