Identity and Perception of Douglas College Students

By Ajit Kaily, Danielle Desjardin, Sarin Dorn, Kelsey Cowie, Bachelor of Science in Nursing students

We’ve heard the stereotypes about Douglas College: Dougie Daycare, students go here because they don’t know what to do, underrated, etc. As fourth-semester Nursing students at Douglas College, we were assigned to do a project as part of our degree. So, we decided to find out how Douglas students really feel about their school.

Our study took place at the Coquitlam Campus in October and early November of last year. We interviewed students in focus-group interviews as well as one on one throughout the campus. Many participants were our fellow Nursing students, but we attempted to encompass people from other programs, expanding our data collection to the A/B building.

In our interviews, we asked the following four questions:

  • What made you choose Douglas College?
  • How do you feel about being a student at Douglas College?
  • How do you think other people see Douglas College?
  • Do you feel a sense of pride when you talk about your school?

We divided the interviews into “positive” and “negative” categories. After reviewing the interviews and analyzing the responses, we learned that the majority of the students initially chose to come to Douglas College because it was close to home, has less expensive tuition than other institutions, and because they had heard of how great the programs are through friends or family members who attended the College in the past.

For the Nursing students in particular, many stated they chose Douglas College because of the great reputation of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and because the process of getting into the program was simple.

Students at Douglas said they are happy with their choice of post-secondary. One participant mentioned the school was “underrated.” Many of the students stated they like the size of the school because it gave them a sense of belonging and community; that the class sizes supported their learning, and that it offered many strong, specific programs such as Sport Science, Criminology, Early Childhood Education, Nursing, Social Work and more.

Although students seem to enjoy attending Douglas College, the responses we got when we asked how they think other people see Douglas College were not as positive. The trend in responses were that Douglas has gained the nickname “Dougie daycare,” and that the College doesn’t meet the same standards of academia as the other local universities, due to it being perceived as “just a community college.”

The interviewees believe that the public assumes that Douglas is just a place where people go after high school “because they don’t know what they want to do in life,” or that people apply because it’s easier to get accepted. Some students confided that when people have asked them which school they go to, they often feel judged. Students say they feel the need to “defend” their choices.

One international student said they are very proud to be a Douglas student because they believe the College has a very good reputation on an international level. Many participants said they feel a sense of pride being a student here, especially those who play on sports teams for the College.

Students in one of our focus groups concluded that we as students need to exude a sense of pride when talking about our school. The programs are great, and many Douglas graduates have excellent reputations. Many students are proud of learning from highly educated professors, and appreciate being able to build strong relationships with them.

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