About post-secondary

Get prepared with a better understanding of the education opportunities available to you as you start your unique journey.

Every journey looks a little different.

The transition for students after high school can bring mixed emotions and important discussions. It’s okay if you don't know what you want to do or have a fully developed career plan just yet. You're right where you need to be, and we are here to help. Throughout our website you’ll find information on program and career planning, admission requirements, and financial aid options, and when you’re ready, you can easily apply to any public post-secondary institution in B.C.

Learning is a life-long adventure. As a recent high school graduate, a professional looking to update your skills, or if you have a general interest in learning something new, there are thousands of options available to you in British Columbia.

Types of institutions

There are three types of post-secondary institutions in B.C., 11 Colleges, 3 Institutes, and 11 Universities. Here’s a bit more information about each type.


Colleges tend to be smaller institutions and offer a variety of programs including continuing education, undergraduate, and higher-level credentials. Some also offer courses and programs in trades. You can expect smaller class sizes, more one-on-one interaction with your instructor, industry-experienced instructors, hands-on learning, and community involvement. Colleges tend to have lower tuition fees, are regionally accessible, and some offer on-campus student residences.


Institutes often specialize in job-ready skills training including trades, technology, and applied education. Institutes also offer several academic pathways and offer a variety of programs including continuing education, undergraduate, and higher-level credentials. You can expect smaller class sizes, industry-experienced instructors, experiential learning, and professional training.


Universities tend to be larger institutions. They offer many undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs including master’s degrees and doctoral degrees, and a wide range of continuing education. You can expect larger class sizes, expanded course offerings, research opportunities, specialized professors, larger campuses, and most offer on-campus student residences.


Undergraduate programs

There are many different undergraduate programs that you can explore on our Search page. Use the search filters to help you narrow down your options and to focus on what interests you. From Arts, Business, Engineering, Science, to Technology and Upgrading, the opportunities are endless!


Trades programs

When people think of trades there are a few that come to mind – Plumber, Carpenter, Electrician – but there are nearly 100 programs to choose from in B.C. From Pastry Chefs to Hairstylists, Crane Operators to Arborists, Motorcyclist Technicians to Welders, there are many opportunities.

Learn more about the difference between Foundation and Apprenticeship programs on our Trades page.

A student is using a tool in a Trades workshop. He is wearing a hoodie and protective glasses.


French language programs

There are a range of opportunities to continue studying in French after graduating from high school. Discover the different French language program options available at B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions.


Graduate programs

B.C. post-secondary institutions offer a wide variety of master’s and doctoral degree programs that cover a range of areas of study. Use our Search page to discover your options, or learn more on our Graduate students page.

Career exploration

If you’re not sure what you want to do quite yet, or if you want to learn more about your career interests, here’s a great place to find inspiration. Career and personality quizzes can help you discover your abilities, interests, and values, and help you learn about different career paths to find which one is right for you.

Learn about costs and the funding that is available

Post-secondary education is a great investment. Be sure to plan what your costs are going to be and what funding and support are available to help you.

The costs of your studies will vary by institution and program. Learn more about the different types of fees you can expect. To help pay for your studies, explore scholarships, grants, and bursaries – the earlier you apply for these, the better. Use budget worksheets and the cost-of-living calculator to help you plan.

Who can you talk to?

High school teachers and counsellors are a great resource to help support planning for your post-secondary journey. Some post-secondary institutions allow you to meet with someone from the Admissions Office at an institution to help answer questions you might have related to programs, or student life at their campus.

Download our pre-application checklist

Up Next

Keep these factors top of mind when mapping out your post-secondary plan.