Many people have asked which online university I attended to further my education and how at-home study works. Due to those inquires, I have decided to make a post about my university and how to get started. Keep in mind there are other accredited “open” universities around the world, however they are not mine and so this article will feature Athabasca University.
(*Note: this article is targeted mostly to Canadians but for others, this information is still a good point of reference for those considering online/at-home study.)
Who: Athabasca University is an accredited university based out of Athabasca, Alberta, a province in Canada. When looking into open universities, be sure to find out if the institution is accredited. Certain companies require an accredited university degree and overseas E2 Visas need this too.
What: Athabasca is an open university, specializing in at-home study. They offer over 900 courses and 50 undergraduate and graduate degree, diploma and certificate programs. You are provided with a professor who is in charge of the class and given their contact information for questions, guidance and submission of assignments.
Where: Although they are a fully functioning university based out of Alberta, Canada, they ship your course outline, textbooks and all reading materials right to your door, anywhere in the world.
When: All year. Most classes start at the beginning of each month, so you can enroll and get started anytime you feel ready. Note that your paperwork for registration must be submitted by the 10th of the month prior to begin the month you wish to start.
Why: Studying from home is a fraction of the cost of on-site university tuition fees. It also allows for learning at any age while still living an adult life. For those who can’t afford the time away from a job to attend university in person but still want to advance, this is for you. I obtained a 4 year degree in just under two and a half years while living on my own in Toronto and kept the bills paid while I learned.
Also, if you already have a diploma from elsewhere, you are eligible for transfer credits which will speed up your process. In my case, my previous diploma allowed me to walk in as a 3rd year student. (It helps if your previous field of education relates to the new program you aim to take.)
How: As for how long for each course, it depends if you are paying out of pocket or with financial assistance (like OSAP in Ontario for example). If you are paying on your own, students have 6 months to complete a regular 3 credit course and 12 months to complete a 6 credit course. If you’re paying with financial aid, your time is shortened to 4 months for a 3 credit course and 8 for a 6 credit course. Also note (Canadians) that if you are thinking of getting financial assistance, you must have “full-time” student status, which requires taking a minimum of 60% of a full course load, which equates to taking 3 classes at a time. It’s doable, because I did it, but prepare to calculate some serious time-management.
As for how to register, click here.
How much? For an idea, all fees are for a regular 3 credit course:
* Fees set from Sept. 2013 – Aug.31 2014
For Canadians in Alberta = $483
For Canadians outside of Alberta = $777
For seniors in Alberta = $427
For seniors outside of Alberta = $541
For outside of Canada = $997
I hope this helps to break down some of the intimidation of starting school again. As adults who are already finished school, many of us fear going back into the lifestyle of books, essays, no social life and for many – debt. For any of my Dear Readers who have always wanted to but didn’t know where to start, now you know.