Top five tips for choosing your university

Top five tips for choosing your university

Choosing which universities to apply to isn’t easy. Your friends might be set on one school, your parents might be insisting on another, but something about a different university really caught your eye. How do you know which one is right for you? Here are a few tips to help you get started.


Consider how the school stacks up

A university education is a big investment, and the school you choose sends a signal to the world. At a top-ranked school, you’ll enjoy one of the best educations in the world and join the workforce with a wealth of options. Graduating with a degree from a top 40 research university like UBC says something about you, and can open doors around the globe when you’re looking to begin your career.


Check out your academic options

If you have a program in mind, check out what and where you’ll learn. If you’re still not sure what to study, look for a school and degree that will give you lots of options down the road. Some universities provide the opportunity for combined programs, or let you select from a range of different electives across multiple subjects while still fulfilling the requirements for your degree. At UBC, you can choose from among 42 undergraduate degrees and hundreds of opportunities for specialization.


Choose a place you want to live

It’s important that the campus you choose has the right vibe for you. Universities can be rural or urban, in a major metropolis, or form a mini-city of its own. Some schools place more of an emphasis on academics, while others have a tradition of excellence in sports or the arts. UBC’s Okanagan and Vancouver campuses both have inclusive, well-rounded communities that will welcome and support you in whatever you’re passionate about, and each one offers a distinctive experience and unique path to a UBC degree.


Picture yourself on campus

Since visiting campus isn’t an option right now, take advantage of online events to get to know the schools you’re considering. At UBC, you can take a live virtual campus tour from home or check us out on Instagram. You’ll get a sense of where you could be going to lectures and studying for exams, eating lunch, and hanging out with friends between classes.


Crunch the numbers

Going to university is an investment in your future, and the costs can add up. Tuition varies across schools, as do the living costs, financial assistance, and awards available to you. You can usually find out all you need to know about planning your finances from a university’s website. For UBC, you can easily do the math with our cost calculator.



Complete your in-progress applications before March 15

Complete your in-progress applications before March 15

UBC’s online application closed on January 15 for most degrees, but there are still a few that are accepting applications.


Deadline to complete your application

If you’re currently working on an application to these degrees and have it saved in our system, we recommend finishing and submitting your application before March 15 at 11:59 pm PT.

Between March 16 and March 24, the university will be switching to a new online application system and will not be accepting any new applications from students. If you do not submit your application and pay the fee by March 15, you will lose any work you have saved in the current application system and you’ll be required to start over in the new system after March 24. There is also a chance that the degree you are interested in will stop accepting applications during this time.

So if you’re still interested in attending UBC, now is a good time to put the finishing touches on your application and submit it for review! We’re looking forward to learning more about you.


Need help?

Check our step-by-step guide and Applying to UBC video series for tips on choosing what to study, writing your personal profile, and understanding how UBC will evaluate your application.



Why we love the Okanagan campus

Why we love the Okanagan campus

With UBC’s application deadline coming up next month – January 15, at 11:59 pm (PST), to be exact – you’re probably excited to select the university experience that will be the best fit for you. So before you apply, make sure you check out UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC.

UBC is consistently ranked among the top 40 research universities in the world, and UBC Okanagan is a great place to be challenged, to thrive, and to develop into a global citizen. For 9,645 undergraduate students from 97 countries, the campus provides an unparalleled mix of academics, community, and recreation.


10 reasons why we love UBC Okanagan

  1. There are treadmills in the Swerwa reading room in the library so you can exercise while you study.
  2. The Okanagan is one of North America’s top grape-growing regions. You can study wine chemistry in a campus that is in the heart of 180+ wineries.
  3. Christine Schreyer, who teaches linguistic anthropology at UBC Okanagan, developed the Kryptonian language for the Superman: Man of Steel movie.
  4. You can take part in the BARK program, which brings cute, friendly dogs to campus to help you de-stress.
  5. The campus is heated and cooled by geothermal energy, helping with its carbon footprint and sustainability.
  6. There’s a beach volleyball court on campus.
  7. As well as more traditional courses, you could choose to take classes on the popular culture surrounding Harry Potter, vampires, and superheroes.
  8. There is an ice-cream club.
  9. After class, you can relax on the rooftop patio of the Purcell residence.
  10. There are several majors exclusive to UBC Okanagan, including data science, freshwater science, zoology, and health promotion.


Explore UBC Okanagan 

Start by checking out the list of programs offered at UBC Okanagan, and read up on what it’s like to live in the Okanagan Valley. Would you rather live in residence or live off campus? Take a look at this video about one student’s move-in day to get a sense of how it might be for you.

The best way to get a feel for the Okanagan campus is to join us for a campus tour. Because of COVID-19 we’ve suspended our in-person tours, but our student ambassadors would love to show you around and answer your questions as part of a live virtual tour.

Ready to apply? Coming to UBC’s Okanagan campus could be the best decision you’ve ever made. To learn more about Kelowna and the Okanagan campus, email, or call 1.888.807.8521.



