Posted by: idm04 | 2010/06/27

Admission Averages @ UBC

Table 1: Admission averages (%) for domestic 1st year students who entered UBC directly from high school.

2010 2011 2012 2013
Across UBC 88.9 89.1 89.3 89.5
Science 91.7 91.9 92.1 91.9


Table 2: Admission averages (%) for 1st year students who entered UBC directly from high school in 2013.

Domestic Int’l
Across UBC 89.5 89.5
Science 91.9 91.7
LFS* 88.8/89.0 89.8/89.8
Commerce 92.2 90.5
Arts (BA) 87.1 87.7
Applied Science 91.7 91.5
Kin** 89.6 88.6


*Land and Food Systems. The two averages, separated by a slash, represent averages for two different Bachelor programs. See source.

edit: If you’re in IB Certificate, here‘s how they calculate your admission average.

edit2: I have a post for incoming UBC students called Transition: High school to first year



  1. I completely agree with your comments on BC’s lack of standardization. I went to Lord Byng in Vancouver, which is supposed to be one of the better public schools in BC according to the Fraser Institute, the closest thing we have to school rankings. I applied to a number of US schools as well as UBC but had a lot of trouble with that since the US system is so different. Most high schools in the US have a specific ranking, so an A at one school is not the same as an A at another school, and the universities can always tell which A means more. Students all write the SAT, which also standardizes everything across the country. So when the US schools asked me to provide a ranking of my high school, I couldn’t really since we only have the unofficial rankings put out by the Fraser Institute, which ended up saving my applications. Even when UBC required provincial exams, how would they compare BC’s exams to Ontario’s, for instance? Canada really needs a nation-wide test like the SAT (which, admittedly, does have its problems) to make the admissions process a little more fair.

    Sorry for the super long post/rant, I just read yours and decided to add in my own experiences :)

  2. i’ll have to say what ubc is doing and the bc government is doing is stupid its to save money i got rejected to ubc yet i got into texas a&m says alot about how bad bc educatiobn system is highschool grades are inflated and i will say this west side school students have it much easier as their exams tend to be alot easier than east side schools

    • I’m sorry to hear that :( but yeah I do agree that high school grades could be easily, or are inflated.

      What exactly do you mean by west side and east side? Western and eastern provinces in Canada?

  3. University admissions are horrible, but how does one do it without any consideration for some form of evaluations? And unfortunately, academic evaluations are failing drastically.

    I think the admission average for science was 92% this year. This year they were grossly inflated. I can’t believe they didn’t anticipate this when they threw out the provincial exams…

    Students who get extremely high marks are not necessarily “intelligent”, and do not necessarily “deserve” university admission.

    • I was trying to simulate how another person (perhaps an ignorant person who generalizes) might retort xD and so I put those words in quotes (not that it changes much).

      Where did you get that statistic? Last year my CHEM 121 prof said something of the same nature (~90%) but I can’t seem to find anything that specific.

      • I’ll have to look it up another time (rushing between meetings now), but I think it’s on the UBC Science website

  4. Soon you’ll need an average of 110% to get into UBC….and some schools will be giving that too!!!. UBC doesn’t care about fairness during admission, it’s a business, it sole concern is putting butts-on-seats and the money that goes with it.

    As an employee of UBC and a BC Tax payer I have to bite my lip everytime I hear our dept talk about increasing the number of international students at the expense of BC students. So my taxes dollars are going to be used to susidise the education of a student who will probably take all that expensive education back home with them. How does that benefit the economy of BC or Canada?

    • I think that is a very valid concern. I personally would set a limit on the portion of international students (as a % of total students) so that if reached, UBC would have to increase the number of international students AND domestic students with the latter to a larger extent. It’s a shame what a situation the admissions system is in, and in a few years time (or maybe even now), I don’t know if I would make it to UBC if I were just graduating from high school.

  5. I am an international student that will start at UBC next September and, to be honest, I personally believe that international students don’t attend university abroad just to go back to their home countries. Least of all in Canada, where laws for immigration are completely different to those in the US, for example. If an international student is applying to a foreign university in the first place, he/she not only does it to get a higher education, but also knowing that he/she will probably stay in that country after college. Therefore, benefiting the Canadian economy, in this case. As far as I know, fees for international students are way more expensive than for domestic students. For instance, I am from South America and studying abroad is a HUGE investment for my parents. Scholarships for international students are scarce. My parents are only sending me there so as to give me a better future with bigger opportunities than the ones I could have in my home country. They are sending me there so that I STAY THERE after college. I bet most international students study abroad with the same picture in mind.

  6. You all seemed to be in favour of standardized testing, but consider that you would almost completely be discriminating anyone from a low economic background or from a rural area. The education in these areas is not as well-funded, and would therefore score significantly lower than in the richer areas. Those areas don’t have the Honours classes, don’t have extra academic activities, and don’t have the IB or AP options. Effectively, this would benefit the rich students and hurt the poor.. and opportunity for higher education should be equal for everyone in BC.

    Anyways mister idm, I just wanted to say that your blog is extremely helpful and thank you for having it.

