What to do before you arrive on campus

What to do before you arrive on campus

It’s only a matter of weeks until you’ll step foot on campus as a first-year UBC student. You’ll be greeted with tons of new experiences and you’ll meet loads of new people, which can be both exciting and overwhelming. To ensure a smooth arrival and a stress-free first week, you’ll want to take care of some important things before you get here.

Here are eight easy tasks that you can complete now to make your arrival a breeze.

  1. Get ready for your orientation

On your first day, you’ll forgo normal class for a fun-filled, day-long series of welcome-to-UBC events. On the Vancouver campus, at the Imagine UBC orientation, you will be joined by the entire class of 2021 for a formal welcome, pep rally, lunch, and more. On the Okanagan campus, register for the Create orientation to join all new-to-UBC students for a day of events, including food, prizes, and more.

  1. Find back-to-school events and programs

The UBC student societies – the AMS on the Vancouver campus and the UBCSUO on the Okanagan campus – host events and programs for first-year students like you.

  1. Read the UBCfyi blog

Now that you’re an official UBC student, read the UBCfyi blog for campus updates and resources, plus info on events, health and well-being, money management, and more.

  1. Update your email address

Make sure your email address is correct in the Student Service Centre and remember to check your messages regularly.

  1. Learn about your student health plan

Visit the student health insurance website to learn more about your plan and coverage, or to opt out if you already have a health insurance plan.

  1. Sort out your financials

Ensure that you have a financial plan in place for the upcoming academic year, and learn about the financial resources available to you on UBC’s Vancouver campus and Okanagan campus.

  1. Pay your tuition online

Avoid lineups by paying your tuition online now.

  1. Get access to public transit

UBC students on the Okanagan campus can get a U-PASS sticker that provides unlimited access to BC Transit in Kelowna and the surrounding area. Just bring your student ID card to the Student Union Office (UNC133) to get your sticker.

UBC students on the Vancouver campus can load their U-Pass onto a Compass Card for unlimited transit services within Metro Vancouver. Obtain your Compass Card from the UBC Bookstore – or any SkyTrain Station or TransLink Fare Dealer – and then link it to your U-Pass online at upassbc.translink.ca. Apply online at least 48 hours before you intend to travel, and visit planning.ubc.ca for more information.

 

UBC Collegia: find your community on campus

UBC Collegia: find your community on campus

Whether you’re facing a long commute or a taking a quick bus ride to UBC, feeling like part of the university community can be challenging if you don’t have a dedicated space on campus. To help you build your home away from home, the UBC Collegia program – on both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses – provides residence-like spaces where you can fully experience UBC student life. 

UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus

ubc collegia, vancouver collegia, vancouver campus
UBC Collegia on the Vancouver campus offer plenty of space for you to kick back and relax.

If you’ll be commuting to UBC, you’re part of the majority: more than 75% of students at UBC’s Vancouver campus bike, drive, or take transit to campus.

One of commuter students’ main concerns is whether they’re missing out by not being a part of residence life in first year. Luckily, UBC has on-campus spaces – called “collegia” – to help make UBC as much of a home for commuter students as it is for those who live on campus.

Each UBC Collegia space has a kitchen, comfy couches, and friendly advisors who are happy to chat and help you settle into life at UBC. There are also lots of programs and activities designed to connect commuter students with on-campus services, faculty members, and peer support. Express your interest in joining UBC Collegia as soon as possible.

“UBC Collegia really grounded me from the loneliness and isolation that comes from being on such a large campus. The commute is tiring, but UBC Collegia are comforting.”
– Ava Maleki, Land and Food Systems, Vancouver campus Collegia member

Learn more and fill out the application to express your interest

The Collegia Program on the Okanagan campus

ubc okanagan collegia, ubc collegia, okanagan campus
The Global Collegium on UBC’s Okanagan campus.

The three distinct Collegia on UBC’s Okanagan campus offer commuter students a relaxing and welcoming place to hang out, eat lunch, spend time with classmates, and do school work. Each collegium is outfitted with comfortable furniture, workspaces, and kitchen facilities.

First- and Second-Year Collegium

This space, also known as the “junior” collegium, is the perfect venue for new-to-UBC students to socialize while meeting new people and making connections on campus.

