Originally published in The Georgia Straight
For secondary students, it can be extremely stressful waiting to find out if they’ll be admitted into university.
What some of them don’t realize, however, is that it’s still possible to pursue a university education even if their grade-point average falls short.
That’s because some postsecondary institutions, like Vancouver Community College, offer transfer credits. This enables students to move to university in their second year.
“We have these transfer pathways, including a good number of them with assured admission to SFU,” Jennifer Kelly, department leader of science at VCC, told the Straight by phone.
According to the VCC website, university transfer courses are offered in September, January, and May in the following subject areas: biology, chemistry, physics, human anatomy and physiology, geography, First Nations and Indigenous studies, criminology, ecology, sociology, computer programming, English, algebra, calculus, psychology, environmental science, and engineering.
It’s possible for prospective students or their parents to ask any questions online or book an appointment with a VCC adviser.
“We have really great instructors,” Kelly emphasized. “They’re here because they love teaching and they care about students.”
One of the advantages of attending VCC for university-transfer courses is the cost: it’s far lower per class than attending the same course on a university campus.
Another benefit of VCC is the small class sizes in comparison to many first-year courses at larger institutions.
“Maybe it’s hard for a student to understand if they haven’t been in those 200-person lectures what a difference it is to be in a class with 20 students,” Kelly noted. “The instructors know their names.”
According to her, this creates more accountability for students because instructors will immediately notice if an assignment hasn’t been submitted on time.
VCC has been offering university-transfer courses for several years at its Broadway campus. To gain admission, Kelly said, students need grade-point averages between 2.6 and 3.2, depending on the program.
“The high end is for computing science and software systems at SFU,” she added.
Those students aspiring to become university-educated engineers, they can take the same types of first-year courses at VCC as students at UBC or SFU, including math and physics. VCC also offers a mechanics class, which is a requirement at UBC.
“Then we have three courses that are engineering-specific classes,” Kelly said.
One is called engineering, technology, and society. Another is professional communication, which is geared toward engineering students, and the third is introduction to engineering analysis.
“For engineering, they have to have taken Precalculus 12, Physics 12, and Chemistry 12—and all of those with specific grades,” she stated. “But there aren’t any essays or interviews.”
There’s also no need to submit SAT scores to be accepted into the engineering classes at VCC.
Most of the courses last four months. Students must have a C+ in English 12 to qualify for admission into university-transfer courses at VCC.
“The way the assured pathway works, students have 16 months to complete the courses, but for the most part they can be done within a year,” Kelly said.
Students can also take transfer courses at VCC to obtain assured admission into SFU’s bachelor of environment and bachelor of science in environmental studies programs.
According to Kelly, students would take classes in subjects like geography, Indigenous studies, and ecology.
“The bachelor of science in environmental studies is similar, but there are more science classes, as you can imagine—more chemistry and physics,” she said.
Ready to earn your first-year university credits in a small, flexible program and transfer to schools across Canada? Learn more about getting your degree started in a supportive learning environment.