How to Get Admitted to UBC

If you’re looking to attend university in Canada, you’ve likely come across the University of British Columbia! Ranked among the top 40 universities globally and one of the top 3 in Canada, UBC is a dream school for many.  Here at GrantMe, we’ve helped many students apply to and get into UBC (check out Paige, Ripdaman, and Amisha’s stories). Here’s our top advice on how to get admitted to UBC.

Program Requirements

Your first step in how to get admitted to UBC is to check out the admissions requirements for the programs that interest you! Most UBC programs require you to have completed a few specific high school courses. They also require you to achieve a minimum grade point average (GPA). This minimum GPA is typically around 80%. However, we recommend aiming for a GPA in the 90% range to be a competitive candidate. 

The higher your grades, the better your chances are to get into UBC. This also increases your eligibility for academic scholarships! Check out our guide on how to win UBC major entrance scholarships here!

Check out the academic requirements for your program on their website here!

UBC Application

Once you’ve checked the program requirements and ensured that you’re eligible, it’s time to get started on the real process of how to get admitted to UBC! 

UBC’s application process is different from many other universities. All students apply with a Personal Profile! This is a series of short essays about yourself and your experiences. This allows the admissions committee to get a deeper look at you as an applicant and learn about your achievements, challenges, experiences, and what is important to you. Your Personal Profile also doubles as your application for UBC scholarships! 

Here’s our guide on how to ace each part of your Personal Profile. 

Short Essays

The first part of your Personal Profile is a few short essays! Depending on which program(s) you apply to, you may have to answer two or four of the prompts. Once you start the application you’ll find out!

Here are the four essay questions: 

  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? (200 words max.)
  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? (200 words max.)
  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. (250 words max.)
  4. What is important to you? And why? (250 words max.)

To show you how you can approach these essays, we’ll go into depth on the most difficult question: #3—“tell us about who you are”. 

STEP 1: Hook

You want to make sure you stand out right away with a hook! A hook is one to two sentences at the start of your essay that captures the reader’s attention and encourages them to keep reading. This could be a personal story or a powerful statement. Give the reader a snapshot of your character—what specific event/person/experience has motivated you to be who you are today?

For examples and tips on how to write a compelling hook, take a look at our FAQ article here!

STEP 2: Example

Try to not answer the question so directly right off the top with your hook. Instead, you want to incorporate the answer into a tangible example in your essay. 

Don’t just tell the committee a few qualities about yourself—show them how you demonstrate and embody these traits! Think of a volunteer or leadership example that demonstrates key elements of your character well. Then describe it using STAR!

STAR is a 4-part acronym that will help you powerfully describe a specific volunteer or extracurricular experience. 

  • S — Situation (who, what, when, where)
  • T — Task (your objective)
  • A — Actions (what you did, how you did it, skills you used)
  • R — Result (qualitative or quantitative proof of your success) 

Use this formula to discuss your volunteer involvements in your application! STAR will make your writing powerful and easy to follow. For more help using STAR, check out our article here!

STEP 3: Conclusion

As you reflect on the experience, be sure to recap and connect back to the key qualities that describe you to conclude your response. 

This basic structure can be used to answer all of the short essay questions in your Personal Profile!

  1. A powerful 1-2 sentence hook
  2. A leadership/volunteer example described using STAR
  3. 1-2 sentences clearly connecting back to the prompt

With the GrantMe platform, you can access coaching from trained essay editors who know exactly what the committee is looking for in your Personal Profile Essays.

Activity Summary

The next step in how to get admitted to UBC is your activity summary! This is a list of your extracurricular activities, volunteer involvement, work experience, awards, and achievements.

Here’s the application prompt:

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. (50 words per description)

  • Club
  • Family/community responsibilities
  • Creative or performing arts
  • Work/employment
  • Athletics
  • Volunteer
  • Service to others
  • Other(s)

You have a limited amount of space to add your activities, so you want to make sure you’re fully expressing your involvement! Try to list a mixture of initiator, leader, and member roles. 

Initiator roles are volunteer roles in which you started an initiative like a new club or project. Leader roles are a step down from initiator roles, like being a coach or a camp counsellor. Lastly, member roles are involvements in which you volunteered as part of a team. For more help on choosing which involvements to highlight, check out our article here!

Try to briefly include the bare elements of STAR in your short description of each activity. 

Next, they ask you to elaborate on one or two experiences:

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. (350 words max.)

We recommend highlight two activities here! Be sure to choose your most impactful involvements. These will be initiator or leader roles. You’ll want to use STAR to structure your response to this question!

Additional Information

The final step in how to get admitted to UBC is the additional information section! This final written section is an optional opportunity for you to elaborate on your goals at UBC.

Here’s the prompt:

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?

For this response, you can discuss how you chose your courses and prepared yourself to attend UBC. This is also a great place to discuss any extenuating circumstances, challenges, or financial adversity you faced. 

References

The final step in how to get admitted to UBC are submitting strong references. You need to submit the names and contact info of two references. These are people like teachers, coaches, and volunteer supervisors who can vouch for your character and achievements. 

Here’s what the application requests:

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.

We made a guide with steps and advice to help you find the right reference and support them in providing you with a glowing recommendation. Check it out on our blog here!

With that, your application to UBC will be complete! Follow this advice and you’re sure to submit a strong application. 

If you want even more support, GrantMe can help you stand out. We provide personalized scholarship matches, essay editing, and mentorship from past winners to maximize your success. Complete our short Admissions Quiz to learn more about how GrantMe can help you achieve your post-secondary goals. 

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