Upper-Levels Collegium

The “senior” collegium is traditionally a quieter space where students can study, work on group projects, or unwind. Come here to enjoy a peaceful coffee break or catch up on your latest Netflix series.

Global Collegium

This collegium is not just for international students – the motto here is “No passport required.” One goal of the Global Collegium is to create connections among students and offer opportunities to share and explore new cultures.

All of the Okanagan collegia are staffed by senior students who welcome you, answer your questions, refer you to campus resources, and plan programs and events. No registration or membership is required – all students can access any and all of the Okanagan campus collegia.

“Working in a collegium allowed me to meet so many students and make friends that I may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. It’s a great resource for students to feel like part of a community.”
–Michele Gabourie, Biology, Okanagan campus Collegia Assistant

Learn more about the Collegia Program on the Okanagan campus

 

International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement: what you need to do next

International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement: what you need to do next

One question we hear often this time of year is, “What should I do if I have AP or IB credit, and how will that affect which courses I register for?”

Send us your scores

Well, the answer is quite simple: send us your scores. You’ll need to arrange for your scores to be sent from CollegeBoard or the IBO to UBC in order for us to evaluate your transfer credit. We know that these scores typically aren’t available until early July, so in the meantime, you should plan on enrolling in first-year courses. Once UBC has received your scores and updated your academic history, you can then log into the Student Service Centre and drop your first-year course(s), and then register in the corresponding second-year course(s). That’s it!

Minimum scores needed to receive transfer credit

For information about minimum scores required to receive transfer credit, please refer to our guides for Advanced Placement first-year credit and International Baccalaureate first-year credit. In the meantime, if you have questions about degree planning, you should contact an academic advisor in your program on the Vancouver campus or the Okanagan campus.

Student health matters: medical insurance and well-being

Student health matters: medical insurance and well-being

Medical insurance and health care are important topics for all new students – whether you’re coming to UBC from Canada or from across the globe. You should plan for medical insurance well in advance of arriving at UBC.

How does medical insurance work?

Canada has a public health care system. Everyone living in British Columbia for more than six months is required to join the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).

Students from BC

If you are a resident of BC and currently covered by MSP, you will be automatically enrolled in an extended health plan, administered by your Vancouver or Okanagan student society. Your health plan fees will be calculated in with your tuition and student fees.

International or out-of-province students

If you’re an international student coming to BC, you’ll need to complete an MSP application form. When your MSP begins, all necessary services will be provided if you encounter insured health problems.

If you are a Canadian student coming from another province, you do not need to switch to MSP, as you will remain covered by your home province’s plan (as long as you remain a student). If you decide to switch to MSP, you will need to enrol and pay premiums.

Three-month waiting period for MSP

There is a three-month waiting period before MSP coverage can start.

  • International students: During this three-month period, you’ll be covered through iMED, the UBC basic medical insurance program. Fees will be calculated in with your tuition and student fees. If you have questions about health coverage, or about health care in Canada, contact an International Student Advisor: Vancouver campus | Okanagan campus.
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents coming from abroad: During this three-month period, you may already have health coverage in BC or another Canadian province. If you don’t, you should make arrangements to join a temporary insurance plan, available through David Cummings Insurance Services or another provider of your choice.

Read more about health care and health insurance while you’re a student at UBC.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you’re currently being treated for a health issue, consult your health professional to make sure you’re well enough to take on the challenge of university. If you’re well enough to attend UBC, you’ll need to plan for treatment during your studies. This may not be covered under your health insurance, so find out if your treatment is available at UBC, or in the surrounding community, and what the costs are.

If you’re not under current treatment, take any health issues into consideration ahead of academic decisions and commitments. If a health problem isn’t being treated, the added challenge might pose a risk to your academic success.

What if I have a documented disability?

If you have a documented disability and require disability-related accommodation or academic support, it’s important to contact an advisor to discuss your eligibility:

Access & Diversity (Vancouver campus) | Disability Resource Centre (Okanagan campus)

Maintaining your well-being at UBC

Embarking on a major academic program is demanding and means significant changes for most new students. While you adjust, take care of yourself. UBC has many resources to support you.

