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How first years can prepare for September at UBC

So you have a couple weeks before class starts, what can you do to prepare?  If you’re an incoming first year, plan an adventure to explore campus before class starts.

  1.  At home, log onto the Student Services Centre online and print out your timetable, download it onto your phone or write out all the buildings you’ll have classes in. Screenshot or print a campus map.
  2. Grab a friend or if you’re new, make a new friend! Multitask by catching up with your friend/getting to know your new friend while you familiarize yourself with the campus. It’s more fun and safer.
  3. If you’re a commuter, commute how you will commute to school. This will help you figure out how long it takes for you to get from your bus stop to UBC or how long it takes to drive.
  4. Now start from one end of the campus and start looking for the buildings you will be in. Help your friend find his/her buildings.
    1. Once you’ve located the buildings,
    2. Note other buildings too such as Buildings in other faculties are important too. Even if you’re a science student, note where the theatre, music, forestry, engineering, arts etc buildings are. When you make friends from other faculties (which you should) and they tell you to meet them after class, you’ll know where it is. In addition, there will be tons of interesting concerts, performances and free lectures that you need to take advantage of 🙂
    3. check out the Libraries and other potential study spaces
    4. Check out where to get meals and snacks
  5. If you haven’t already, pick up your UBC Student Card, compass card and book list at the bookstore. See how much your textbooks cost in store. You can buy your books now, look for used versions from previous students, buy them online from Amazon.
    1. buying at the bookstore saves time.
    2. Try checking to see if your books are at the Discount bookstore (in UBC Village). Books are brand new but cheaper than in the official bookstore.
    3. Used versions are generally cheaper than in store. There are many textbook buy and sell groups on Facebook.
    4. Craigslist is also a source for used textbooks
    5. Amazon, Chegg, other online textbook providers generally sell new and used textbooks for cheaper than in stores. You do have to wait for your textbooks to ship though.
  6. Connect with as many incoming first years as you can. Connect with as many upper years as you can.
  7. Pay your tuition on the Student Service Centre website.
    1. Apply for student loans if necessary.
    2. Set up direct bank transfer
    3. Cash in scholarships/bursaries vouchers at Enrollment Services in Brock Hall or mail them in to where ever they need to go. Do this early because processing time + snail mail can take several weeks. **Bringing photo id with you to Brock Hall is helpful. You cannot ask a friend to help you cash in your vouchers for you. You need to bring it in yourself.
    4. Scholarships/bursaries that you’ve received in cheque form can  be deposited directly at the bank and don’t have to go through Brock Hall.

Relax and enjoy the rest of your summer. See you on campus in September!

What else should incoming first years do to prepare before class starts? Add your comment so others can benefit 🙂
Original: August 22, 2015

Update: July 13, 2016