    • Hi Elle,

      Thank you for your comment and thank you for reading my blog.

      Regarding what qualifications the University should look for in admitting students, I am not convinced that standardized testing discriminates against those who have lower socioeconomic status more than any practical alternative.

      First, we must make the assumption that the people with low socioeconomic status in question are actually attending a BC high school. If they were not attending school because of their socioeconomic status or because of other reasons, then having the standardized testing in place or not would not affect them.

      Let us also assume for argument’s sake that the BC provincial exam is the form of standardized testing in consideration. These provincial exams are written solely based on the BC high school curriculum that is set out by the province’s Ministry of Education.

      Since the standardized testing is based on a curriculum that is constant throughout the province, every single high school in BC should be covering the curriculum. Whichever school a student attends, they should have be meeting the set learning outcomes according to the Ministry of Education.

      It follows from this argument that any student from any socioeconomic status that is attending a high school will not do poorly on the provincial exam because their socioeconomic status limits their choice in high schools.

      It is possible that location matters. Let’s say that rural areas have poorer quality of education in high school. But how does this affect those with lower socioeconomic status? These people are not exclusively limited to rural schools. I am certain that there are people with low socioeconomic status in urban areas as well. And if they are in urban areas and attending school in that area, then their socioeconomic status does not significantly affect the quality of the school they are attending.

      But is it plausible that socioeconomic status affects one’s education in other ways? Could socioeconomic status affect one’s performance on a test? Certainly — for example, let’s say we have someone called Bob who was raised in a relatively poor family and has to deal with their financial situation by taking up part time jobs; caring for his siblings; possibly having emotional burdens; and simply having a lower quality of life in general compared to the more privileged. It is plausible that Bob would have less time to study, or less time to sleep, or less nutritious food, or more stress — all factors that can affect academic standing. Perhaps Bob has to miss classes regularly due to his jobs. (Note: I am not willing to consider access to paid services such as tutoring because I feel they are completely unnecessary for provincial exams.)

      And what about those in rural areas if education is also of lower quality? Obviously these people will be at a disadvantage as well.

      But here’s the question — what does all that have to do with standardized testing being used to admit students to University? The University got rid of the requirement for provincial exams a few years ago. How did that in any way benefit the poor? Did the relinquishment of standardized testing rid Bob of his poverty?

      I cannot see how getting rid of the provincial exam allows the poor easier access to University. The University is still using grades for their admission qualifications! So in that sense, Bob is still at a disadvantage because he is unable to study as much as others for his exams, etc. The only change is that the exams he is failing are not standardized anymore. The problem I have with the lack of standardization is the potential inflation of grades. Now, inflation can happen with provincial exams too, but that is another problem altogether. It is the case now that teachers can inflate grades at their will, to some extent. What if there was a private school where all the teachers were known to grossly inflate grades by giving out easy tests? Certainly many people with money would try to send their children to that private school, which those with lower socioeconomic status would not be able to afford…

      The problem with the lack of access to higher education by those in families in lower income brackets needs to be addressed in other ways. Perhaps the University can take one’s family income into account for admissions. Perhaps the University can give scholarships and bursaries to the poorer students (which they do, to some extent). Perhaps the government can offer services/aid to poorer families (which they do, to some extent). These are all suggestions that address the problem. I am not saying any of these are necessarily effective. But what I am saying is that getting rid of standardized testing does not solve the problem.

      Now, let’s go back and take a look at rural schools. Let’s say someone named Sam is at a rural school and is so poor that his family cannot move to an area where the education is of higher quality. Since the education is so bad, Sam will do poorly on provincial exams and not get into a post secondary institution. So what about if there was no provincial exam?

      OK, so now Sam is still doing badly on the school’s tests because the education still sucks. Or…. now Sam has awesome grades because his teacher is accounting for his/her bad teaching and is giving all the students high grades. So then what is the point of tests and grades if everyone can have a great grade? Let’s say that despite the poor quality of education, Sam manages to get admission to the University due to inflated grades. Great! But recall, Sam is poor so even though he got admission, he cannot afford the tuition. Why don’t we pretend they inflated his grades a bit more. Let’s say now he got a full scholarship that pays for his tuition, books, housing, food, whatever. Then what? Sam will probably fail first year university and drop out. Why? Because he had a crappy high school education that was insufficient for the academic rigour that is expected in university.

      Giving the poor (or anyone who is not qualified) full rides to university does not solve the problem because it does not address the root of the problem. If rural schools have so poor education that their students cannot perform well on any standardized exam like the provincial, then there is clearly an issue with that school that needs to be fixed. The proper solution is to improve the school’s quality of education — not to give everyone a free ride to university. As a side note, I am not convinced that rural schools are even that bad — I admit I am not familiar with rural education but schoolteachers in rural areas are paid more than those in urban areas as far as I know, due to the lack of demand in employment.

      As another side note, the reason why the University decided to get rid of the provincial exam was so that it would be less of a pain for students to apply here. The University did not want to lose potential applicants to other post secondary institutions who admit without requiring the provincial.

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