As originally posted in the Georgia Straight
Nowadays, one of the biggest challenges for Grade 12 students is obtaining high enough marks to get into university. A student’s average has to be in the mid- to high 80s for them even to be considered for the UBC engineering program, according to the UBC website.
The SFU website states that an average has to be in the high 80s for applied sciences, including engineering.
The dean of arts and sciences at Vancouver Community College, David Wells, says his school can help students who don’t meet those criteria to still achieve their career dream.
“They have to do it within a 16-month period, but most times that’s quite easily achieved,” Wells told the Straight by phone.
He emphasized that the courses have been designed to align with what’s being offered at SFU and UBC. As long as students achieve the required grade-point average, they’re guaranteed admission to year two of these universities’ engineering programs.
“This relationship started with SFU about four years ago,” Wells explained. “It was really born out of their interest in having more students coming into the second year [engineering] because there was fairly significant attrition.”
He added that UBC also loses engineering students in second year because some find it “quite demanding” attending a large research university with large classes.
“That was the motivation to look at a guaranteed-transfer certificate,” Wells said. “We’ve, of course, developed it to align with SFU and UBC.”
One of the advantages of studying engineering at VCC is the price. Many of its courses cost less than $100 per credit hour, which is significantly lower than what’s being charged at B.C.’s research universities.
Most of the courses are taught at VCC’s Broadway campus, which is near the western terminus of the Millennium Line, but one is at the downtown campus to make use of computer-lab technology at that location.
Wells said there’s a good faculty mix of talented young PhDs with a great deal of energy experienced instructors who have “built tremendous competencies in supporting student learning”. And they don’t only teach university-transfer credit courses in engineering.
VCC also has a first-year university-transfer computing-science and software-systems certificate. There are also university-transfer certificates in environmental studies, arts, science, and health sciences. The credits can be applied not only to research universities but also to B.C.’s teaching universities, including Capilano and Kwantlen.
“There’s a lot of development work that we’re doing in the development of credentials, with the target of having students be really well prepared to transfer into degree-granting institutions,” Wells said.
The next information session is at 5 p.m. next Wednesday (August 23). For more information, visit www.vcc.ca/info.