Personal Profile

To assess your preparedness for university, UBC will evaluate you on a broad range of criteria including your academic achievements and personal experiences. That’s where the Personal Profile section of UBC’s online application comes in. Knowing more about you through your Personal Profile helps us determine whether you will flourish here – not just because of your grades, but also because of the experiences and ambition you bring with you.

 

Do you need to write a Personal Profile?

You must complete a Personal Profile as part of your online application if:

  • You’re a high school student applying to any degree on UBC’s Okanagan or Vancouver campuses.
  • You’re a post-secondary transfer student applying to Nursing on the Okanagan campus, or Commerce or Kinesiology on the Vancouver campus.

Preparing for the Personal Profile

The Personal Profile gives you the chance to tell UBC about the things that are important to you, your significant achievements, what you’ve learned from your experiences, and the challenges that you’ve overcome. This information – along with your academic achievements – will be used to determine your admissibility to UBC and your eligibility for entrance scholarships and awards. There is no separate application for entrance scholarships and awards, so the Personal Profile is the only opportunity for you to tell us about yourself.

Tips to consider

  • Because each of the questions in the Personal Profile requires short essay answers (anywhere from 50 to 200 words), you’ll want to brainstorm some ideas before you start your online application.
  • Don’t just provide a list of accomplishments without taking the time to reflect on what you have learned from them, and what you want to continue learning at UBC.
  • When writing your responses, be specific. Use details to substantiate and elaborate on your answers.
  • Focus on what you want to say and be true to who you are. Don’t provide the answers you think UBC wants to hear. We’re interested in your unique voice.

Questions to ask yourself before you begin writing

The following questions can help you reflect on your experiences and accomplishments, and may help you shape your Personal Profile answers.

  • What are the qualities you think make for a successful university student? How have you demonstrated such qualities in the past?
  • Think about your first-choice UBC degree. What kinds of activities, accomplishments, and insights – learned in or outside of the classroom – do you think would be relevant to this degree?
  • Think about your accomplishments and activities. What have you learned from these experiences? When have you taken on a leadership role? What do you excel in at school or outside of school? What do you enjoy learning in school? Or what do you enjoy doing outside of school that has influenced what you want to learn?
  • Think about the role others have played in your accomplishments and experiences.
  • Think about how your favourite teacher would describe you. Why would your teacher describe you this way? Be specific. Try to incorporate this information into your responses.
  • Think about two or three adjectives that best describe you. For each, provide some evidence of why they describe. Be specific. Try to incorporate this information into your responses.
  • Think about the challenges that you have had to overcome in your life. What have those experiences taught you about yourself and about your community?

Personal Profile questions

Depending on which degree(s) you apply to, you’ll be asked to answer some or all of the following questions in your Personal Profile:

  1. Explain how you responded to a problem and/or an unfamiliar situation. What did you do, what was the outcome, and what did you learn from the experience?
  2. Briefly describe the culture of your school community and your involvement within it. What impact has the school culture had on you? How would you enhance or change it?
  3. Tell us about who you are. How would your family, friends, and/or members of your community describe you? If possible, please include something about yourself that you are most proud of and why.
  4. What is important to you? And why?
  5. Describe up to five activities that you have pursued or accomplishment achieved in one or more of the following areas. Please outline the nature of your responsibilities within these activities. (50 words per description)
  6. Tell us more about one or two activities listed above that are most important to you. Please explain the role you played and what you learned in the process. You will be asked for a reference who can speak to your response.
  7. Additional information: You may wish to use the space below to provide UBC with more information on your academic history to date and/or your future academic plans. For example: How did you choose your courses in secondary school? Are there life circumstances that have affected your academic decisions to date? What have you done to prepare yourself specifically for your intended area of study at UBC?
  8. Please submit the names of two referees who know you well and can comment on your preparedness for study at UBC. Examples of referees include an employer, a community member, a coach, a teacher/instructor, or anyone who knows you well. One of the referees you select must be able to speak to one of the activities/experiences described in one of your long-answer responses above. For applicants who are currently attending a high school, one of your referees must be a school official (e.g., Grade 12 or senior year counsellor, teacher, or IB coordinator). Neither referee should be a friend, family member, or paid agent.

If you’re applying to any of the following degrees, UBC will also look at additional criteria, materials, and/or supplemental applications.

Okanagan campus

Vancouver campus

How UBC evaluates your Personal Profile

UBC looks at each prospective student as a whole person: a combination of talents, interests, and passions. Whatever your background, experiences, and skills, the Personal Profile is your chance to help us learn more about you. We’re not looking for a particular experience, and there are no right or wrong answers. We encourage you to focus less on telling us what you think we to want hear and instead concentrate on what you want to say and how you want to say it.

UBC’s trained readers will read and evaluate your Personal Profile and compare it with the profiles written by other UBC applicants. Your profile will be assessed against four criteria:

Engagement and accomplishment

How do you pursue your interests and manage your responsibilities? What do you do with your time when you are not in class? What would you (or others in your community) consider your most significant contributions and accomplishments? Whether it’s winning an international award or taking care of a younger sibling, any experience can teach you something about yourself and/or the world around you. We want to know what you have been doing and what have you have learned from your experiences. Make sure to give specific examples.

Leadership

Have you undertaken responsibilities and activities that have benefitted those around you and/or contributed to your community in a meaningful way? If so, what have you learned about yourself and others in the process? Leadership can come in many forms. Any act of responsibility and/or initiative that serves others is a form of leadership. Leadership can be demonstrated in a formal role, within a group (i.e., being president of a club or captain of a team), or in an informal role, as an individual (i.e., taking it upon yourself to help in your community). And remember – it’s not just about being in a leadership role, it’s about what leadership has taught you.

Substance

Have you spent sufficient time reflecting upon what you want to say? Have you answered the questions in a detailed and meaningful way? Is the content of your Personal Profile superficial or clichéd, or are you presenting interesting, well-thought-out, and relevant ideas? Remember that trained UBC readers will be reviewing and comparing thousands of Personal Profiles. The best way to stand out is by making sure you have something meaningful and insightful to say.

Voice

Communication is important. Have you written a Personal Profile that is genuine and unique to who you are? Does your profile authentically reflect your own words? Will your voice stand out in a meaningful way, or will your profile read like many others?