How to Master Your Application: UBC Personal Profile Examples

When applying to UBC, your Personal Profile is a chance for UBC to find out more about your hobbies, interests, values and life beyond grade percentages and academics. Keep in mind that, though your grades are beneficial to your application, your work experience and how you portray it is integral to applying to UBC. This guide has been updated for 2024 & 2025, so let’s kick off these applications strong!

Here are our best tips to answer your personal profile questions, along with some UBC personal profile examples:

Preparing for the UBC Personal Profile:

Each of the Personal Profile questions requires short essay responses, so you’ll want to think about your answers before you start your online application. Here are four tips to keep in mind:

  • Take time to reflect. Instead of simply listing your accomplishments and experiences, tell the UBC committee what you’ve learned from them.
  • Be specific. Use details to provide context and elaborate on your answers.
  • Be true to who you are. Don’t focus on what you think UBC wants to hear. Be authentic and use your unique voice to tell them what you want to say.
  • Utilize the full word count (or as close as possible without going over) to create an effective essay and have the best impact on the UBC committee.

Writing your Personal Profile:

You’ll be seeing the word STAR a lot throughout this guide! STAR is an effective way to structure your experiences within your essays. Before reading on, check out our video below for a complete guide on how to use the STAR structure!

Depending on which degree(s) you apply to, you’ll be asked to answer some or all of the following questions in your UBC Personal Profile. Let’s take a look at each prompt question, a description on how to structure your answers, and an example for each essay.

UBC Personal Profile Examples

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?

  • For an unfamiliar situation that you encountered, ask yourself: What skills did I use? How did I delegate tasks? How did I communicate to work through the situation? How will I use what I learned from this experience in my future – especially at UBC?
    • You’ll want to start with a Hook (1-2 sentences) that grabs the reader’s attention & introduces an unfamiliar situation.
    • Then, talk about your experience that describes the situation using STAR to demonstrate how you overcame it. (3-5 sentences)
    • Last, add your reflection (1-2 sentences)- reflect on the experience and what you learned from it and how you will use that lesson in the future.

Example:

I was terrified at the news of immigrating to Canada from India when I was 15 years old. With English as my second language, I struggled to acclimate to my new environment, and felt very alone within my new school. Typically a shy person, I knew I had to step outside of my comfort zone to meet new people, so I joined the Multicultural Club. Throughout my time with the Multicultural Club, I organized many events including the Potluck Lunch and Book Drive, but I am most proud of initiating the Welcome Wagon, a club that helps new students feel welcome and accepted on their first day. As the spearhead, I recruited members from the Multicultural Club and created and placed posters on the school walls for any students who wanted to participate. I collaborated with the administration who let me know when new students would be starting their first day throughout the school year, and planned a bottle drive to raise funds for new student gift bags. So far we have welcomed eight new students who immediately felt safe and accepted, who have all planned to continue the Welcome Wagon once I have graduated. Through this experience, I have learned that taking small steps can lead to impactful moments and have strengthened my communication and organizational skills. I plan to use these newfound skills to initiate an inclusive club within UBC.

2. 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.

  • This is a great opportunity to boast about yourself! Choose one or two qualities that your friends and family would describe you as, and use that as a launching pad to talk about what you’re most proud of! This should be an impressive role in your community that emulates the quality that you are discussing.

Example:

Compassionate, driven and goofy are the adjectives my family and friends would use when describing my character. Throughout my life, I have been praised for the attentive and dedicated passion that I give to everything I do, including my corny knock-knock jokes. My unrelenting hard work has led me to academic excellence – maintaining a two year average of 93%, excelling in challenging courses like Biology and Calculus. As an ambitious leader, I welcome challenges, which is exemplified in my contributions as President of the Student Council during the Covid-19 pandemic. I led a team through virtual events including the senior graduation ceremony, and became a support system for students during remote learning. Our online events continue to provide educational resources for students, mental health support, and promote antiracism within my school. Through creating multiple spreadsheets and organizing weekly online planning sessions, tasks were easily delegated to make each event safe and successful. I made sure to start each meeting with a fun ice-breaker to keep the meetings interesting and most often ended with a “hilarious” joke. As an empathetic leader, I continue to address issues in my school’s community, and create an inclusive environment focused on student well-being and success. My ability to understand the unique needs of each individual, empathize with their challenges, and support them intently makes me the leader that I am proud to be.

