SAIT open studies allows flexibility and exploration

Study flexibly and accomdates different needs

The Open Studies Program at SAIT allows students to proceed with their post-secondary education while still trying to decide their major, says academic chair Sandie Cheney. (Photo by Daniel Janson/The Press)

The open studies program at SAIT allows students to take introductory courses in a variety of programs, allowing prospective students to test out their major before committing to a definite path.

Going to university or college is often what young adults choose to pursue after high school, but some students struggle when it comes to picking a major.

“We do entrance surveys at the beginning of every semester, and students will tell us that they know they want to go to school and they want to come to SAIT, but they don’t know what program they want to go into,” says Sandie Cheney, academic chair of the open studies program. “Instead of having to make that big decision right away, they can just ease into taking a few interest courses.

“They may want to be a paramedic, but they don’t know for sure. So they can take the medical terminology course and then they can apply to the program.”

Students across different programs at SAIT pick their majors for a variety of reasons.

“I never really had an interest in computers,” says Cyril Amat, an information technology services student. “But my friend’s doing it so he’s like, `why not try it?’

“I heard it makes good money, so that’s why I’m doing it.”

IT Services: Cyril Amat on his way to class at SAIT on January 31, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Janson/The Press)

For some students, their choice of major is  based more on logic than love.

“I’ve been passionate about electricity since I was a kid and it was a no-brainer,” says Nizar Solo, an electrical engineering student. “It would have been great if I could have found a way to get into music though with something media-related, since I’ve been making music my whole life.”

Although students in open studies at SAIT can’t get a credential through the program, credits  may be transferred to other programs that offer the same courses.

“The whole idea is there’s four groups of students that take open studies,” says Cheney. “One has been waitlisted or they’ve been declined from a program, but they still want to go to school. There’s some students whose programs start in the fall, but they want to get ahead, so they take open studies so they can knock off a few courses in their program.

“Then other students are unsuccessful in courses in their programs so they have to retake the courses through open studies. Then there’s those students who are in professional designations and the government has said they have to be in a program.”

The open studies program also offers students to take asynchronous classes at their own pace while focusing on other pursuits or perhaps living outside Calgary.

“We also have athletes who need to maintain their athletic status but they don’t want to take evening courses,” Cheney said. “They’re training in the evening, so we set up daytime courses.”

Petroleum Engineering: Krishi Yadav studies in the Stan Grad building at SAIT.
About Daniel Janson 7 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Daniel Janson is working as a writer for The Press in 2024.