Students

Should I go to Athabasca University?

[OP]
Newbie
Apr 6, 2007
84 posts
1 upvote
Toronto

Should I go to Athabasca University?

I live in Toronto and I’m attending Centennial College for Journalism. I’ve completed my 2nd year of the program and have 1 more year left. My end goal is to get a Masters degree in urban planning, so I’ll need to attend university at the undergraduate level before I can do that.

I looked at Athabasca University and it seems like a potential university for me.I read the transfer credits guide at my program here:

http://www.centennialcollege.ca/ArticulationsJournalism

And it looks like I would only have to do 2 years of undergrad to get a bachelor's degree. At this university, I could potentially receive 72 out of 120 credits towards the degree with my advanced diploma I will earn by next year!

What also is appealing to me about Athabasca University is that it's distance learning. So while I still I have to manage my time, I don't have to conform to strict deadlines. My procrastination prevent skills are getting better, so I'm not one to always leave things last minute. And I can have a job (perhaps full-time?) while I'm studying.

I know it's accredited and it's a public university (i.e. no scams like UoP and DeVry). My only concern is if a bachelor's degree at Athabasca University will get me into graduate school.

So my questions are:

1) Will a bachelor's degree at AU get me into grad school? If I decide to study at AU, I will take Professional Arts:

http://salsa.athabascau.ca/cmns/admission.php

I've heard of BA (Bachelor of Arts), Bachelor of Science (BS), and even Bcomm but I've never heard of Bachelor of Professional Arts (BPA). While I'm not looking for my bachelor's degree to land me the career I want, it's making me skeptical about getting accepted into grad school. Will a degree at AU hold the same weight as any other university?

2) Is it better for me to attend an ordinary university in my city (Toronto), that will give me advanced standing?

I have other options to transfer to a university with some advanced standing. I checked Guelph-Humber’s media communications program:

http://www.guelphhumber.ca/faqs.aspx#adm6

And University of Ontario Institute of Technology program:

https://connect.uoit.ca/uoit/program.do ... gramID=232

The reason why I'm steering towards Athabasca University is because I'll get the most value out of my college education and the most advanced standing of all the universities I've seen so far. I would get 72 credits regardless of my cGPA (I think?), compared to a CONDITIONAL 2 years advanced standing from other universities. And also because of the fact I may be moving out of Toronto soon, that I'd want to choose an online university so I don't have to worry about staying in one place.

However, I could be wrong about this. Since I have the opportunity to attend a local university, would it be better or the same?
22 replies
Jr. Member
Jul 15, 2006
191 posts
Athabasca was an option if I didn't get into a brick and mortar uni, but then I got into York and Ryerson, so I chose ryerson.

In terms of grad schools, I guess it really depends. My college co-ordinator did courses at Athabasca and he said they were good. A degree is fully accredited; however, the reputation of the University isn't that great at this point. He said it's a good place to fast track for a current university student.

I hope this helps..
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 6, 2007
84 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
Thanks for your reply, pegger.

I know that the reputation for Athabasca University is lower than most schools in Canada. But as long as I'm able to get into grad school with a bachelor's from AU, then it doesn't matter to me. The name brand of a university will be more important to me when I go to graduate school.

I could go to a brick and mortar university but the reasons why I want to choose Athabasca is:

1) I may be moving out of Toronto within 1-3 years, so I may not be able to finish my undergrad in time, but if I go to AU then I can still finish because it's online.

2) AU gives me the most value for my college diploma (max 72 out of 120 credits).

I'm going to call a few grad schools and see how they assess degrees from Athabasca University.
Banned
Dec 3, 2009
1291 posts
23 upvotes
deity307 wrote: Thanks for your reply, pegger.

I know that the reputation for Athabasca University is lower than most schools in Canada. But as long as I'm able to get into grad school with a bachelor's from AU, then it doesn't matter to me. The name brand of a university will be more important to me when I go to graduate school.

I could go to a brick and mortar university but the reasons why I want to choose Athabasca is:

1) I may be moving out of Toronto within 1-3 years, so I may not be able to finish my undergrad in time, but if I go to AU then I can still finish because it's online.

2) AU gives me the most value for my college diploma (max 72 out of 120 credits).

I'm going to call a few grad schools and see how they assess degrees from Athabasca University.
What are your graduate school ambitions like? Some people have aspirations to move onto graduate programs at the best schools in the world. Usually, those who do so, have undergraduate degrees from at least alright-ish schools. If this isn't the case for you, you can probably still get into a graduate school, it just won't be at the best schools.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 6, 2007
84 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
What are your graduate school ambitions like? Some people have aspirations to move onto graduate programs at the best schools in the world. Usually, those who do so, have undergraduate degrees from at least alright-ish schools. If this isn't the case for you, you can probably still get into a graduate school, it just won't be at the best schools.
I wanted to go a graduate school on the higher end, somewhere like McGill or University of California. I thought your GPA would be the deciding factor in getting into a good grad school?
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 7, 2009
13814 posts
1328 upvotes
deity307 wrote: Thanks for your reply, pegger.

I know that the reputation for Athabasca University is lower than most schools in Canada. But as long as I'm able to get into grad school with a bachelor's from AU, then it doesn't matter to me. The name brand of a university will be more important to me when I go to graduate school.
Graduate school acceptance is a bit of a crap shoot, a bit of a boys (n' girls) club, and depends a lot on the demand of the program. Your GPA factors somewhere between those things.

You're going to miss out on networking with professors and getting good references. It's not unheard of for someone to end up taking their Masters at their alma mater even with GPA's below 3.0, because they do good lab work, or help the professors out in the summer.