Early application deadline for post-secondary transfer students

Early application deadline for post-secondary transfer students

There’s more than one way to become a UBC undergraduate. The majority of our students are admitted directly, but UBC also has a number of places available to those who have started their studies at a different post-secondary institution.

If you are a Canadian post-secondary student and you hope to transfer to UBC next year, read on to learn more about the application process.


Application deadline and process

UBC has an early application deadline for those transferring from a Canadian post-secondary institution.

If you apply by December 1, 2020, and submit your post-secondary transcripts that show courses attempted and in progress (and other required documents) by January 31, 2021, you will be considered for a first-round offer of admission based on those transcripts. If there are specific deadlines associated with your degree of choice, you will be notified once you have submitted your application.

If you attend a new institution that wasn’t included on your application, it’s important to contact us right away.


What if you don’t receive a first-round offer of admission?

If your application isn’t accepted based on your interim post-secondary grades, there is no need to reapply. Your application will remain in our system and you will be asked to submit final transcripts by May 15, 2021 for an evaluation in June.

Remember, applying early doesn’t increase your chances of gaining admission, but it can mean your application will be considered earlier, and you’ll receive an update about your admission status sooner – between February and April.


What happens if you miss the December 1 deadline?

If you apply between December 2, 2020 and January 15, 2021, make sure to submit your final official post-secondary transcripts and other required documents by the May 15, 2021 deadline. Your application will be evaluated with these final transcripts, and we will notify you about whether you have been accepted in June.


Learn more about application deadlines for post-secondary students, or contact us to ask your questions. Good luck!



Preparing for your Personal Profile

Preparing for your Personal Profile

It’s fantastic that so many of you are currently working on your online application to UBC. Starting early means you’ll have time to reflect on your answers to the Personal Profile section: an important part of UBC’s admissions decision.

The Personal Profile asks you six or seven questions about challenges you have overcome, significant achievements in your life, your academic pursuits, and what you have learned from these experiences. The questions differ depending on the degree program you are applying for, and you’ll find out what you’ll be asked when you begin your application.


Does everyone have to submit a Personal Profile?

Not all applicants are required to submit a Personal Profile, and others will have additional requirements, such as portfolios or auditions. To find out if your degree requires a Personal Profile, start the online application process and follow the instructions.


How do we assess your profile?

When we evaluate your application, two trained UBC readers will look for four qualities in your Personal Profile: engagement and accomplishment, leadership, substance, and voice. This is a chance for us to find out more about you and your experiences beyond academics. We want to hear about your life and achievements – what have you learned, and how have these moments allowed you to grow?

We are not looking for a particular experience, and there are no right or wrong answers. Be authentic, and focus on what you want to say about yourself and how you want to say it, rather than writing what you think we want to hear.


Do you need to record a video interview?

If you are applying to the UBC Sauder School of Business’s Bachelor of Commerce degree, you will be asked to provide video responses to interview questions in addition to your Personal Profile. You will be prompted to create your video responses within your application, including detailed instructions on how to include the video interview in the Personal Profile section of your application. Read our tips and watch a video about creating your video interview.

If you have not started working on your application yet, we encourage you to begin as soon as possible to make sure you have everything you need to submit your application on time.


Your Personal Profile and COVID-19

We know that, like all students around the world, you are adjusting to ongoing changes meant to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone safe. We understand that there may currently be limited or no access to extracurricular activities at school or in your community.

Remember that when we assess your Personal Profile we take into account all of the activities you’ve done across multiple years, not just the ones you hoped to complete in Grade 11 or 12. Your examples can come from any aspect of your life, including within your family or smaller community, or the challenges you may have faced while handling disruptions from COVID-19. There are no right or wrong answers – we’re not looking for certain activities or a long list of achievements, but rather your reflections on what you’ve experienced.


Good luck! We’re looking forward to learning more about you.


Should I work with an agent to apply to UBC?

Should I work with an agent to apply to UBC?

Have you considered working with an education consultancy, or agent, to apply to university? Researching and applying to overseas universities can be overwhelming, and an agent can sometimes simplify the process.

Before engaging with an agent, it’s important to know what your options are.


Do I need to work with an agent to apply to UBC?

No. Students are encouraged to apply directly to UBC and use the information provided in our Applying to UBC section. If you’re stuck or have a question about the application process, there are several ways you can connect with us:


What questions should I ask an agency?

Professional agencies follow standards of good practice, but not every agency is equal. If you work with an agency, you’re hiring them to perform a service for you and you should be free to ask some basic questions before committing:

  • Do you charge service fees to your clients, or do you have commission-based agreements with universities? If you charge service fees, what are they, and when should they be expected?
  • Are you certified by the American International Recruitment Council(AIRC) or other organizations or associations? Which ones? (Note that AIRC has one of the strictest certification processes for agencies to become members.)
  • Ask the advisor you are working with about their experience. They should be knowledgeable about the institutions they are promoting:
    • How many years have they been advising students about universities abroad?
    • Have they have visited UBC or the institution you are considering, or even your country of choice?
    • Have they taken any training, such as the Canada Course for Education Agents?
  • If an agent claims to have an agreement with UBC or another institution, ask to see a copy of their active agreement (not the certificate of representation on the wall, but the actual agreement).
  • Do you have the qualifications to advise on Canadian visas and study permits?


