As a society, we regard university as providing a higher education than a college. However, what we need to understand is that university is theory based while college is practical. The average population will look more highly upon an individual who has acquired a university degree than one who has graduated with a college diploma. Such thinking is very harmful for our society. University is not necessarily the best means of education for all fields. For example, if one wants to become a doctor, university education is the best solution. However, for somebody wanting to pursue a career in computer graphics, it is better to attend college. This is because computer graphics is a more practical field than medicine. This practical training will only be provided by colleges and in such circumstances, attending college is the better choice.
Today, universities such as Athabasca University are attempting to make the boundaries of these systems more permeable. By providing programs such as the Bachelors of Professional Arts (BPA), Athabasca University is enabling students who have earned a two-year college diploma to earn a degree by admitting these students in the third year of the BPA program. Therefore, a student can get two years of practical training from college and continue with two years of theoretical university experience to earn a valid university degree.
This is a great change in the education system, as the two years of college experience are not wasted. It is also better financially because students can pay a cheaper tuition for two years in college and then enter university and pay the appropriate fees. Hence, a student enrolled in a program such as the BPA is paying less than those enrolled in four-year programs at any other university. Also, the student is coming to university with hands-on experience which will aid in finding a job after university. Most employers would want to hire a student who has had both practical and theoretical experience in their field of study compared to another student who has only had one or the other. Hence, Athabasca University is doing a great job at breaking this education barrier between college and university by helping students convert their diplomas into a degree.
After I attained my Digital Media Technical Production Diploma from Seneca College, I decided to pursue university education but the costs were horrendous. When speaking of costs, I am taking about tuition, books, parking fees, student council fees, etc. I also knew that I could not work and attend university due to the time I would have to spend traveling to school, attending lectures, doing group work, and much more. After thorough research, I discovered Distance Education and it was an interesting concept. I discovered Athabasca University in my research and I found the Bachelors of Professional Arts Degree Program to be the best choice for me.
If I attended any university in Ontario, I would always have friends there, which would interfere in my studying and the costs were too much. I also would not be able to attain a full-time job. After studying at Athabasca University for two years, I can surely say that I have been able to work, and save that extra cash I would have spent going to any university in Ontario. I have also learned to me more independent, and organized in all my work. I am even getting better grades than I did in college or high school, which is a positive sign. I like the theory style of education I am getting at university, as it is something I did not get to experience during college life. Best of all, Athabasca recognized my two years of college as two years of university education. Thus, I am happy with the choices I made. Instead of taking a big step from high school to university, I am glad I got the college experience, and now I even get to experience university education. Overall, I hope for a bright future once I graduate and am able to apply for jobs with both a diploma and a degree.