Tips from UBC students for after you’ve been admitted

Tips from UBC students for after you’ve been admitted

All of your hard work has paid off, and you’ve been admitted to UBC! The road ahead is filled with crucial tasks to ensure that you’re ready for your first year of university – including planning your finances, registering for courses, and getting mentally prepared for life at UBC.

Four current UBC students reflect on the admission process and share their best tips for making the next several months simple and stress-free.

Meet the students

Kanchi-Dave

Kanchi Dave | Mumbai, India

Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

“It was crucial that the university I chose would celebrate diversity and have a strong support system for an international student like me. UBC fit those criteria brilliantly.”

 

Reed-Eaglesham

Reed Eaglesham | St. Catharines, Canada

International Economics

“When I flew out to Vancouver, the campus sucked me in. That’s when I knew I would go to UBC.”

 

Radia-Mbengue

Radia Mbengue | Dakar, Senegal

Gender and Women’s Studies

“UBC’s reputation played a major role in my decision to attend, and the diversity on campus was definitely a plus. I saw that the university could easily become my second home.”

 

Jeremiah-Hyslop

Jeremiah Hyslop | Xaxli’p First Nation, West Kelowna, Canada

Biology

“Deciding to attend UBC was an easy choice for me. After visiting the Okanagan campus for science fairs and leadership conferences over the years, I knew I wanted this to be my university.

 

Accepting your offer

accept-ubc-offer

“My Peer Mentor answered my questions when I was confused, was there for me when I needed someone to talk to, and even took us to a Rockets game!” – Jeremiah

“My ESP is my go-to for financial matters, tuition payments, and official document requests.” – Kanchi

“I think everything was pretty straight forward – I got all the information I needed from the website and interactions with UBC staff.” – Radia

 

Applying for a study permit

study-permit

“Find out in advance all the documents you need and start the application process as early as possible.” – Radia

“I got started on my study permit and visa application as soon as I received my official offer letter in the mail. The faster you get it done the better. It’s beneficial to have your parents apply for the visa with you. All the applications get reviewed together then.” – Kanchi

 

Planning your finances

planning-finances

“I went to an ESP workshop where they showed us how to make a budget and plan ahead – lessons that proved useful when I was budgeting for an exchange trip to South Korea.” – Reed

“My family and I budgeted for my time at UBC by planning out foreseen expenses, and not spending extra money until we knew we had some left over.” – Jeremiah

“I did a little math and decided to have a set amount of money that I could spend each month. To stay within my limit, I had to compromise on luxuries like new clothes, but never compromised on food!” – Kanchi

“The Cost Calculator on the UBC website determines your costs depending on your program. I’d advise to make a clear plan of what you expect to spend each month in food, housing, and personal spending.” – Radia

 

Finding a place to live

find-accommodation

“Bring a travel bag for those unexpected weekend trips or camping.” – Radia

“Your Residence Advisor (RA) is there to help you adapt, make friends, and feel at home. One year, as an RA, I organized a ‘Floormal Dinner,’ where our floor made a meal, decorated a table in the lounge, and dressed up to eat together.” – Reed

“I decided to live off campus, at home, in first year because I found it was a much more cost-efficient option. I enjoy carpooling with others who live in the same area, because it adds social time to my day.” – Jeremiah

“Your res room is your home for a whole year, so make it like home. Get all your favourite room decorations (it really helps to reduce the homesickness!). Two other essentials are noise-cancelling headphones and a mini refrigerator.” – Kanchi

 

Exploring your academic options

explore-academics

“By attending Supplemental Learning sessions, which go over course materials in greater detail, I ended up meeting like-minded people with whom I became friends.” – Jeremiah

“In first year, an advisor told me to ask myself what skills and experiences I want to possess when I graduate. That question has steered most of my decisions at UBC.” – Kanchi

“I belong to the Political Science Student Association, the Debate Club, the African and Caribbean Student Club, the Model UN Club, and the Society of Scholars program. I like the fact that I am able to be in groups academically related, such as the political science association. But I really enjoy the fact that I can still have fun while learning new things – the Debate Club is a perfect example of that.” – Radia

“I took part in an exchange to Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. It was my first experience living abroad and opened my horizons to a new culture and to cross-cultural communication. Since I’m studying international economics, I felt like I hadn’t understood the importance of international relations and the nuance needed to navigate in a globalized world.” – Reed

 

Reviewing your program requirements

program-requirements

“My program had a standard timetable in first year, but I still had to choose electives. Check with your academic advisor to find out which non-major credits are mandatory for your degree.” – Reed

“Something I wish I had known was the long-term course requirements, such as the fact that I needed to take a certain number of Arts credits as a Science student – which I could have enrolled in in first year to balance the range of subjects that I studied at the time.” – Jeremiah

“I am very grateful for the dedication of my peer mentor to help me. He sent me multiple emails before I got to UBC to help me through the process and answer all the questions I had.” – Radia

 

Registering for courses

course-registration

“Have a pen and paper in hand, the course registration page open in one tab, and your degree requirements list from calendar.ubc.ca open in another.” – Kanchi

“The toughest part was knowing what courses to take and when to take them. Talk to your Peer Mentor, consult an academic advisor, and ask as many questions as you can.” – Radia

“Start planning your courses and timetables early to leave time to think about your decisions and make sure they are the right ones. I also strongly recommend that new students don’t register in courses because their friends are – there are opportunities to make new friends everywhere!” – Jeremiah