3. What is important to you? And why?

  • This question is short and simple. And that is exactly how you should answer it! If animals are important to you, discuss how you volunteered at a vet clinic. If anti-racism is important to you, discuss your advocacy work! Connect your interests to the work you’ve done. You can also connect these qualities to any awards you may have won in or outside of school. This is a great place to use STAR! Check out our YouTube video on using STAR to structure your essays! If you’re struggling to connect your volunteer experiences to an important value, check out the UN Sustainable Goals chart. If you can relate your volunteer work to tackling one of these causes, then you are on the right track!

Example:

For as long as I can remember, animals have been my passion. By choice, I became a vegan when I was nine because I could not fathom the idea of eating something I cherished so much. From a young age, I knew I was meant to work with animals, and growing up, I started learning more about the importance of animal welfare. Learning that thousands of animals around the world suffer from being used for entertainment, food, medicine, fashion, scientific advancement, or as exotic pets, I decided to start an annual fundraiser to support the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada (AWFC). Collaborating with a local gas station, I organized the Animal Welfare Bottle Drive-Car Wash where drivers could donate bottles and cans in exchange to have their car cleaned. I recruited volunteers through social media posts and advertised the event through the local radio station and newspaper. We also made large posters to hang up on the day of the event for easy visibility and directions. I reached out to the local hardware store for donations of sponges and safe soap for automobiles, and the local coffee shop donated 50 donuts and bottled water for the customer snack table. And just in case patrons wanted to donate cash, we placed a donation can right next to the donuts, along with informational flyers to help educate about animal welfare. The volunteers and I decided to rotate through the tasks throughout the six hour day, including collecting and sorting bottles, spraying down and sponge washing the vehicles, along with towel drying them. Overall, we collected $430 worth of bottles and cans, along with $250 in cash donations to contribute to the AWFC, which will help improve the lives of over 50 animals throughout Canada. As all of the flyers were distributed, multiple people are now more educated about the importance of this cause, and my team has developed a strong sense of community through this event. My communication and organizational skills will benefit the UBC Pre-Veterinary and Animal Welfare Club, as I plan to initiate more fundraisers within the group, along with returning to Nanaimo each summer for the annual AWFC Bottle Drive-Car Wash.  I believe animals should be respected as citizens of this earth, and as a future vet, I plan to work towards educating others and being a changemaker in every patient I treat.

4. Describe up to five activities that you have pursued or accomplishments achieved in one or more of the following areas. Please outline the nature of your responsibilities within these activities: (Club, Family/community responsibilities, creative or performing arts, work/employment, Athletics, Volunteer, Service to others, Other(s)

  • Be diverse in your activities and throughout your application. Try to aim for experiences in multiple areas (academic achievement + community service + athletics). If applicable, you can include creative or employment initiatives.
  • The prompt asks for “up to” 5 activities, but don’t let that fool you! They want five!
  • Describing your experiences in 50 words may seem tough, so follow this guideline for the most effective way to write your accomplishments:
    • 1 sentence – Describe the achievement and your main goal why you wanted to accomplish this.
    • 1 sentence – Describe the steps/strategies/set of plans you took to meet your goal.
    • 1 sentence – Describe the result or the positive impact of your efforts.

Example:

Last year, I joined the X program to invent a tool that delivers safe drinking water in the province of Y. Through my efforts of using Z technology, our team was able to provide potable water to 300 families in Y.

5. 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.

  • For this essay, you get to choose whether you want to write about one or two activities! It’s easier to fully develop an experience and incorporate self-reflection if you only mention one; however, two activities can be effective if there is linear development (i.e. if one led to the other).
    • Aim to start with a 1-2 sentence Hook to catch the reader’s attention.
    • Afterwards, describe the experience(s) using STAR structure! For this example, we’ll break down the STAR structure for you!