If you go to an online school, your entry will be based strictly on your GPA. My only advice is to get very good marks. This is even more true, because there will likely be a certain bias against an online school, accredited or not.

How competitive is the graduate program?
In a perfect system, corporations would fear the government and the government would fear the people. - David Wong

Check out caRpetbomBer's picks in this thread.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 6, 2007
84 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
Hmm, now you’re making me wonder what are the factors in getting into graduate school.

I realized if I go to an online school, it will be difficult to get references from professors. This is important, because for most graduate schools, you need 3 letters of references and 2 of them have to be from a professor.

How competitive? I think if I went to a higher end school like UC or McGill or UofT, then it would be very competitive. But if it was a mid-tier school (e.g. some grad schools in the prairies, California State), then it would be easier.
Jr. Member
Jul 15, 2006
191 posts
I think it depends on the admissions officers of different schools. It might be similar to the work force in which some employers will find that you are motivated to get a degree by self teaching through athabasca. Other employers would not be impressed with the fact that you didn't have any labs, networking, and prof-student room setting. Also, the knock on Athabasca is that you don't even need a high school diploma to get in.
Banned
Jul 26, 2010
37 posts
Toronto
pegger06 wrote: I think it depends on the admissions officers of different schools. It might be similar to the work force in which some employers will find that you are motivated to get a degree by self teaching through athabasca. Other employers would not be impressed with the fact that you didn't have any labs, networking, and prof-student room setting. Also, the knock on Athabasca is that you don't even need a high school diploma to get in.
It might be similar to the work force in which some employers will find that you are motivated to get a degree by self teaching through athabasca.

No one will think that.

Also, the knock on Athabasca is that you don't even need a high school diploma to get in.

Lol, are you serious? You really believe a 'university' not requiring high school graduation is an accredited university? It seems like you do and I feel sorry.
Jr. Member
Jul 15, 2006
191 posts
sebastian2017 wrote: It might be similar to the work force in which some employers will find that you are motivated to get a degree by self teaching through athabasca.

No one will think that.

Also, the knock on Athabasca is that you don't even need a high school diploma to get in.

Lol, are you serious? You really believe a 'university' not requiring high school graduation is an accredited university? It seems like you do and I feel sorry.
What? You don't need a high school diploma to get into athasbasca.. go to their website. Why do you feel sorry for me? You're the ignorant one..
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 6, 2007
84 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
I think it depends on the admissions officers of different schools. It might be similar to the work force in which some employers will find that you are motivated to get a degree by self teaching through athabasca.
It definitely provides a different experience. Going to an online school means a lot of self-discipline. Unlike a brick-and-mortar school where they give you deadlines, at AU you’d have to make your own or else you’ll fall behind.
Other employers would not be impressed with the fact that you didn't have any labs, networking, and prof-student room setting.
This isn’t that important to me, because in general I don’t rely on networking to get me the job. And since I’d plan to take Journalism/Communications at AU, I wouldn’t be doing labs anyway.
Also, the knock on Athabasca is that you don't even need a high school diploma to get in.
This is big, because this could work to my disadvantage. Some admissions officers may be put off by this, although the school is fully accredited and respected.
Lol, are you serious? You really believe a 'university' not requiring high school graduation is an accredited university? It seems like you do and I feel sorry.
No it’s true, you don’t need a high school diploma to be eligible for Athabasca University. That being said, Athabasca University is an accredited university and from what I hear, it’s one of the most respected online schools in the world.

Also, some programs at AU require that you complete a college diploma or have university experience to be eligible for their program. Like the program I may attend at AU:

http://www.athabascau.ca/calendar/page03_16_02.html
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 6, 2007
84 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
Alright, so I asked a few grad schools if they accept degrees from Athabasca University.

University of Toronto says Yes, they recently started accepting applicants from AU.

McGill says they're not too keen on distance education degrees and if I were to get accepted into their program, they would have to justify their decision.

So it looks like a degree from Athabasca University will give me a chance with top tier schools. Just not a good chance. I would have to compensate in other areas.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 17, 2006
1545 posts
229 upvotes
deity307 wrote: Alright, so I asked a few grad schools if they accept degrees from Athabasca University.

University of Toronto says Yes, they recently started accepting applicants from AU.

McGill says they're not too keen on distance education degrees and if I were to get accepted into their program, they would have to justify their decision.


So it looks like a degree from Athabasca University will give me a chance with top tier schools. Just not a good chance. I would have to compensate in other areas.
There's your answer right there. Even though Athabasca U is accredited, but it doesn't have an established reputation in its programs. Look at it this way, you want to get into a good grad program at a top-tier university, chances are your competitions will have undergrad degrees from other top-tier universities. Say if there's ONE final spot left in the program, and it's between you and one other student with a degree from Queen's; same GPA, which one do you think the program's gonna pick?
A great salesman sells to himself - Confucius, no, I mean xvizardx LINK
xvizardx wrote: ...A sales person named John (who is a great sales person by the way)...I could not resist the price, so I bought it in a heart beat...
xvizardx wrote: Hello everyone! I am an employee of Sony Canada...I will be at the Sony Store in Square One...look for John...
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 6, 2007
84 posts
1 upvote
Toronto
There's your answer right there. Even though Athabasca U is accredited, but it doesn't have an established reputation in its programs. Look at it this way, you want to get into a good grad program at a top-tier university, chances are your competitions will have undergrad degrees from other top-tier universities. Say if there's ONE final spot left in the program, and it's between you and one other student with a degree from Queen's; same GPA, which one do you think the program's gonna pick?
You're right, AU doesn't have the established reputation as other top-tier schools. I'll take this into account when I pick my undergraduate school for next year.

Top