My Experience as a Post-Secondary Transfer Student from UBC

Dec 12, 2022

By Lotte Johannessen, 2nd-year Student

I am a former University of British Columbia (UBC) Engineering student and planning to transfer to Sauder School of Business in the September 2023 term. This is my jagged path to Corpus Christi College. Follow along my timeline from high school to post-secondary school. 

June 2020: High School Graduation 

In June 2020, during the midst of the pandemic, I graduated high school without a prom or a graduation celebration. I felt like I did not find closure from high school. One minute I was in my twelfth grade physics class and the next I was starting my university degree in my basement with a computer in front of me.

The same month, I founded an art business. It was my way to sell my old art portfolio from AP art but also feel connected to my community during the pandemic. 

Sketch of a high school graduation cap and scroll. Original art by 2nd-year Corpus Christi College student Lotte Johannessen

September 2020: First Day of University 

I started my first day at UBC Engineering in September 2020. I did not feel ready for university, even from the beginning.

A sketch of two textbooks stacked on top of each other. Original art by 2nd-year Corpus Christi College student Lotte Johannessen.

September 2020 to January 2021: My First Semester

Engineering was tough, but the toughest part was knowing that it was not for me. 

I felt more inspired to create art than I had in many years. Every day I was making a new piece of art. I started hand printing tote bags as well. This business was a passion of mine. I created a platform where everyone was welcoming and supportive of my art style. 

When it came to school, I found no matter how hard I tried, it was not paying off. I felt alone.

Online school made it incredibly hard to find friends or even a connection between classmates. It was hard to find people that were going through the same thing as me. Little did I know, I soon would find my people at Corpus Christi College.

Sketch of a computer with various tabs open, including course listings and the UBC Engineering webpage. Original art by 2nd-year Corpus Christi College student Lotte Johannessen

January 2021: A University Break 

In January 2021, I booked an appointment with a UBC advisor. I told them that I did not think engineering was for me. I asked if there was an opportunity to transfer into something else. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to study, but I had one week before the withdrawal deadline and application deadline. 

Should I go into computer science? I enjoyed the coding class I took. Should I go into architecture? I love creating art.

The advisor said my chances of getting into computer science or architecture with the grades I had were slim to none. (I did not get in.) My UBC advisor suggested a coding bootcamp to see if I enjoyed the content. I went into an 8-month-long coding bootcamp course. 

A sketch of a question mark. Original art by 2nd-year Corpus Christi College student Lotte Johannessen

April 2021: Full-Time Work

It took me three months to find a job. I felt isolated. In the middle of a pandemic, I was not even connecting with people through Zoom anymore. I accepted a job as a baker at Grounds for Coffee. I was promoted to team lead in October 2021and worked full-time there until October 2022. While working, I completed the 8-month coding bootcamp, only to find that coding was not my passion either. My business was my passion.

My art business brought me happiness everyday. I knew I had to do something with my business in the future.

A sketch of a cinnamon bun. Original art by 2nd-year Corpus Christi College student Lotte Johannessen

August 2021: Applying to SFU

Business was my plan. I absolutely loved it, I was confident. I talked to a recruiter at Simon Fraser University (SFU). We had an amazing chat about my future at SFU. I was so excited. I knew where I was going to go. I knew what I was going to do. After I submitted my application, I got an email that they had gotten rid of my application.

SFU requires a 2.0 GPA minimum which is 60%. My accumulative percentage was 59.8%. You read that right, 59.8%!

I did not know I was below their minimum GPA, and they do not look at your high school grades once you have completed post-secondary courses. 

A sketch of an SFU application with the word "REJECTED" stamped across. Original art by 2nd-year Corpus Christi College student Lotte Johannessen

September 2021: Evaluating Colleges

It felt like my last chance. I started applying to colleges around Vancouver. Corpus Christi College and Langara College stood out to me. I was stunned after my experience applying to universities. I sent a long email to the admissions office at Corpus Christi College. I was worried they would not accept me, due to my low average.

“Thanks for your interest in Corpus Christi College! I am sorry to hear you haven’t had the best time at UBC Engineering. Its quite common actually for us to receive students who were at UBC Engineering but decided after a year it wasn’t for them. Even more common still to decide to switch to commerce/business studies. Certainly, we accept students who may have struggled a bit out of the gate at UBC, so I would encourage you to apply.” 

From an email from an Academic Advisor at Corpus Christi College

I spent a few weeks looking at the BC Transfer Guide, as well as going to look at the campuses. I decided to go to Corpus Christi College due to the incredible transfer opportunities. I am so glad I decided to come to Corpus Christi College. Corpus Christi was the most understanding and welcoming college. 

A sketch of the Corpus Christi and St. Mark's College logo - a winged lion walking toward the right as the sun shines from behind. Original art by 2nd-year Corpus Christi College student Lotte Johannessen

January 2022: First Day of Classes at Corpus Christi College 

I started at Corpus Christi in January, and courses were online until February due to the pandemic. I was a bit wary at first, as I had had such a rough experience with post-secondary in the first place. 

Corpus Christi College brought back my confidence.

Corpus felt like a home to me. It helped me build confidence for school work again. And though I did have to take math again, the community and the professors made it tolerable. 

Looking back, I am so glad that this was my path.

It was tough to write about. These were very rough years in my life. But I learned that it is okay to stray away from everyone else’s path. It took transferring schools, a full time job, a coding course, a pandemic and especially Corpus Christi College for me to realize that. Corpus Christi College showed me that I was not alone. I love hearing about everyone else’s path which led them to this school as well. 

Interested in viewing more of Lotte’s art? Follow her business on Instagram or visit her website.