How UBC makes admissions decisions

A competitive university like UBC receives more applications than can be accommodated. We wish we could admit all qualified applicants, but we just don’t have the space.

So how does UBC decide who gets in and who does not? (This page outlines the process for secondary students applying to UBC. The post-secondary transfer process is different.)

UBC has two types of admission requirements: general admission requirements and competitive admission requirements.

First, UBC verifies that you’ve met all general requirements

UBC’s general admission requirements represent the minimum that is required of all applicants. It does not matter how high your grades are, what degree you are applying to, or how many other applicants there are. You cannot be admitted to UBC without meeting these basic requirements.

So once you have completed the degree-specific requirements (Canadian students | international students), met the English Language Admission Standard, and met the general admission requirements (Canadian students | international students), your application can be considered for admission to UBC.

Next, UBC assesses your application for competitive requirements

We have to compare your application to all the other applications to determine who gains admission to UBC. The more applications we receive, the more stringent our competitive admission requirements become. These requirements change from year to year.

We review your application based on two competitive assessments of your academic preparedness for the degrees you have applied to.

1. Your grades

Your UBC admission average is calculated on the courses required for the UBC degree you’re applying to. Which courses we use to calculate this average depends on:

  • where you go to school (your home province or country); and
  • which UBC degree and campus you are applying to.

UBC uses Grade 12 (or senior-level) course grades to calculate your admission average. However, we know that you would prefer to receive your UBC decision in March or April, when all your Grade 12 (or senior-level) course grades may not be available yet. UBC will sometimes use Grade 11 (or junior-level) course grades as substitutes in order to give you your decision in a timely manner.

While we do calculate an admission average, we don’t always weigh your courses equally. Sometimes we need to ensure that you have high grades in certain critical courses. For example, the Faculty of Science requires students to be strong in Math and English, so you may not be admitted with low Math and English grades regardless of how high your overall average is.

2. Your Personal Profile

We review your answers on the Personal Profile. Personal Profiles are assessed to determine your academic readiness for the degrees you have applied to, and are scored by trained UBC readers.

Additionally, some degrees will require a supplemental application, portfolio, or audition.

The overall assessment

The assessments of your Personal Profile are used in conjunction with your UBC admissions average to determine your overall competitiveness. Here are some examples of overall assessments:

  • A student with an 88% admission average may be admitted over a student with a 90% admission average because they have a higher Personal Profile score.
  • A student with a 92% admission average may be refused if one of their individual course grades (i.e., Math or English) is not as high as the other applicants’ individual course grades with similar admission averages and Personal Profile scores.

When you can expect UBC’s admission decision

UBC’s admission process is not first-come, first-served. Grades and documents are being continuously reviewed from December to May.

We know it can be unsettling to be waiting to hear from UBC while friends have already received their admission decisions. But, in many cases, we need to wait until all applicants have been assessed before we can make a decision — this ensures that UBC is fairly evaluating every student’s application to UBC.

If you are not admitted to UBC

UBC understands why students would want to know exactly why they did not get admitted. You might want to know if it was your admission average, your grades in a particular course, or your Personal Profile assessment.

Unfortunately, there isn’t generally one single reason. It’s usually a combination of factors that would have made your application more competitive:

  • If your overall average had been higher.
  • If your grades in a particular course had been higher.
  • If you had a higher Personal Profile score.
  • If there had been fewer applicants to the degree you applied for.

If you are on the UBC admissions waitlist

By May, we have done everything we can to offer admission to as many students as possible – to fill every available space. However, we won’t know if there are extra spaces to fill until all offers have been accepted.

If you see in your Student Service Centre account that you have been waitlisted, there’s nothing left to do except wait – just a little longer. UBC will notify you if a space becomes available.