Date published: 6 June 2012
"I FEEL incredibly lucky that I live in an age when you can study online and do something as incredible as going to university," says Leigh Latta, who graduated with an accounting degree from Open Universities Australia.
"I was working in the UK and came back to Melbourne on holiday one year and saw an ad for the OUA. So I enrolled in accounting and did three units before returning here to live and finish the degree over the next three years when I did the remaining 21 units."
Ms Latta now works at the National Australia Bank as a management accountant and says she could never have afforded to do the degree full-time. She also thought it would not be a good use of her time when she could apply what she was learning in her job. But she admits that studying online was not easy.
"At first I found it incredibly challenging and I thought what have I done - I can't do this," she says. "I'd never tackled anything like this before, but after the first year I started to get into the swing of things. I'd learnt what was expected of me and by third year I could look at an assignment and know what I had to do."
Because she could choose the accounting units she wanted to study, Ms Latta took some through Griffith University in Brisbane, Curtin University in Perth, Monash in Melbourne and the University of South Australia in Adelaide, which is where she finally graduated. The first two years of the degree cost her about $15,000 while the NAB reimbursed her for the units she did in her third year.
"You need to be driven and to have a sense of achievement to get it finished," she says. "I'm very driven and, although I found it very difficult at first, it was also incredibly rewarding."
Date: 6 June 2012
Publication: The Age
Title: Online challenge demands 'driven' approach