Among friends, it's no secret that I prefer SFU's compact Burnaby Mountain campus to the sprawling UBC burbclave growing on the shore of Point Grey. It's not because SFU wins any prize for beauty. Most people I speak with agree that the grey concrete SFU campus is butt ugly. And though I live in Burnaby it's not civic loyalty at play. SFU has thrown a satellite campus into both downtown Vancouver and central Surrey, so it's now a stretch to claim SFU as "Burnaby's university". I guess it's really a matter of size and accessibility. Even folks who live in Vancouver find it a pain in the ass to commute into and out of UBC, and once you do get there you need GPS and good muscle tone to get around.
For years I have assisted students in competing for admission into SFU and UBC, as well as popular universities in other provinces and states. This past spring my assistance included helping a half dozen young people to write the new UBC "Personal Profile" online. All they had to was bring their laptop to my office and type what I dictated. (Dictating the profile saves me time.) I didn't think much of it. Just helping out. Imagine my surprise to catch the following story in this morning's Vancouver SUN:
"This year almost every direct-entry program at UBC Vancouver offered applicants the opportunity to submit a personal profile, and in total over 2,500 students were admitted on the strength of their personal profile, not on high school marks alone," James Ridge, UBC's associate vice-president and registrar said in an email.
Next year we expect all faculties will use [personal profiles], and the total number of admission decisions made this way will again grow significantly," he said."
Wow! I think I'm going to get a lot of phone calls next spring. I live near Burnaby's biggest high school. Read Tracy Sherlock's story here - UNIVERSITY ADMISSION. (Reading time - 2 Minutes)
To illustrate what the SUN is talking about, here is the description of the UBC Personal Profile clipped from the university admissions website:
UBC has added a number of other online innovations this year, many of which are an obvious attempt to jump on the "social networking" bandwagon. For example the IT boffins have posted a video on YOUTUBE which was created to help students use the new UBC BLOGS which were "launched" on August 11th. I like the fact that the term "cool" still pops up frequently in UBC campus chatter. The UBC Personal Profile is "cool" too. I'm going to be writing a lot of them.