Paper certification of two years of post-secondary
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
Being in post-secondary education is a difficult time. Many of us are working towards our bachelor’s degrees, while others of us are working towards a specific upgrade or program diploma, and others still may be taking different classes to see what we like, having little to no idea of our eventual goals.
An associate degree is sort of a happy medium between a bachelor’s degree and diploma. They take roughly two years to complete, and only require around 60 credits. A typical course offered at Douglas or most other BC institutions yields three credits, with some longer (especially lab-based) ones giving four. At four courses a semester, an associate degree can be yours in five semesters of instruction.
After a year of taking classes unsure of my eventual path, I learned about the Associate of Arts Douglas offers in creative writing. It requires six creative writing courses, along with various electives and first- or second-year courses (such as a lab science, because it’s very important a writer knows how to measure chemicals.) At the time, I already had four creative writing courses. If you have a specialization or interest study already in place, an associate degree may be closer than you realize.
One of the best benefits of having an associate is guaranteed degree transfer. Some of your built-up credits may not transfer over for study at another institution if you’re just taking them with no path. But if you have an associate degree, you are guaranteed a full 60 credits towards your bachelor’s—this is essential to getting a degree without worrying about wasting time or money. It’s especially good at a place like Douglas, where many of the students are going to be transferring to a university after completing their studies.
In addition to the credit transfer, many institutions in Canada give preferential admission to those with an associate degree—benefits include priority registration and a lower overall GPA requirement. This can be a lifesaver to those who have worried about their future admissions with their grades (including yours truly).
Associate degrees are also an asset to employers, so having one looks great on a résumé. It won’t open the same doors as a bachelor’s will, but it can be very useful for entry-level positions in your field. I myself am taking a bit of time off after leaving Douglas before applying to university, and having my associate is the perfect time to do that. I’ll be working during my gap, and having a two-year degree looks much better on an application than “built-up college classes that didn’t translate to anything.”
Whether you plan to continue your studies immediately, continue after a gap, or enter the workforce directly, an associate degree can be a perfect point to make these decisions.