Learning Environments Matter
People are different. People learn differently. You will thrive in certain learning environments and not in others. Consider class size and format. Are you comfortable in large groups? Do you learn best by listening in lectures? Are you a self-directed learner? Do you like smaller class sizes and regular feedback from instructors? Do you learn by doing? Will you actively participate in campus life? Or will you only have time to attend the required classes? Choose the institution that will provide the environment that you want and need.
Costs of Living
British Columbia is a province of natural abundance - mountains, glaciers, ocean, beaches, rainforests and rain. The richness that will surround you is free but some areas do cost more to live in than others eg. rent, gas, insurance, food, etc.. Budget conscious folks will want to factor these living costs into their decision-making when choosing where to go.
Many BC students choose an institution close to home. If studying while living at home is an option for you, this can provide significant savings and keep your debt load down.
Long commutes to campus can be stressful, time consuming, and costly. A lesser commute time offers more time to socialize, study, or work part-time. Consider how you will get the campus, and research the transit system and/or parking options.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition costs vary from institution to institution. Certain programs will have additional costs and textbooks and supplies can add up. See if there are scholarships and bursuries available at the institution that could help with these money matters.
Institutions have career services available as a student and alumni once you graduate. Find out which institutions career services can and will be able to help you find a job while you're in school and when you're finished.
Learning to Research
If your career goals require a graduate degree, then learning to do research at the undergraduate level is helpful. Graduate program admission is competitive, you will want to have some entry level research experience. Consider the research opportunities available at undergraduate institutions and see if they meet your long range career goals.
BC post-secondary system is flexible
You have plenty of options in BC. There are excellent opportunities to begin your studies at an institution in your own region and then seamlessly transfer into other programs somewhere else in the province. This provides you with the ability to save money by living closer to home, and get some experience with post-secondary study before determining your final educational goals.
Research-intensive universities, UBC, SFU, UNBC or UVic, are competitive. If you do not meet the admission requirements directly after high school, you can begin your studies at another institution. Once you have completed 24 or more credits, you can apply as a transfer student where your high school grades will no longer be considered as part of the admission requirements. Many research-intensive universities will allow you to transfer two or more years towards a four year degree.
Whether you attend a small or large institution, a research-intensive or teaching-intensive institution, all post-secondary institutions offer a high quality of education.