Founded in 1936, Columbia College has been consistently over the years one of the top colleges feeding international students into Vancouver’s two main universities, University of British Columbia (ranked 34th in the world in the Times Higher Education 2021 rankings) and Simon Fraser University (#251-300 in the same rankings).
Columbia College offers a wide range of 2-year Associate Degree programs – after successfully completing an Associate Degree, students can transfer directly into the third year of many different majors at all of British Columbia’s universities. By completing the first 2 years at Columbia College rather than at a university, you will benefit from more accessible admission requirements, lower tuition fees and, in many cases, smaller classes.
Columbia College specializes in transitioning international students into the Canadian education system. As a not-for-profit, our goal is to give international students affordable and accessible pathways to higher education in Vancouver.
Columbia College has 2 campuses located close to each other on the same street in downtown Vancouver.
Columbia College offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Science Degrees, offering a wide range of different majors. Associate of Arts students can choose from Business Administration, Economics, General Arts, Communication, Political Science, Psychology and International Studies. Associate of Science degree students can choose between Computer Science, General Science (which will lead into Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and more) and Mathematics.
Most international students will use these Associate Degrees as a stepping stone to a Bachelor degree (upon successful completion of a 2-year program, students will be able to transfer to the third year of any university in British Columbia (subject to their GPA): for further information, please go to https://www.columbiacollege.ca/programs/university-transfer/.
You may also transfer after completion of just one year of study at Columbia College – in this case, you will move directly into the second year of a university in British Columbia. However, as you will save up to CAD $18,000 in tuition fees for each year of study in Columbia College compared to a university in British Columbia, most students opt to transfer after 2 years.
Columbia College also offers a High School Program from Grade 10 upwards for those who prefer to complete their high school studies in Canada rather than in their home country. Students will progress either into Columbia College’s University Transfer program or directly into a British Columbia university at the end of the program, depending on the number of years studied in the college. Those students opting to complete their high school studies at Columbia College will find that they are completely adapted to the Canadian style of education and way of life by the time they commence their Bachelor degree.
A limited number of different scholarship awards are open to both new and existing students at Columbia College. The awards vary between CAD $2,000 and CAD $5,000 and will be allocated to high academic performers as a one-time award upon entry to the college. Further information can be found at https://www.columbiacollege.ca/scholarships/.
These scholarships are highly competitive so please do not be upset if you are not awarded one! Remember instead that, as Columbia College’s tuition fees are up to 50% less than those at a university such as University of British Columbia, you are saving money anyway!
Columbia’s Main and North Campuses are located in the downtown area of Vancouver. Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada – the Greater Vancouver area has a population of approximately 2.5 millions inhabitants.
Vancouver is one of the few places in the world where, on the same day, you can spend time on a beach before going up into the mountains to enjoy snow sports less than 30 minutes away. This is one of the reasons why Vancouver is so frequently ranked in the top 10 most desirable cities to live in the world. Public transport makes exploring and commuting to and from your studies simple and safe, with frequent and well situated bus routes and SkyTrains running from dawn until dusk.
Vancouver is regularly voted as one of the most liveable cities in the world and here are some of the reasons why:
- Approximately 45% of Vancouver’s population was born outside Canada, making it a very cosmopolitan city, as well as one that is very welcoming to new-comers!
- Vancouver is known for its clean-living – the city is surrounded by water and mountains giving its inhabitants great opportunities for outdoor sports and healthy living.
- It has the mildest climate in Canada – winters here are much milder than cities like Toronto or Montreal
- British Columbia leads among Canadian provinces for growth, meaning that there are plenty of john opportunities after you have completed your studies.
- British Columbia’s colleges and universities form a united system that allows easy transfer of credit. In addition, if you start at Columbia College, you will have some of the world’s finest universities on your doorstep to choose from when you transfer!
Columbia College Student Association (CCSA) oversees a number of student clubs, ranging from Anime to Debate Club, from Music to Soccer so, as a student, you are invited to participate in those clubs that interest you.
With the city of Vancouver on your doorstep, however, much of your free-time is likely to be spent off-campus. Vancouver has a strong cafe culture and there is plenty to keep you occupied. Vancouver locals love outdoor activities such as running, cycling or rollerblading along the 9km Stanley Park Seawall. Slightly further afield, the Capilano Suspension Bridge offers spectacular views (but is not for the faint-hearted!).
As many of you will be living with local Canadian homestays, be sure to spend time getting to know your homestay and learn a lot more about Canadian culture at the same time.
Columbia College does not have a student residence but instead has an excellent homestay program, which carefully places students into local Canadian families. This is a great way to learn about Canadian culture while, for those coming from non-English speaking backgrounds, you will also reinforce your English language skills at the same time! Your host family will provide breakfast, packed lunch and dinner daily and will also help you to discover Vancouver and the wider area. Starting in a homestay can also help you find an affordable place in the city as Vancouver tends to have high housing prices: you get to know the city, make friends, and explore other accommodations before finding your own apartment or shared living space.
If you are under the age of 19 when arriving for your studies, the Province of British Columbia requires that you have a Custodian, who is responsible for looking after and supporting you. Columbia College’s homestay program will help you meet these requirements by ensuring that your host family is also your custodian. If students are 18 and applying for University Transfer/Associate Degree programs, custodianship is not mandatory.
What comes next?
Most students coming to Columbia College plan to go on and earn their Bachelor degree. As mentioned above, students can study for one year but normally 2 years, before transferring into the second or third year of a Bachelor degree at one of British Columbia’s universities.
However, students graduating from an Associate Degree program at Columbia College will have the chance to seek full-time employment. Students will be able to apply for a Post-Study Work Permit for up to 3-years during which time they may apply for permanent residency.