Why I Chose UVic
Deciding what you want to do after graduating high school is no easy task. I decided I wanted to study psychology when I was fourteen, and that’s held true since.
Finding the right university started back in grade eleven, when I would take breaks from studying to look at school rankings based on their psych programs as well as availability of housing, proximity to home, and cost. I ended up with five schools that I was interested in one of which was obviously UVic! Of course, there’s much more to a school than just numbers which is what I want to tell you about. I also included some links if you want to learn more.
I’m not one to be won over by prestige or flashy titles but UVic’s reputation, particularly in their psychology programs, really caught my attention.
One of my high school social studies and humanities teachers suggested I check out UVic since one of her sons was in the psychology program and really enjoyed the four-stream approach for undergraduate students. Many of the older students who I knew through extracurriculars were also looking at UVic so I knew there had to be something special going on here.
Where do I begin when talking about the campus? There’s the prevalence of nature, it’s easy to get around, some pretty neat buildings to explore, and some fun critters roaming around.
Most of UVic’s academic buildings are surrounded by Ring Road which while quite big usually takes about ten minutes or less to cross at the average walking pace. This makes your dash to get to your 8:30 am class on time much easier and thankfully makes it harder to get lost in a maze of buildings.
UVic’s campus is also home to deer, many ducks, a ton of seagulls, squirrels, and a few wild bunnies. They tend to be quite quiet but if you go for a run around Ring Road in the evening or are leaving the library late, you’ll see them.
I wouldn’t call myself an architecture buff, but I do appreciate cool buildings. Buildings on campus range from elegant stone and brick creations (Cornett), more humble brick style (MacLaurin), to models of environmental consciousness (Bob Wright).
If you’re able to come visit campus but can’t make it to on campus events such as Explore UVic or Destination UVic consider booking a campus tour.
Victoria is a vibrant city that knows how to blend old and new, and big city excitement with small town charm. It also has a great bus system that makes it easy to get to most places with minimal hassle even if you don’t have a car. Speaking of the bus, this is the best way to check out cute old character homes right next to sleek modern buildings.
As someone who grew up in a very small city the idea of going to a large metropolis such as Vancouver wasn’t as appealing as it once was. Being able to get from A to B and being able to find somewhere quiet once in awhile became a bigger priority.
The weather here was an added bonus. Being from northern BC I was a little bit sick of snow and cold weather. Victoria fit perfectly since it usually only snows for a week or so and the weather is generally mild and way sunnier than what I grew up with.
The Psychology Program
At UVic there are four ways to major in psychology. You can choose between the Bachelor of Arts program, Bachelor of Science program, combined Biology and Psychology (BSc), and combined Computer Science and Psychology (BSc). Honours programs and opportunities to minor in the field are also offered.
If there weren’t already enough choices to be excited about, the psychology curriculum at UVic is divided into four streams: lifespan, mental health & wellbeing, mind & brain, and social psychology. You can read more about the four streams here.
This caught my attention because I would be able to start specializing my studies with my course work starting in third year instead of waiting until fourth year or even graduate studies to do so. UVic’s psychology programs, like those in many other departments, are multifaceted and allow you to tailor your degree to fit what you’re passionate about and what you want to pursue after graduation.
Don’t be fooled by it being mid-sized — UVic is a major research university with opportunities to participate as early as your first year.
The easiest way to get involved is either as a psychology research participant (I wrote a post about the experience) or to apply to be a laboratory assistant. I plan on a career in research so UVic was the place for me to be.
If you’re interested in the latest news about UVic’s research endeavors check out the news feed here.
Co-op and Work Experience
UVic values experience and co-op programs are the best way to gain valuable job experience in your field before you graduate and help you get a great career afterwards.
Some of UVic’s programs require you to take a certain number of co-op terms in order to earn your degree, which broadens your skill set as a future job applicant. As a prospective student I thought it was exciting that a university would dedicate an entire department to helping me get a job, by giving me the opportunity to gain work experience, skills, and money that I could put towards the rest of my degree.
If co-op interests you be sure to check out the dedicated Co-operative Education Program & Career Services site for more details.
Post-secondary may be the first large investment you make. UVic certainly caught my eye by being a more affordable option, as well as offering an array of scholarships to its students.
Awards, bursaries, criteria specific scholarships, and entrance scholarships are all possibilities that were available to me at UVic. In fact, approximately 40% of UVic students receive an entrance scholarship.
Proximity to Home
This was tricky criteria to meet. I wanted to be away from home to be able to experience new things but be close enough to home that I wouldn’t spend most of my breaks trying to travel between school and home.
Victoria was an ideal location to expand my ability to be independent but still be able to come home for breaks and summer without too much hassle. In the grand scheme I don’t consider eighteen hours driving plus a fair or two flights with a combined two and a half hours of airtime to be a hassle because there were far worse things.
It was comforting to know that if there was an emergency my parents were still in the same time zone, and that I’d be able to get home, or they would be able to come to me as quickly as possible.
A word about the UVic Edge
I first learned about the UVic Edge through my recruiter. The three pillars are dynamic learning, vital impact, and extraordinary environment.
For me as first year starting immediately after high school the biggest connections to me were the programs I could study, research opportunities, and vibrant student life. I suggest checking out a more comprehensive source to see how the UVic Edge relates to you!
Post secondary plans are not one size fits all. What I’ve outlined here is what was important for me when I was choosing a university and there’s so many other wonderful things about UVic that I couldn’t possibly list them all.
Make a list about what matters to you; there’s a good chance UVic can check many boxes on it.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you at UVic!