 

Getting ready for life at UBC!

ubc-life

Jumpstart gave me the chance to discover the campus and city, and learn about university resources. Through Create, I met people in different faculties and programs.” – Radia

“I’ve been friends with people I met at Imagine UBC for my entire degree. In fact, I’m spending Thanksgiving with them in Whistler.” – Reed

“In first year, I signed up for a bunch of clubs and organizations. Some I liked and some I didn’t. Each year, I discovered more about what I love and which community I really felt like I belonged to.” – Kanchi

“Working in the Aboriginal Centre connects me to my heritage and UBC’s Aboriginal community. It’s a chance to give back to one of the places on campus that felt like home in first year.” – Jeremiah

Okanagan students: find your faculty on social media

go global, new zealand
Image: Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences | Students in the Go Global program in New Zealand.

By now you’re probably burnt out on university research and you’re enjoying the relief and joy that came with your UBC acceptance letter. But before you melt into a summer daze, we have one last task for you.

Stalk your UBC faculty on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter so that you arrive informed this fall. Peering inside the mind of meditating monks? Saw the video on the Faculty of Health and Social Development’s Twitter. The Okanagan professor spearheading a program to save the bees? Read about it on the Creative and Critical Studies’ Facebook.

Find your faculty below and follow along this summer.

Faculty Social channels
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies UBC Creative and Critical Studies Facebook
UBC Creative and Critical Studies Twitter
Faculty of Health and Social Development UBC Health and Social Development Facebook
UBC Health and Social Development Twitter
Faculty of Management UBC Management Facebook
UBC Management Twitter
Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences UBC School of Arts and Sciences Facebook
UBC School of Arts and Sciences Twitter
UBC School of Arts and Sciences Instagram
School of Engineering UBC School of Engineering Facebook

Vancouver students: Find your faculty on social media

ubc forestry
Image: Faculty of Forestry | Students use a mobile scavenger hunt game to find specific types of soil in the forest floor at UBC Farm.

By now – with your UBC acceptance letter in hand and your course plans for September taking shape – you’ve no doubt done your fair share of research on your program and faculty. Come September you’ll be diving into the deep end of university life, so now is a great time to test the waters by seeing what students and professors in your faculty are up to.

By stalking your new UBC community on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you’ll arrive this fall already in the know. The Engineering SailBot that prepared to sail across the Atlantic Ocean? Watched the video on Facebook. The new orb sculpture on campus that was originally designed for Burning Man? Saw it on the Arts Insta. Another UBC Sauder alum crushing it in the business world? Read about it in Sauder’s tweet.

Find your faculty below and follow along this summer so that you arrive informed in the fall.

Faculty Social channels
Faculty of Applied Science (Engineering) UBC Engineering Facebook
UBC Engineering Twitter
UBC Engineering Instagram
Faculty of Arts UBC Arts Facebook
UBC Arts Twitter
UBC Arts Instagram
Faculty of Forestry UBC Forestry Facebook
UBC Forestry Twitter
UBC Forestry Instagram
Snapchat: ubcforestry
Faculty of Land and Food Systems UBC Land and Food Systems Facebook
UBC Land and Food Systems Twitter
UBC Land and Food Systems Instagram
Faculty of Science UBC Science Facebook
UBC Science Twitter
UBC Sauder School of Business UBC Sauder School of Business Facebook
UBC Sauder School of Business Twitter
UBC Sauder School of Business Instagram
Snapchat: ubcsauderschool
School of Kinesiology UBC School of Kinesiology Facebook
UBC School of Kinesiology Twitter
UBC School of Kinesiology Instagram
School of Music UBC School of Music Facebook
UBC School of Music Twitter
UBC Vantage College UBC Vantage College Facebook
UBC Vantage College Twitter
UBC Vantage College Instagram
Vancouver School of Economics at UBC Vancouver School of Economics Facebook
Vancouver School of Economics Twitter

 

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 seven simple 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 orientation, you will be joined by the entire class of 2020 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.

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.

As a UBC Collegia member on the Vancouver campus, you’ll have access to either the Oak Collegium or the Arbutus Collegium, which both feature large study and socializing spaces and a full kitchen. In addition to being the go-to place to make friends, eat, study, or nap, each collegium also connects you with:

  • Knowledgeable student advisors
  • UBC Faculty Fellows, who are professors who provide you with the unique opportunity to learn about the expectations of your new academic environment
  • Workshops and programs to ease your transition to university

 

“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 is comforting.”
– Ava Maleki, Land and Food Systems, Vancouver campus Collegia member

 

Membership is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis, at a cost of $150 (plus GST) for the September-to-April academic year. Learn more and apply for a UBC Collegia membership.

UBC Collegia 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 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 know as the “junior” collegium, is for new-to-UBC students to socialize while meeting new people and making connections on campus.

Upper-Level Collegium

The “senior” collegium is traditionally a quieter space where students can study 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.” The goal of the Global Collegium is to create connections among students and offer opportunities to share culture, usually via food.

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

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.

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 Degree Planning Chart on the Vancouver campus, and the Undergraduate Degree Requirements for your faculty on the Okanagan 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 list of First-Year English Course Entry Requirements. If you still have questions, please visit 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.

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 enroll 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 Rec | Okanagan Campus Rec
  • 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