Due to restricted space, waitlisted Bachelor of Media Studies applicants faced extensive decision delay

First started three years ago, the Bachelor of Media Studies (BMS) program continues to be exceptionally competitive in terms of admission. 

As stated in one applicant’s SSC status update that was sent to The Ubyssey at the end of June, UBC was expected to have until July 15 to make the final decision due to a large number of applications. 

In a later interview with Paola Baca, associate director of undergraduate admissions, the number of BMS applicants with this waitlist time was updated to five — four direct entry applicants and one transfer applicant. 

For comparison, UBC lists June 1 as the deadline for accepting offers and paying the acceptance deposit. For waitlisted applicants, the usual admission offer deadline is June 15 — a two-week period after the acceptance deadline that would allow UBC to know how much room it still has — according to Baca. First-year course registration also happens in June.

“This is an anomaly … and we are aware that it’s quite late,” she said. “What [BMS] has been waiting for is for registration to end to see if a student to whom they have made an admission offer actually have registered. Then they could see if they have anymore space available for waitlisted students.”

This year, BMS received approximately 700 applications for 40 spots, according to her. This sets the admission rate for the program at just under six per cent.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that three out of the five applicants didn’t accept the alternative offer to the faculty of arts, as this was the “first time” such a decision was made by BMS applicants.  

“What usually happens is that the BMS program will offer a bachelor of arts as the next program, and even if the applicant doesn’t have bachelor of arts as the secondary program, they’ll do it anyway,” she said. “That’s just under the understanding that these are very strong applicants and the bachelor of media studies is essentially in the bachelor of arts.”

They have all now received the final decision as of July 4.

Moving forward

For the five applicants who faced this delay, UBC has accommodated them by communicating their circumstances with student housing services and enrolment services. 

For BMS overall, the admission process will continue to be fine-tuned to support the expectedly high volume of applicants in the future.  

“Now, they are looking [at] what is the best way to enrol the exact number of students that they can physically fit in the program and how to make it timely,” said Baca. “They are in their third year as a program and now they are trying to finesse it for the future.” 

Alternatively, the program could be expanded to accept more applicants. Such decision, however, will have to be delayed until the program completes the iteration of its first cohort.

“We will graduate our first cohort of students a year from now... then we can take a further photograph,” said Richard Cavell, co-founder and Chair pro tem of the BMS program. “I think that’s the very, very best moment to make any sorts of changes.”

-With files from Tanya Gurka