Example:

(Hook) Extinction is a natural phenomenon, claiming about five species per year. But some experts suggest we’re in the midst of the sixth mass extinction — one that is caused mostly by human activity. (S) As a dedicated environmental advocate, I decided to join The Eco-Warrior Club, a student club that promotes sustainability and environmental preservation, in 2019. (T) As this year’s club president, I aim to extend the influence of our club to the community to develop more environmental leaders in our community. (A)  With this, I led the planning and organization of activities such as the No Plastic Week Challenge, Zero Waste Online Campaign, and Sustainability Workshop Series. I created project timelines to ensure preparations were completed on time and delegated assignments to my team members to ensure tasks were distributed evenly. (R) As a result, we inspired the youth in our community to participate in sustainability practices through fun and engaging activities. I am delighted whenever I hear our youth participants engage in stimulating conversations on sustainability and environmentalism. The heightened interest in these topics has also motivated me to start the Eco-Warrior Youth Organization to widen our reach and develop more youth leaders to fight against the climate crisis.

6. 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?

  • This question is a great way to connect any school mantras, mottos, or slogans to your volunteer work in school. For example, if your school is dedicated to excellence, you can discuss how you strived for excellence when you were President of Student Council, or as a volunteer or member of a club. Talk about how your excellence manifested into results, and include a self reflection on how you felt connected to the school culture.
    • Again, you’ll want to start with a hook to catch the reader’s attention, and this would be a great place to share your school’s culture!
    • Then, talk about your experience that describes the situation using STAR to demonstrate how you overcame it. (3-5 sentences)
    • Last, add your reflection (1-2 sentences)- reflect on the experience and what you learned from it.

Through the culture of student leadership, opportunity and inclusivity, St. Williams High’s Code of Conduct states that “All students have the right to learn in a safe environment without

discrimination of any kind”.  I often witnessed certain social groups within my school not following these values through racial comments and lack of inclusivity within their events. As a member of the Social Justice Club, I decided to organize a campaign to spread awareness about the effects of bullying and racism. We tied white ribbons on the classroom door handles which symbolize International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) around the world. I brainstormed with my team to come up with quick inspiring announcements that we can make on the PA each morning for a week. We created posters and banners to hand throughout the school, and I manned an information booth at lunch for the week, creating a safe space for students to come talk.  The campaign was also publicized in a local newspaper, spreading awareness beyond our area to the entire Nanaimo community. Due to our campaign, multiple local businesses hung white ribbons, and students of Williams High became more aware of how their actions can affect others. As the IDERD campaign was a success, my principle has made it an annual event, and has placed a support (suggestion) box near the office for students experiencing social challenges. Through this experience, I have learned that taking action through leadership can impact more people than who you planned to target. I gained valuable leadership and organization skills and plan to continue utilizing these to abolish discrimination and foster inclusivity.

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? (maximum 100 words)

  • If you have any extenuating circumstances, adversity, or financial challenges, then focus on them! This section also can be used to emphasize your potential for growth (academic or personal). Although it is optional, please answer this section, as simply filling it out demonstrates a genuine interest in the school.
  • When describing your financial need, think of your financial situation over the last four years. How does your family make their income? What does it go towards? Describe any challenges or adversity you and/or your family have faced. Consider what financial adversity may have prevented you from doing. What has it held you back from?*

Consider also describing some of the below points if they apply to your situation:

  • If you are living in a rental home
  • If you have limited financial support from parents
  • If your degree is longer than a Bachelor’s degree
  • If you are subsidizing your education costs through employment
  • If your family considers themself “low income”
  • If you have more than one sibling that needs their education paid for
  • If you are only supported by one family income
  • If there are any medical expenses or family member’s medical expenses.

