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UBC 101: Tips for International Students

It’s time to start thinking about university applications (is it ever too early?) and many students are going to be applying to UBC. And for good reason: UBC is an internationally recognized university and one of the top 3 research universities in Canada.

UBC is home to over 14,000 international students from over 162 countries! Thousands of students are just like you: non-native English speakers living away from home. And they’ve chosen UBC for good reason: an international reputation, the availability of co-op work programs, and the opportunity to take a semester or year from UBC to study at one of 220 universities around the world with transferable credit towards their degree.

So, what are your next steps?

British Columbia University Campus

First, you need to decide which UBC campus you want to study at. UBC has two campuses: its Vancouver campus, with over 40,000 undergraduate students, and its Okanagan campus with nearly 8,000 undergraduate students. UBC Okanagan is located in the interior city of Kelowna, which is a five-hour drive from Vancouver.

You can apply for one program at two campuses, OR two different programs at one campus. When making your decision, check out the different program offerings at the two campuses. Both offer high-quality programs, faculty, and student support, but they differ greatly in terms of student population, climate, and geography.

As well as having high academic requirements from its applicants, prospective UBC students must create and submit a personal profile that will highlight all the unique things about themselves. Be sure to take your time to answer these short personal essay questions to the best of your ability. If you are applying for a Commerce degree at UBC the personal profile also has a required video component.UBC Koerner Library

Next, you must meet all general requirements for UBC admissions, as well as program-specific requirements. The sooner you know these requirements the better, so if you have an idea of which faculty you would like to study in (Applied Science, Arts, Commerce, etc.) then you can prepare well ahead of time.

Finally, UBC has English language requirements so that all students have a similar standard of English proficiency. If your English language proficiency does not yet meet the required level (but you meet the other requirements for UBC admission), you may still get into UBC through one of the English pathway programs: Vantage College at UBC’s Vancouver campus, or the English Foundation Program at the UBC Okanagan campus. These programs enable students with some English language weaknesses to improve their English language skills while taking accredited courses. This option allows ESL students to transition to their program of choice in their second year of study.

British Columbia University International Students

Remember that all international students at both UBC campuses are required to participate in the Jump Start program in August prior to the commencement of the academic year. Jump Start is a 10-day program designed to assist and support first-year international students (yes, even those who have attended high school in Canada!) make a successful transition from high school to university.

Good luck with your application!

Why study in Burnaby?

With superior academic programs and modern facilities, all located within a city of vibrant green spaces, modern shopping malls, safe residential neighbourhoods, and state of the art public transit, choosing an education in Burnaby is the right choice.


Burnaby School District has one of the largest Advanced Placement (AP) programs in Canada.


Burnaby is located in the centre of Metro Vancouver. Its world-class SkyTrain public transit provides access to downtown Vancouver in just 30 minutes.


Burnaby schools feature modern facilities and state of the art technology.

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