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How three students found different paths to academic success

Discover how Seneca creates opportunities for students with busy lives who can’t be in class full time or in-person

There’s the traditional way of pursuing higher education—a full-time, three-year program in a brick-and-mortar building—and then there are the flexible learning options available at Seneca. After all: Your life doesn’t look like anyone else’s, so why should your pathway to building the life you’ve dreamed of?

At Seneca, flexible learning options work around your life, not the other way around. (Just ask the 16,500 people who register for Seneca’s 400+ online alone courses every year.)

Students can attend an evening or early morning class, register course-by-course, study part-time, or complete a full-time program entirely online: Whatever works for you, the flexibility and opportunity are all yours for the taking.

Here are three students—a new grad, a working parent, and a mid-career professional—who pursued their goals, overcame barriers and found success through Seneca’s flexible learning approach.

students gathering in meeting

 

The new grad looking for community

When Bailey Waukey Greer chose Seneca, he’d just completed what he calls “a healing journey,” taking the year after high school to work through trauma that had occurred in his childhood.

He’d never had a clear idea of what career he wanted to pursue. “I knew that I enjoyed helping people,” he said. “And considering the journey I had had, Seneca’s Social Service Worker program seemed like a great fit,” he says of the two-year program he completed in 2018.

When Greer arrived at Seneca to complete the two-year program, his top goal was to “soak up” the experience, which he certainly did: “I began enjoying my day-to-day schedule, something foreign to me until that point,” he said. “I made solid friendships, had good relationships with my teachers and peers, which is all I wanted from the start.” Greer, who is Indigenous, also found support from First Peoples@Seneca, which provides study spaces, advice, and cultural events, among other resources for Indigenous students. He says the education he received at Seneca, particularly through his policy and diversity courses, helped him understand the context of his own experience as an Indigenous person in Canada.

“Before attending Seneca, I simply wasn’t aware of the avenues I could take to help my community,” said Greer, who now plans to pursue a master’s degree. “Seneca gave me the tools to understand context, in both professional and personal circles, and I feel more sure of myself than ever.”

When Greer arrived at Seneca to complete the two-year program, his top goal was to “soak up” the experience, which he certainly did: “I began enjoying my day-to-day schedule, something foreign to me until that point,” he said. “I made solid friendships, had good relationships with my teachers and peers, which is all I wanted from the start.” Greer, who is Indigenous, also found support from First Peoples@Seneca, which provides study spaces, advice, and cultural events, among other resources for Indigenous students. He says the education he received at Seneca, particularly through his policy and diversity courses, helped him understand the context of his own experience as an Indigenous person in Canada.

“Before attending Seneca, I simply wasn’t aware of the avenues I could take to help my community,” said Greer, who now plans to pursue a master’s degree. “Seneca gave me the tools to understand context, in both professional and personal circles, and I feel more sure of myself than ever.”

The working parent looking to accelerate her career

Maria Levy had been waiting for the right time to upgrade her skills, and it finally came when her youngest child was going into grade five, and she got the chance to move to a branch of her company with a shorter commute time.

Levy, a single parent, had been working as an administrative assistant at Mercedes Benz, which made her want to learn more about the automotive industry, where technology was constantly changing. “I was looking for a program that would tie in my work experience and my interests, and the Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management program at Seneca offered both.”

It was the chance to go part-time and learn online that really sold her on Seneca. “Weeknights were usually reserved for ‘mom driving duties’ to after school activities,” Levy said, adding that she did most of her assignments over the weekend or at night. “What I really liked about the program was that it was very planned out with due dates posted at the beginning of each course,” she said. “I felt that I could always plan my goals each week.”

For Levy, the time she spent at Seneca paid off almost immediately: A year into the program, she was able to move into a role that drew on what she was learning about supply chains. After graduation, Levy’s was promoted to a logistics position at head office. On a personal level, it empowered her as well, particularly in a field that continues to be male-dominated. “As a firm believer of gender equality, I was even more determined to succeed,” said Levy. “I also wanted to make sure that I prove to my daughters that they can be successful with whatever they want to do in their lives, no matter how hard it may be.”

The working professional getting the qualification she needs to advance her career

Tonya Lagrasta planned to pursue post-graduate studies after she finished her degree, but life got in the way. In her case, it was a cancer diagnosis in her final year that caused her to accumulate debt. She took the first job she could find once she was better: Working the third shift at an automotive plant. Through it all, Lagrasta didn’t give up on her dream of working in the field of sustainability but realized she’d need another certification to do so. Enter Seneca.

“I saw the program at Seneca as a constructive way out,” she said. “It would get me off the line, acquiring the skills I needed to stand out with prospective employers and an opportunity to meet new people from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds.”

Lagrasta was able to continue working while completing her post graduate certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations. She likened it to an “eight-month business boot camp” that gave her the credential she needed to get the job she’d always dreamed of. She also made incredible friendships through her course, including a friend for whom she was maid of honour. Her advice to anyone considering a similar path? Just do it.

“If life is pulling you in different directions, and maybe getting in the way of you making an investment in yourself and your future, then Seneca is a great solution,” she said. “As a working mom with two young dependents, there’s no way I could make the time to attend school and in person. I’m currently looking to do my MBA and the only schools I’m considering are the ones with flexible learning options.”

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