Choosing your first-year courses

Choosing your first-year courses

As soon as you’ve been admitted to UBC, you can begin exploring the courses you’ll be taking in your first year. Most students are able to take one or two courses outside program requirements, with a wide range to choose from.

Familiarize yourself with all the possibilities and you’ll have a head start in preparing a course timetable. Registration for first-year programs on the Vancouver campus and registration for first-year programs on the Okanagan campus both take place in June.

Exploring courses

A good first step is learning how to read course descriptions. This explains how program requirements are listed, which is necessary in order to understand your requirements and options.

Required courses

It’s important to be aware of your program’s specific course requirements – that is, the courses that must be completed in order to graduate with a chosen degree.

Important additional requirements

In addition to core courses for your specific program of study, first-year undergraduate programs at UBC include an English, Writing, or Communications requirement as an important element of academic instruction. This applies to all students, regardless of first language or citizenship, so make sure to note what your program requirements are.

First-year English

In particular, if you’re required (or choose) to take a first-year English course (i.e., ENGL 100-level) on the Vancouver campus, you will have to pass the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) test before you can begin the course, unless you fall into one of the categories for exemption from LPI. There are important LPI deadlines in July, so if you have to take an ENGL 100-level course, be sure to check the LPI deadline information to see what applies to you. You can also check First-year English frequently asked questions.

Entry requirements for first-year English in Okanagan programs are slightly different, with several pre-requisite options.

Elective courses

In addition to required courses, students in most faculties are able to take elective courses in which to pursue themes of personal interest. Taking courses outside your own faculty is greatly encouraged – so open up the Academic Calendar and let your imagination soar!

What grades do I need to maintain my UBC offer of admission?

What grades do I need to maintain my UBC offer of admission?

First of all, remember that your offer of admission was based on a combination of your academic profile and Personal Profile. So when we receive your final grades, we are looking at them in combination with your Personal Profile.

We review on a case-by-case basis

In May we will review grades for students who were admitted during first-round offers, as well as grades for students who self-reported and were admitted in the March-to-April timeframe. This is when we verify that the grade information submitted to UBC on your academic record is accurate. Should there be any concerns with your grades, we will reach out to you. In July we review final grades, and if you meet the conditions on your offer of admission, we will update your offer to reflect that.

Still, you may want a definitive answer: “Tell me exactly how much my grades can drop before I lose my offer.” But each student’s case is unique and we treat each student individually. It would not be fair to say, “Everyone who drops more than X% loses their offer,” or, “Everyone whose grades drop below Y% loses their offer.” Each student’s case is different. We do not like to withdraw offers of admission, but we have to ensure that offers are made consistently and fairly to all applicants, and that you have a solid foundation for success at UBC.

We review changes in applicants’ level of academic standing on a case-by-case basis. You can see some of the grade changes that may cause us to look at your application more closely when final grades are submitted.

Our best advice: keep working hard to present your best final grades so we can confirm your offer of admission to UBC.

Offers of admission sent via mail or courier

Offers of admission sent via mail or courier

If you’ve been admitted to UBC, we will send you (by mail or by courier, depending on your location) an admission package containing your official offer of admission letter and a UBC Registration and Orientation Guide.

Check your application status on the Student Service Centre – if it’s been longer than four weeks since you were admitted and you haven’t yet received your package, please contact us. We may need you to update your address information with us.

UBC housing application closes on May 1 – Apply now!

UBC housing application closes on May 1 – Apply now!

Living on campus is more than just a practical option for housing – it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the UBC student experience. All first-year undergraduates who enter UBC from high school are guaranteed a place in residence, but you must apply by May 1, 2017 (if you didn’t already do so as part of your UBC online application). The UBC housing application will close on May 1, 2017.

If you’re not planning to live on campus, you can build your own home away from home at the Collegia on UBC’s Vancouver campus and Okanagan campus. These are on-campus spaces where you can relax, store food, and connect with new friends.

Feeling at home on campus

No matter where you live, you will be part of a supportive environment that’s designed to help you adjust to university and enjoy your time as a student, meet new people, and make lifelong friends.

You’ll also have a range of meal options (Vancouver campus | Okanagan campus) to choose from.

Move-in day on the Vancouver campus

Move-in day on the Okanagan campus

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