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Ubc Application Essay Sample

In order to assess your preparedness for university, UBC will evaluate you on a broad range of criteria including your academic achievements and personal experiences. That’s where the Personal Profile section of UBC’s online application comes in.

Knowing more about you through your Personal Profile helps UBC determine whether you will flourish here – not just because of your grades, but also because of the experiences and ambition you bring with you.

The Personal Profile is required of all high school students applying to all UBC degrees on the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. The Personal Profile is also required of all transfer applicants into the Bachelor of Commerce and Kinesiology degrees on the Vancouver campus, and the Nursing degree on the Okanagan campus.

Check out the Personal Profile video for tips and advice.

If you cannot play the Personal Profile video, try watching it here.

Tell us about yourself

The Personal Profile gives you the opportunity to tell UBC about the things that are important to you, your significant achievements, what you’ve learned from your experiences, and the challenges that you’ve overcome.

This information – along with your academic achievements – will be used to determine your admissibility to UBC and your eligibility for entrance scholarships and awards.

There is no separate application for entrance scholarships and awards so the Personal Profile is the only opportunity for you to tell UBC about yourself.

Preparing for the Personal Profile

  • Because each of the questions in the Personal Profile requires short essay answers (anywhere from 50 to 200 words), you’ll want to brainstorm some ideas before you start your online application.
  • Don’t just provide a list of accomplishments without taking the time to reflect on what you have learned from them, and what you want to continue learning at UBC.
  • When writing your responses, be specific. Use details to substantiate and elaborate on your answers.
  • Focus on what you want to say and be true to who you are. Don’t provide the answers you think UBC wants to hear. We are interested in your unique voice.

Questions to ask yourself before you begin writing

The following questions can help you reflect on your experiences and accomplishments, and may help you shape your Personal Profile answers.

  • What are the qualities you think make for a successful university student? How have you demonstrated such qualities in the past?
  • Think about your first-choice UBC degree. What kinds of activities, accomplishments, and insights – learned in or outside of the classroom – do you think would be relevant to this degree?
  • Think about your accomplishments and activities. What have you learned from these experiences? When have you taken on a leadership role? What do you excel in at school or outside of school? What do you enjoy learning in school? Or what do you enjoy doing outside of school that has influenced what you want to learn?
  • Think about the role others have played in your accomplishments and experiences.
  • Think about how your favourite teacher would describe you. Why would your teacher describe you this way? Be specific. Try to incorporate this information into your responses.
  • Think about two or three adjectives that best describe you. For each, provide some evidence of why they describe. Be specific. Try to incorporate this information into your responses.
  • Think about the challenges that you have had to overcome in your life. What have those experiences taught you about yourself and about your community?

How UBC evaluates your Personal Profile

UBC looks at each prospective student as a whole person: a combination of talents, interests, and passions. Whatever your background, experiences, and skills, the Personal Profile is your chance to help us learn more about you.

UBC’s trained readers will read and evaluate your Personal Profile and compare it with the profiles written by other UBC applicants. Your Personal Profile assessment will be used together with your academic profile assessment to determine your UBC admission decision.

We are not looking for a particular experience, and there are no right or wrong answers. We encourage you to focus less on telling us what you think we to want hear and instead concentrate on what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Your profile will be assessed against four criteria:

  1. Engagement and Accomplishment

How do you pursue your interests and manage your responsibilities? What do you do with your time when you are not in class? What would you (or others in your community) consider your most significant contributions and accomplishments? Whether it’s winning an international award or taking care of a younger sibling, any experience can teach you something about yourself and/or the world around you. We want to know what you have been doing and what have you have learned from your experiences. Make sure to give specific examples.

  1. Leadership

Have you undertaken responsibilities and activities that have benefitted those around you and/or contributed to your community in a meaningful way? If so, what have you learned about yourself and others in the process? Leadership can come in many forms. Any act of responsibility and/or initiative that serves others is a form of leadership. Leadership can be demonstrated in a formal role, within a group (i.e. being president of a club or captain of a team), or in an informal role, as an individual (i.e. taking it upon yourself to help in your community). And remember – it’s not just about being in a leadership role, it’s about what leadership has taught you.

  1. Substance

Have you spent sufficient time reflecting upon what you want to say? Have you answered the questions in a detailed and meaningful way? Is the content of your Personal Profile superficial or clichéd, or are you presenting interesting, well thought-out, and relevant ideas? Remember that the trained UBC readers will be reviewing and comparing thousands of Personal Profiles. The best way to stand out is by making sure you have something meaningful and insightful to say.