Important tips

  • When applying to UBC with the help of an agency, you should not have to complete any paper-based forms. The entire UBC admissions process occurs online at
  • Agents are not involved in any of UBC’s scholarships– these are conducted automatically, unless you are nominated by your high school.
  • Please do not allow an agent to complete your UBC application on your behalf. This may jeopardize your application if UBC Admissions determines that your application is not an authentic submission.
  • You – not the agent – are responsible for submitting your application to UBC on time, and ensuring you meet the requirements. You are also responsible for completing all the other necessary steps to be considered for admission.


What an agent cannot do for you

  • Working with an agency does not increase your chances of admission or of obtaining a scholarship at UBC. All students are assessed on the merit of their grades and overall application.
  • An agent cannot write or assist in writing your Personal Profileor any part of your application.
  • An agent cannot submit false records or documents.
  • Agencies cannot access your UBC records without your consent. You must have completed a Third Party Authorization in order for your agent to have access to your UBC information from your Student Service Centre(SSC) account.
  • An agent cannot submit payments for any UBC-related fees on your behalf.

And remember – we’re here to help. If you’re having difficulty with the application process, need to know more about UBC, or have any further questions about working with an agent, please contact us.


Tips for creating your BCom application video interview


If you’re applying to UBC Sauder School of Business’s Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) program, your Personal Profile will include a video interview section. You’ll be asked to provide on-camera responses to two pre-recorded questions. We’ve created these tips to help you prepare for, and create, a strong video. Read on for more information!


Why is the video interview important?

In the BCom program, collaboration, in-class discussion, and public speaking are daily activities. Your ability to listen to others and to communicate your thoughts and ideas clearly are essential to your success, and, in many cases, the success of your team during group work.

If you’re intimidated by the thought of speaking on-camera, don’t worry. The questions will relate to your personal experiences and opinions, so there are no wrong answers. In fact, the video interview is a great opportunity for you to showcase how you can think critically, perform under pressure, and stand out from other applicants.


How to create your video interview

Within your Personal Profile, you’ll be directed to a separate online video-interview platform. Be sure to:

  1. Read all instructions thoroughly.
  2. Allow yourself ample time to test your recording equipment.
  3. Try a practice question before recording responses to two set interview questions.

Please keep in mind that you’ll only have one attempt to respond to each question. Once you’ve started to view a question, you won’t be able to pause or replay it. You’ll be given 30 seconds to think about your answer, and up to 90 seconds to record it.


Tips for creating your video interview

  • Take time to reflect. Think about past challenges, achievements, strengths, and beliefs.
  • Create the best recording space possible. Close all other browser windows and programs on your device. Make sure there’s good lighting in front of you. Silence all audible alarms and alerts. Eliminate loud background noises, and make sure you are free from other distractions.
  • Be confident. Maintain good posture, smile, and present yourself professionally. You’ll find these simple actions will put you in the right mindset to deliver a natural response. Do not read from prepared statements or notes.
  • Don’t dwell on mistakes. Natural speech isn’t always perfect – the occasional “umm” or mispronounced word is commonplace and to be expected. If you misspeak during your response, take a moment, breathe, and keep going. Remember, you’ll have just one attempt to answer each question – there are no do-overs.
  • Be authentic. One of the reasons we’ve incorporated the video interview into your application is to get to know you better. Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear; tell us what you want us to know about you.

We’re looking forward to learning more about you. Good luck!



Choosing what to study


A common question we’re asked here at UBC is about the difference between a degree and a program. What’s a program? What’s a degree? And why is it important to tell them apart when you’re deciding what to study?


Degree versus program. What’s the difference?

At UBC, your degree refers to the level and type of study you will complete during university (e.g., Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science). It’s the designation you’ll earn at graduation.

A program refers to the subject you choose to specialize in (e.g., your major in Anthropology or Biology). It’s your area of focus within your degree.

For example, if you study in the History program, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. If you study in the Civil Engineering program, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Applied Science degree.


Applying to a UBC degree

When you apply to UBC, you’ll select a degree and a campus. The online application allows you to choose two degrees (a first and second choice), which can be on different campuses and in different Faculties.

Before you apply, it’s a good idea to check out UBC’s programs to get a sense of which subjects interest you most. Once you have a list of programs, you can use it to help you select the degrees you’d like to apply to.


Selecting your UBC program

For most degrees, you don’t have to commit to a program until your second or third year of study. But if you compile a list of programs you’re interested in when you apply to UBC, you’ll be set up to select the one you’d like to major in when it’s time to choose.

Learn more about applying to UBC and about choosing a degree and program.