Example:

When my parents first immigrated to Canada in 2007, their Foreign Educational Credentials were not valid according to Canadian standards. For years, I watched my parents work extra jobs and take online classes in order to earn extra income for our family and retain their financial degrees. After over ten years of hard work, the sum of our family’s income finally surpasses the basic needs of my family including rent, groceries and bills. Unfortunately, they were not able to save any funds for my two siblings’ and my post-secondary education. Fostering their commitment and hard work, I have worked part-time for a popular food chain in order to support myself and my family, and have saved over $2500.00. Achieving this has come with many handy budgeting and saving techniques and ultimately missing out on multiple social functions due to the costs. Witnessing my parents’ selflessness has ingrained in me the need to help others, so I have volunteered with the local food bank, spent two summers as a camp counselor, and supported multiple students as a tutor. I have gained beneficial skills and values through these experiences, including compassion, integrity, organization and critical thinking, which I hope to use throughout my studies and extracurricular activities at UBC. As my four-year degree will cost approximately $32 000, I have been applying for scholarships and saving 75% of my paycheck. My parents have been my inspiration and, although they could not give us all the material things my peers had, they gave me core values and work ethic, which will benefit me more in the long run.

This year, UBC included an extra question about the pandemic!:

2. Give us an example of how the pandemic has changed your involvement in the community or group most important to you. What have you learned from this experience?

  • For this question, make sure to talk about a volunteer experience or an extracurricular activity that you were involved in before the pandemic – – did they transition remotely? Were they cancelled? How did you deal with that? What new skills did you use to cope with this drastic change? This is a good opportunity to discuss your flexibility with BIG changes! (It’s best not to make this essay about how the pandemic affected your academics).
  • Ask yourself what you did to make sure you stayed involved despite the pandemic (this can also be through a new volunteer experience/activity) and make sure to keep Covid protocols in mind when writing!
    • You’ll want to start with a Hook (1-2 sentences) that grabs the reader’s attention & introduces an unfamiliar situation.
    • Then, talk about your experience that describes the situation using STAR to demonstrate how you overcame it. (3-5 sentences)
    • Last, add your reflection (1-2 sentences)- reflect on the experience and what you learned from it and how you will use that lesson in the future.

Example:

Covid-19 devastated the world within a matter of weeks. Lockdowns were put in place as many lost family members and friends. When my soccer coach announced that our training would be put on hold, I felt somewhat defeated as I had just been named team captain just days before. Acknowledging the heartbreak too many experienced, I could not allow myself to be disappointed. I decided to start a team Instagram account posting daily inspirational quotes, and asked each player to send me their favorite personal photo to post. I collaborated with my coach to start online weekly Zoom meetings to go over different plays and drills for the team to practice individually at home. During our meetings, I encouraged input from each player and provided empathetic support for those who felt discouraged. Once Covid protocols allowed in-person training, our team was stronger than ever and we went on to win our only three games of the season. I have realized that perseverance through difficult times takes effort as a leader, but is worth it. With the collaboration and organizational skills I gained, I plan to lead my team to the Nationals next season.

Now that you have some UBC personal profile examples to help you structure your application, let’s take a look at the 4 main things UBC looks for In Personal Profiles:

Engagement and Accomplishment

Think about how you pursue your interests while also managing your responsibilities. With your free time, are you supporting your community? What accomplishments are you most proud of? Do self-reflection on these accomplishments. How have they impacted your community, yourself, and the world around you in a positive way?

Leadership

When the topic of leadership arises, you should be thinking of your responsibilities. How did you manage your responsibilities? Think about the following leadership styles – which one are you?

Substance

When writing out your work experience, make sure that it sounds compelling. To be compelling, you must be authentic in your experiences. Choose relevant experiences that you are passionate about. If you’re wondering how GrantMe students have done it, check out Mattie – a GrantMe student that won over $200,000 and the coveted Schulich Award. She gives some advice to students:

“Make sure you’re picking out activities that you’re actually passionate about and you actually enjoy doing. A lot of students pick out activities that they think scholarship committees want to hear about. Stick to what you value.”

– Mattie, Schulich Leader Scholarship Winner

Voice

Your voice is your authentic self. To portray your most authentic self, write a personal profile that is genuine to who you are. Your identity is a big factor that influences your biases and unique experiences. So, don’t hesitate to discuss your identity!

Check out Will’s video, in which he discusses how GrantMe helped him as a first-gen student!

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