• Jason Wheeler

Sauder 1st Year Guide 2020 – UBC Sauder Tips & Tricks for First Years

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

For a lot of incoming Sauder students, the first year can be quite daunting, and for good reason. Sauder is full of overachievers, try-hards, naturally gifted scholars, and also kin of large sauder sponsors who realistically shouldn't have been accepted in the first place. Regardless of how smart you are, there are still many tips and advice you could use to do better, and make the most of your time at Sauder. Here is a list of a bunch of the things that I wish someone had told me going into my first year at Sauder School of Business at UBC. 


I will mix in a number of suggestions you may have already heard before with a mix of much less common tips and tricks that most people likely have not heard/read anywhere before. 



ubc Sauder school of business front sign image

  1. Before classes event start, use “Rate my Prof” (ratemyprofessors.com)

Ensuring that you are taking as many classes as possible with the best possible professors is honestly the best way to make sure you do well in your first year. Not only do some professors mark easier than others, but some simply teach content better than others. So if you’re not looking to be bored out of your mind or fall asleep during a lecture, then definitely make sure you look at each professor's reviews before choosing your class. It’ll take you 30-60min to do but it will make up for choosing Mr. Gateman for Econ without knowing that he’ll force you to buy a $200 textbook package that comes with a pen, kids calculator and other unnecessary materials. Not sure what he will do this year when everything is all online, but with him especially he’ll probably find some way to way overcharge you for some extra service that he’ll make mandatory. In summary though, make sure you check out your professors, as it will not only tell you who not to take, but it will also sometimes give you specific tips on how to succeed with certain professors. 



Sauder spark spirit leaders image

2. Do Spark & Jumpstart!

I’ve done spark and jumpstart during my first years, and I even went back to become an orientation leader (mostly for the money and experience), and I will honestly say that it is 100% the cringiest and dumbest thing you could put yourself through. That being said, you should 100% make sure you do it. Not so that you can have the time of your life, but so that you can make connections and friends. You’ll quickly learn that there is a lot of “collaboration” when working on assignments and projects, and so you can never have too many connections to share answers with and get help from for work. Especially with classes being online during the first semester, it’ll be that much harder to find people to work on assignments and stuff with, and so Spark and Jumpstart are probably going to be the best possible ways to make those sorts of connections. On the bright side, everyone is in the same boat and will be looking for people to connect with, and so even though there will be a lot of friendships/connections made through cringey manners, they will guaranteed be worth it. Even if you have friends going into your first year, it never hurts to make more friends and get more variations of answers. 


3. Plan ahead and take electives related to your intended major

This is a tip that you won’t really benefit from until you hit your 3rd or 4th year at UBC. Basically, try to plan ahead and figure out what specializations you are interested in so that during your 1st and 2nd years you can take the elective prerequisites for the upper level electives. This may sound a bit confusing since these are all new terms for people that haven’t been to university yet so let me give an example: If you are planning on taking marketing as your specialization, then you would probably want to take psychology or some sociology classes as your electives. You would want to take Psych 101 & 102, so that you can then take Psych 300 & 400 level courses in your 3rd and 4th year. If you don’t take psych 101 or 102 then you won’t be able to take those advanced psych courses. 


Some people also opt to simply take GPA boosters which is another method, but if you are really trying to get your money's worth out of your degree and give yourself an edge over others, then taking these advanced, and relevant electives is the way to go. However if you are trying to raise your GPA to get into finance, accounting or for whatever other reason here is an article for some of the best GPA booster classes: https://www.thecapsoff.com/post/best-gpa-booster-fall-2020-ubc


4. Go to POITS

Points is bi-weekly “party” event hosted by sauder. Unlike Sparks and Jumpstart, this event is actually a ton of fun because you can get drunk at it. Or if you’re not of age you can pre-drink for it. Essentially it is a full on party hosted in the lobby of Sauder (although location sometimes changes). It’s honestly a ton of fun and is another chance to make more connections (connections are gonna be a common theme throughout this article and your time at Sauder – so get used to it). This tip isn’t really helpful for 1st semester, but if the campus opens back up for 2nd semester this could be more relevant. 



Sauder classroom image


5. Comm 101 – Don’t waste too much time

If you are taking a full sauder course load, you will without a doubt be crazy busy at some points. So don’t waste your time on pointless readings or quizzes. So unless you have no life OR genuinely want to read some of the required readings (some can be somewhat interesting), then I would recommend using some of your connections to get answers for some of the quizzes. They are quite short and overall not worth a lot, and so if you are able to save 2-4 hours each week from the pre-readings I would definitely recommend. 


As for your in-class participation marks, you can just pick and choose which classes you want to try in. In my year the participation mark was worth 10% of your mark and so it is definitely not something you want to miss out on. So contrary to my last point, you do want to do some readings. But just make sure that you pick and choose when to do it. I used to fully do all the pre-readings twice during the semester, and then during the class I would raise my hand to answer or add my input every chance the professor gave. The TA would then mark me down for adding valuable input to the class and by the end of the year I got the full 10%. 


6. Save your notes

I recommend that you save all your notes, and assignments from all your classes so that you can reference them later on. A lot of the content you learn during first year is built upon during your second year and so it can be helpful to have your original notes to revisit. 



sauder building image

7. Beat Your Course (Math 104/184, Comm 290 + others)

Beat your course is an independent service offered where in simple terms it teaches you the entire course in just 6-12 hours. It is offered at an additional price (usually $70-$200) and it has been worth every dollar. For really tough classes like Math 104/184 or Comm 290, having this extra session can really help. They also sometimes teach you different ways of approaching problems that might resonate with you better than your professors method. For the Math one specifically, they go through the exact questions that you will be facing during your final exam and midterms. So if you are struggling with Math, Beat your course will save your ass. 


8. Try to get Involved

With everything online it may be more difficult, but if you can get involved with some club or organization I would strongly recommend it. Not only can you make more connections, but more importantly, you will develop your resume and gain some new “STAR” stories for interviews. A star story is basically an example of a time when you displayed some exceptional qualities, and later when you take Comm 202, you will realize how important those STAR stories really are. Once you have some university club/organization experience under your belt, you will be much more well suited for applying to other exec positions in clubs and for when you’re searching for a summer job.



Sauder building from outside image


9. Make friends with older students

Making friends with older people can help you out a ton. They will be able to sell you their textbooks for cheap (or even give you their free PDF versions sometimes), give you tons of personal advice for your classes, give you warning and advice you may not hear otherwise, and help you out with work and stuff. Obviously you don’t want to just use them for this, but these are just some of the perks to having older friends in Sauder. A great place to meet older students is at POITS, through clubs and sports teams. 


10. Use the UGO

The Sauder Undergraduate Office can be a huge resource for you. You’re probably all already familiar with what they do from the emails you’ve been receiving, but my tip is to not be shy when you need their services. They will help you plan your courses, and can even help you get into full classes sometimes. THey will be able to answer just about any question for you, and unlike other faculties, they will actually be helpful and knowledgeable. Just make sure that you prepare and do your homework first, so that you are not just asking them questions that you easily could’ve found on the Sauder website.