Frequently Asked Questions

Future Students

Columbia College’s University Transfer and Associate Degree Programs offer first and second year university courses for transfer to major universities across Canada and the United States. The college also offers High School and University Preparatory Programs which allow for direct entry to a university in Canada, and language classes for students who need to improve their English.

High school transcripts are normally used as a basis for admission. Please look to —hyperlink to admissions—for information about specific academic requirements. Generally speaking, there is no minimum English level required for admission to an academic program, but all new students need to prove their language ability before registering and starting classes. TOEFL, IELTS, and other external tests are accepted, but not strictly necessary, as Columbia College also offers its own assessment test (called the LWA) and may also place a student according to other courses taken (such as high school English). Students shown to have a lower level of English will be scheduled for non-credit English classes before or during their academic studies at Columbia College. For more information please see English Requirements.

If you are a student transferring to university in British Columbia, no; once you have completed the English classes required for a particular program, you do not need to prove your English again.

However, if you are transferring to a university out of province, such as to an institution in Alberta or Ontario, you will still need to present your IELTS or TOEFL score even if you have passed 6 credits of English at Columbia College.

Normally a student who has done more than 24 credits with Columbia College will not need to show high school transcripts to their target university. Instead, the grades and courses done at the college will inform this decision.

Columbia College is a member of the BC Transfer System which means that inside the province of BC, all universities and other post-secondary schools have agreed to accept courses from Columbia College. Because it is closely aligned with these programs, Columbia College has consistently been one of the top three providers of international students to the University of British Columbia (UBC). Columbia College also sends large numbers of students to Simon Fraser University (SFU), Vancouver’s other major university, and the University of Victoria (UVic). Universities outside of BC will have their own standards regarding admission, and it will be up to their discretion which courses and programs might be transferable.

College programs typically range between one and two years. Students can transfer to certain university programs after just 24 credits, the equivalent of about two semesters of study. Other programs may require longer. Some students may also need more time to obtain the required GPA (Grade Point Average) to enter specific university programs. Associate Degrees require about 60 credits, or approximately two years of study.

Yes. Most universities accept all 60 credits from an Associate Degree, particularly if they are in the same subject area.

The College regularly organizes external trips and major events such as our semesterly welcome party. These are in addition to the range of student interest and sports clubs which offer weekly opportunities to meet other students and pursue a range of athletic and intellectual interests during your time studying in Vancouver. As well as meeting other students, the clubs offer a great opportunity to experience Vancouver and its surroundings within a fun supportive community, whether that involves Dragon Boating on False Creek, reviewing a restaurant for the journalism club, or attending one of our regular College volunteering trips, all of which build your skills and preparation for progressing onwards to higher study and employment.

The classes at Columbia College average about 18 students, with no more than 25 students per class in English 098 and 099, and 35 students in University Transfer classes. This ensures students get the individualized attention they need, while allowing for small group interaction. Compared to some bigger universities, which may have hundreds of students in a single class, this environment is much more student focused, allowing people to get to know each other and support each other. Typically the school has about 2000 students, so its environment is perfect for those who are new to Canada and need the support that a small community of staff and students can offer effectively.

Columbia College offers homestay accommodation with Canadian families. This helps immerse new international students in the local culture and gives them support and insight about Canada.

Fees at Columbia College are much lower than international fees at BC universities. Students are allowed to work part-time after completing the initial six months of study in Canada, which will help offset some of the monthly living expenses. During the semester, students may work up to 20 hours per week. In between semesters, students may work full-time, 40-50 hours per week. Rules regarding work in Canada are overseen by CIC. Please see Working Off Campus.

Columbia College is located just east of Downtown Vancouver, in a custom-designed facility, close to transit, shops, the ocean, and fantastic recreational and entertainment amenities.