Douglas goes both ways

Douglas College officially a BCCAT receiving institution

By Dylan Hackett, News Editor

Last month the British Columbia Council on Admissions & Transfer (BCCAT) announced that Douglas College will formally be both a sending and receiving institution in the council’s popular BC Transfer Guide. Traditionally, Douglas’ role as a sending institution to research universities, largely to Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the University of British Columbia, has made the college a first step for many entering the realm of post-secondary education. A recent study conducted by the BC government found that while 4,000 students moved from colleges to universities from 2007-2009, a similar figure of 3,300 did the opposite. Douglas is now accredited in the guide to be a receiving institution for Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Langara College. Capilano University, SFU, and others will be added to the list in the months to come.

“The path to completing your education is no longer a one-way street,” said Scott McAlpine, president of Douglas College. “More and more students are deciding to complete their education at college, or are returning to college to do post-degree studies. The change in our status underscores the new trend in student mobility and the need to streamline the process for students.”

One popular program for students with both degree backgrounds and without is the Print Futures: Professional Writing program. Sharon Miki, Editor-in-chief of The Other Press, counts herself among those whose educational and career paths took them to Douglas after completion of a bachelor’s degree.

“I did a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications at SFU and I graduated in 2007,” said Miki. “I worked in corporate retail for a couple of years. I was really unhappy and I quit and then was trying to freelance write, but without any skills from my degree it was really hard to find contracts so I went back to Douglas.”

While many students see Douglas as a step down from a research university, Miki encourages students to ignore the stigma.

“My advice for someone coming back to Douglas after studying at university would be to focus on your career,” recommended Miki. “Sometimes there’s a bit of a stigma in coming back to a college versus a university or people might be like, ‘you’re going backwards!’ ’You’ve already done this so-called higher level of education and you’re  ‘downgrading’ to a college?’ You should focus on what you get out of any education you do—not at how fancy the piece of paper you get at the end is. That’s really important and it was a hard lesson to learn.”

Douglas offers six programs to post-bachelor students looking to enhance their education, including two different sales and accounting programs.