  • Physically: Get proper exercise, eat wisely, and if you have any health concerns, seek medical attention without delay. Make the most of the recreation facilities on campus. Vancouver campus UBC Recreation | Okanagan Campus Recreation
  • Socially: Make friends at UBC by getting involved on campus – it’s fun, and everyone’s looking to make new friends! Learn about involvement opportunities on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, and don’t forget to stay in touch with friends and family at home.
  • Emotionally: Watch for feelings of stress or persistent worries. There’s always counselling help when you need it:  Vancouver campus | Okanagan campus
  • Academically: Identify your academic and personal goals, learn to manage your time, and strengthen your study skills. The Learning Commons (Vancouver campus) and the Academic Supports (Okanagan campus) are great places to start.

On-campus health and wellness resources

Support for international students

If you’re an international student, the changes you experience will be particularly significant. To support you through your transition, we strongly encourage you to register for Jump Start before classes start to get to know your community, to get tips on studying and skill development, and to access resources and support services.
Register for Jump Start Vancouver | Register for Jumpstart Okanagan

First-year English, writing, and communications requirements

First-year English, writing, and communications requirements

Excellent reading, writing, and speaking skills are expected from all students pursuing a UBC degree, regardless of first language or citizenship. To ensure that students develop strong academic reading, writing, and speaking skills, all UBC undergraduate students must earn between 3 and 6 credits of first-year English. These requirements are completely separate from UBC’s English Language Admission Standard (ELAS) entry requirement.

Find your first-year English credit and course requirements

To check how many English credits you must complete and which English courses will fulfill your program’s English requirement, please refer to the Undergraduate Degree Requirements for your faculty on the Okanagan campus and Vancouver campus.

Do you need to write the LPI?

In order to stay enrolled in your first-year English course, students must write and pass the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) test. The LPI is an examination that assists the faculties in determining your competency in writing at a university level. This requirement is separate from the ELAS requirement. Exams such TOEFL and IELTS cannot be used to exempt students from taking the LPI exam.

To review eligible exemptions and determine whether you must write the LPI, please refer to the First-Year English Frequently Asked Questions.

If you must write the LPI exam you can register online.

Vancouver campus Bachelor of Arts students

Students in the Bachelor of Arts program at the Vancouver campus do not need to write the LPI. To review the courses that fulfill the Bachelor of Arts writing requirement, please refer to the Students in the Faculty of Arts page.

Get a jump start on life at UBC

Get a jump start on life at UBC

Transitioning to university is often challenging – especially when you are coming from a different city, country, community, or culture. The UBC Jump Start program on both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses will help you ease into university life with academic, social, and logistical components that will set you up for success.

UBC’s Vancouver campus, August 20–30

On the Vancouver campus, Jump Start is an 11-day immersion program. The following new-to-UBC students are strongly encouraged to register:

10 reasons to register

Our past participants agree that Jump Start is the best way to start life at UBC. In their own words, here’s why:

  1. “You can build up your social network before the first term starts. That will improve your university life a lot.”
  2. “Being involved in a Learning Community your first year makes you feel a sense of belonging. It’s calming to be a part of a group like this.”
  3. “The student leaders are a meaningful resource and you can discuss anything and everything with them.”
  4. “You’ll know how to move around campus and Vancouver.”
  5. “You will meet people from all over the world.”
  6. “It will give you an early start in the academic portion of the university experience.”
  7. “The memories I made at Jump Start are some of the fondest of my time at UBC.”
  8. “The orientation leaders provide the benefits of experience and are able to understand your concerns as a first-year student.”
  9. “You’ll get to know the people in your program as well as some of your professors.”
  10. “There’ll be time to adjust to campus and university life and you’ll feel very prepared for the school year.”

Learn more about Jump Start Vancouver and register by July 4.

 

UBC’s Okanagan campus, August 27–September 1

On the Okanagan campus, Jumpstart is a one-week, pre-orientation experience for all new-to-UBCO students (domestic and international). Programming runs from August 27 to September 1, and students begin arriving on campus on August 26. All international students entering their first year at UBC are expected to register.

Jumpstart student highlights

Here is what three past participants – now current Jumpstart Program leaders – have said about their experiences:

“You get to experience all that the Okanagan Valley and surrounding communities have to offer, from the local ski resorts like Big White, to Okanagan Lake, and excursions out into the local area including parks and other outdoor activities. It was a great way to start the school year and get to know where you will be living for the next four years.”