  1. Voice

Communication is important. How do you communicate your ideas? Regardless of what you choose to write about, ask yourself the following: Have I written a Personal Profile that is genuine and unique to who I am? Does my profile authentically reflect my own words? Will my voice stand out in a meaningful way, or will my profile read like many others?

Please note that the following degrees consider additional criteria, materials, and/or supplemental applications:

Okanagan campus

Vancouver campus



The University of British Columbia is a place of mind. With its 200 programs – ranging from accounting to zoology – the university consistently ranks among the top three research universities on Earth. UBC’s faculty and alumni have won seven Nobel Prizes, 68 Rhodes Scholarships, and 64 Olympic Medals.

Two of Canada’s former Prime Ministers are UBC alumnus – including Kim Campbell, the first – and to date, the only – female Prime Minister of Canada. Finally, UBC is Canada’s first university to meet the Kyoto Protocol’s environmental targets. Less than half of those who apply to UBC are accepted to attend – so, you might be wondering how to get into the University of British Columbia.

The UBC admission process is comprehensive. The application process is on par with the university’s competitive reputation. UBC believes students who flourish, not only excel in academia, but do so because of their experiences and ambition. I can recollect putting together my own application; it was difficult. Nonetheless, critical thinking and self-reflection attributed to my admission. I learned a lot from this process. See my admissions guides for SFU and UVIC for more information, we recommend reaching out to AdmissionsConsulting.ca

UBC’s online application platform is direct, efficient, and lengthy. Note: it is in your best interest to indicate your first and second-choice programs. I have summarized the university application process into this simplified UBC application guide. Use these tips to ensure your application is on the right track.


Without question, UBC’s academic requirements are competitive – especially for its Bachelor of Commerce under the Sauder School of Business. Admission is granted to students standing in and above the 90th percentile. With an increasingly global student population, there is an English Language Admission Standard. If you’re an international applicant, a TOEFL of 90 or better; however, if you do not meet the English Language Admission Standard, but believe that you have the proficiency of a native English speaker, you can a request a waiver to be submitted to elas.waivers@ubc.ca


Grades are a concern of many, however, we must believe that we are gifted for something. The most important section of the UBC application is the Personal Profile. With seven questions, the aim is for the admissions committee to determine if you fit with the culture of UBC. This section asks you to elaborate on the journey you underwent to reach your achievements. UBC is interested in knowing which obstacles you have conquered, which lessons you have learned, and how ambitious you really are. To gauge this development, one interesting question asked in the UBC online application is:


“In 200 words or less, tell us about an experience, in school or out, that caused you to rethink or change your perspective. What impact has this had on you?”


The theme surrounding this and the remaining questions is in homage to UBC’s motto – a place of mind. University is your opportunity and privilege to challenge the status-quo. It is a place to understand the construction of our globally integrated economies. As an example, here is an excerpt of my supplemental application to Queen’s Commerce in 2011, where I completed my Master’s in International Business:


“From my experience, in studying and working overseas, I have learned that mastering inter-cultural communication is critical for the success of an international career. I acquired the initial theory and practice of this skill through my academic requirements. However, the classroom environment alone did not quench my thirst; I searched for experiential learning opportunities to increase my preparedness for an international real-world business setting. From the resources available in my undergraduate, I completed a student work-term at the Department of Commerce for the United States Consulate.

I was introduced to research and analysis to benefit bi-lateral trade in the renewable energy sector. This newly acquired knowledge – coupled with my previous international experience of studying in Denmark – aligned my capabilities for a second student-work term in business development and market analysis in Mumbai, India. Submerged in the culture of this developing country, I learned to swim fast –  in order to tackle the challenges in adapting to a unique culture, considerably different than my own. Through this, I saw improvements to my abilities in understanding and communicating across the Indian culture-and-commercial context…”


Finally, you are required to provide the names of two references who can recommend your preparedness for study at UBC. Possible references include an employer, community member, coach, teacher or alternatively someone who knows you well – someone who can speak on behalf of your aforementioned activities and experiences. Altogether, the application is tough. I have worked together with students both formally and informally – providing insights on how best to craft their application. To answer your additional questions or assist with your application to UBC, reach out to AdmissionsConsulting.ca

And that is how to get into the University of British Columbia.


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