UBCO graduates want to stay and play in Kelowna

The Okanagan lifestyle draws people here for a number of reasons – career, retirement, to start a business, to work remotely.

And this lifestyle influence is no different for post-secondary education, as the UBC Okanagan campus attracts students from across Canada and beyond.

And often they don’t, as about 50 percent of UBCO alumni have stayed in the area to further their careers.

Leanne Isaak, associate director of student recruitment and counseling at UBC, says that while this scenario seems to present some challenges for Okanagan Valley students hoping for admission to UBCO, the university is both aggressive and instructive when It’s about attracting local students and helping them enroll on the Kelowna campus.

“There’s a bit of a myth out there about admissions, but the reality is that 88 percent of the students who applied to UBCO and whose last school was in the Okanagan Valley had an offer of admission from UBCO,” Isaak said.

“It doesn’t mean that all of these students ended up going to UBCO, as students often apply to different post-secondary institutions to keep their options open, but that’s a pretty good statistic. Compared to a high-level university like Stanford, it’s closer to four percent.

“We also understand that Okanagan students choose to go elsewhere, whether it’s on our Vancouver campus, at the University of Toronto or McGill, or in the United States. There are many factors that go into a student’s decision.”

She said the current breakdown of students for direct entry into UBCO from high school is 19 percent from the Okanagan Valley, 17 percent from the Lower Mainland, 15 percent from the rest of BC, 27 percent from other parts of Canada and 22 percent are international students.

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Isaak adds that over the past five years, 16 to 19 percent of new students at UBCO came from other universities or colleges, with about a third of them transferring from Okanagan College.

Isaac’s message is that earning a degree from a university that ranks in the top 40 out of 25,000 universities worldwide is a tremendous opportunity for Central Okanagan students. Don’t take admission for granted.

“It’s important to understand that UBCO really is a great place to study and continue your post-secondary education, but you have to be thoughtful and intentional in determining your path there,” she said.

11th and 12th grade grades combined with your life experience and completing an entrance essay are important factors in identifying yourself as the engaged and motivated student that UBCO is looking for, as is attending the specific high school credits -Courses for certain post-secondary study options as required.

While she acknowledges the increased pressure on students entering Year 11 to find a post-secondary path for their chosen career, she urges students not to stress when that path is not always obvious , if the answer to the question “What? do I want to make a career?’ is still ‘I don’t know.’

The path to UBCO for many Okanagan students often does not lead straight out of high school, an example is opting instead to attend OC for a year or two and then transfer to UBCO to earn a degree.

Two key aspects of this particular path – you still have a UBC degree and lower grades in grades 11-12 for whatever reason becomes less of an admissions barrier.

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“So if a 12th grade student has a bad year and enrolls in Okanagan College, their 30 credit grades in college take precedence over their high school grades for admission. This, too, helps some students get another chance at university admissions,” Isaac said.

She said UBC’s recruitment, whether for its Kelowna or Vancouver campuses, covers the Okanagan in many ways to encourage and educate students who are best suited to achieve their goal of a post-secondary degree.

These include field trips for students to the UBCO campus to get a taste of campus life, visiting Okanagan Valley High Schools in the fall, offering admissions workshops, and various online options to explore potential career opportunities on the you.ubc website. ca to explore.

“We appreciate the national and international exposure that UBCO receives, but we are also thinking locally about how we can help students succeed as the primary focus is on earning that world-class degree, a message we carry received again and again by students regardless of where they are from,” she said.

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