“From the first few hours after getting off of the plane I felt like I was already part of a community. Everyone was so welcoming, from the leaders to the student service departments and the professors in our faculty during the faculty breakout sessions. The week of Jumpstart helped me set myself up for a solid start to my university career.”

“The leaders help incoming students feel well-supported in our new home away from home by using their knowledge of on-campus resources. This truly helps students become integrated in various campus communities.”

Learn more about Jumpstart Okanagan and register by July 31.

Financial planning and student loans

Financial planning and student loans

University is a costly endeavour, there’s no doubt about that. There’s tuition, books, residence fees or rent, food, monthly bills, clothing, entertainment – the list goes on. Coming up with a financial plan to manage these costs is an important first step, and UBC can help you with that.

Student loans

Sometimes, you need a little bit of extra help. If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may want to consider a student loan. The benefit to this program is that the government will pay the interest on your loan as long as you’re a full-time student. You will not be required to begin repaying it until six months after graduating (or ceasing to be a full-time student).

BC students can now apply for a loan for the 2017/18 academic year online through StudentAidBC. Students coming from another province can apply through your provincial lender. If you’re a US citizen, you’re eligible to apply for a Direct Loan. It usually takes a while for loan applications to be processed, which is why we recommend that you apply at least six weeks before the term starts to ensure your funding is available for the start of term.

Applying for a student loan is also part of the process of applying for a UBC bursary. This program is meant to help cover any unmet need if your student loan wasn’t enough. Please keep in mind that your student loan must be confirmed by September 15, so we recommend that apply for your loan by July 15.

Contact UBC for help planning your finances

There’s a lot of detail here, so if you have any questions about some of the financial aid opportunities available, please contact an Enrolment Services Professional (ESP) on the Vancouver campus. On the Okanagan campus, please email Student Services and Financial Support or call 250.807.9100.

Pay fees in the currency of your choice

Pay fees in the currency of your choice

Once you’ve accepted your offer of admission, you can pay your deposit, student fees, residence fees, and meal plan fees in the currency of your choice using international funds transfer. Through our partnership with Western Union Business Solutions, you can quickly and easily pay your education costs online, in your own currency.

Western Union Business Solutions will secure your exchange rate in advance and transfer your funds locally, so you don’t have to worry about currency fluctuations or international wire fees. Once you send your funds from your local bank, they will be credited to your UBC Student Service Centre (SSC) account in Canadian dollars within two to five business days. As you prepare to pay fees for the upcoming Winter Session, we recommend you consider paying by International Funds Transfer to take advantage of:

  • A locked-in exchange rate for 72 hours
  • No additional transaction charges from Western Union Business Solutions or UBC (though you may be charged a transaction fee by your bank)
  • Paying UBC fees in your own currency from a foreign bank account which will then be converted to Canadian dollars

Pay your deposit by international funds transfer

  1. Log into to your SSC account and select Financial Summary.
  2. Select the fees you want to pay.
  3. Select the international funds transfer payment method (by selecting the small Western Union icon).
  4. Western Union Business Solutions will contact you and provide you with a quote with an exchange rate valid for 72 hours.
  5. Follow the instructions provided directly to you by Western Union Business Solutions to make your payment before the quoted rate expires.
  6. Allow at least three business days for the funds to transfer into your SSC account before your fee payment deadline.

Pay your deposit with Interac or credit card

You may pay your acceptance deposit with Interac or credit card. Please keep in mind that UBC no longer accepts credit card payments for international tuition, housing, or meal plans, so you will need to plan ahead to make alternate arrangements for these fees.

Pay with Higher Ed Points

HigherEdPoints allow you to apply TD and Aeroplan reward points toward your tuition and fees. Sign up with HigherEdPoints and follow the steps for your loyalty program. You can find detailed information and instructions at HigherEdPoints.com.

For more information

For general tuition inquiries, please contact an Enrolment Services Professional (ESP) on the Vancouver campus. On the Okanagan campus, please email Student Services and Financial Support at sis.ubco@ubc.ca or call 250.807.9100. For questions about International Funds Transfer, please contact Western Union Business Solutions directly at studentinquiries@westernunion.com or toll free at 1.877.218.8829.

Accept your offer of admission

If you have received an offer of admission, you must formally accept it by June 1.