January Executive Blog

Who Goes to AU?

I go to AU.

If you’re reading this, there is a fairly good chance that you do too.

Take a moment, and ask yourself – WHY do I go to Athabasca University?

Here’s why I’m asking.  As the President of AUSU, I have represented undergraduate students at AU in countless meetings with people from inside and outside of our University.  I talk about AU and its students every single day, and I have found that there seems to be a misconception about “who” goes to AU.

In its Mission Statement, AU says:

Athabasca University, Canada’s Open University, is dedicated to the removal of barriers that restrict access to and success in university-level study and to increasing equality of educational opportunity for adult learners worldwide.

We are committed to excellence in teaching, research and scholarship and to being of service to the general public. (Athabasca University, 2016)

When I read the Mission, the words that stand out for me are: open, success, equality, opportunity, and worldwide.  When I chose AU, I chose it for the flexibility, the continuous enrollment, the consistency of the learning materials fee, and the quality and value of the credential I would receive.  I found, after a considerable amount of research, that AU was my best option after considering all factors.  Like many of you, I chose AU, and it wasn’t because I had no other options.  I chose AU because it was the best option for me.

As your elected representative, I have been surprised to find that there seems to be an impression among some that AU is only for the disadvantaged, the marginalized, and the students with no other choice.  I have been trying to dispel that myth, and I think that together, as students it’s up to US to show the world who we are.

Athabasca University does remove barriers that restrict access to PSE, and it does increase equality of educational opportunity.  Attending AU allows parents to stay home with their children or follow their educational dreams after a long day of work.  By studying at AU, farmers can stay on their homestead, and indigenous learners may remain in their traditional communities if they so choose.  Attending AU allows students with disabilities to learn in the comfort of their own homes, and allows adults of all ages to continue learning and growing as individuals.  AU is a University for all of us, and its mission is more important today than ever!

The AU students that I have met are successful, intelligent, entrepreneurial, self-motivated, and driven toward success.  We have experience and knowledge beyond what we learned in a textbook and the learning we do at AU is enriched through that experience.  While AU is our institution of choice for a variety of reasons, we are not without choices.

Let’s talk about it – who are the students at AU?  What defines us?

Feel free to share in the comments below why you chose AU.  Don’t stop there – tell your tutor or academic expert, your fellow students, and the world!

Shawna Wasylyshyn
President, AUSU


Athabasca University. (2016, 02 03). Mission and Mandate. Retrieved from Athabasca University: