Vancouver Island University Nanaimo Campus

It's Worth It

We know, university can be hard.
But it’s worth it.

At Vancouver Island University we’re here to help you with every step in your journey toward becoming a student.

Every student faces challenges.
We’re committed to helping you face and overcome them.

Here are some of the common challenges students encounter. Any sound familiar? Click through to learn about the resources we have to help out.

Want to talk to someone about specific questions?

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Ready to join us at VIU?

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How do I pay for university?

Tuition, books and supplies, accommodation, transportation, food and definitely some entertainment; the costs pile up so fast it’s exhausting just thinking about it.

Here’s the good news. There are lots of options available to help you pay for university, and we have plenty of tips and support to help you manage your expenses and reduce costs where you can.

There’s also lots of evidence that university studies are worth your investment – from the higher earnings graduates make over their lifetime, to the increased career options that open up to you.


Number of new jobs expected to be created over the next decade in BC.


That’s the value of scholarships, awards and bursaries available to VIU students in 2017-18.


That’s how many students work part- or full-time while attending university.

Here are some options to help reduce or cover your costs

VIU scholarships, awards, and bursaries

Apply for all Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards offered at VIU through one easy online portal. Fill out the form and you’re done.

Access student loans

Student Aid BC provides loans and grants to help students fund their studies. Non-BC residents can check with their provincial government for similar options.

Work PT on or off-campus

Last year, VIU students worked at more than 400 part-time jobs on campus. Gain skills and help pay the bills.

Stick to a budget

Making a budget and sticking to it will help you manage expenses at university.

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Will university lead to a job?

You were probably pretty young when you first got the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Now you’re facing the real deal, and it can feel a bit scary. So many options, and a lot of pressure to figure it all out.

It’s okay not knowing, and you’re not alone. Education can give you opportunities you’d never imagine. Whether you have a strong destination in mind, or you are just exploring your options, we’re here to help.

VIU offers paths to many different kinds of careers. Some take a pretty obvious path: study Nursing or Welding, become a nurse or welder. Other programs lead to a much wider variety of career options, including some you may not have even heard of or considered, and might be a perfect fit for you.


The employment rate for university grads three years after graduation.


That’s the number of jobs that require a post-secondary education.


The number of university grads who report working at jobs that require the skills they acquired at university.

Get started on the path to a career that you’ll enjoy

Get career experience while you study

There are many experiences outside the classroom that can enhance your learning, and help you build skills and knowledge to improve your future career opportunities. VIU’s Co-Curricular Record helps you add valuable non-academic credit to your student record, which can help you find a great career.

Educational advisors are here to help you

Get help with goal setting to connect your studies and future career, learn strategies that will help you handle challenges you’re having with your studies, and find out about the different kinds of supports and opportunities that will make your learning experience the best it can be.

Get experience with internships and co-ops

Most degree and trades programs offer practical experience in the field through internships, co-ops, and practicums – a great way to gain valuable work experience and get your foot in the door even before you graduate!

Take your learning on a journey

You can travel and study at the same time through experiences offered by Education Abroad. Combining studies and travel can help you gain confidence, develop new interests, meet great people, and pursue a future career with an expanded world perspective.
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Will I feel like I belong at university? How will I fit in?

University will be very different from your high school experience, and in ways you might not expect. Since you’ll be more focused on areas of interest, chances are you’ll find lots to talk about with other like-minded people, and take part in activities in and out of class that get you involved. Clubs and campus events, and lots of fun activities offered through Campus Rec and the VIU Students’ Union mean you can meet people outside your classes and make some new friends. Get involved and you’ll get even more out of your university experience. Friends made in university often last a lifetime.


That’s how many campus clubs, groups, events and organizations you can choose from to meet people, get involved and get the most out of your university experience at VIU.


Meet students from this many countries at VIU.

Indigenous culture and friendship shared at The Gathering Place.

Here are some great ways to meet new friends and get involved in campus life

Get active with Campus Rec

Campus Rec offers tons of fun activities to get you out of your stress zone, and gets you outdoors on trips and courses where you can try something completely new. Kayaking or surfing, anyone? Outrigger canoeing, spin classes or paintball, perhaps? Sign up and go on a new adventure with new friends.

Join a club to fit your interests

Among the 100+ student clubs and activities you can get involved in at VIU, many are offered to you through the VIU Students’ Union (VIUSU). Plus, VIU’s very active students’ union offers activities on campus where you can meet other students and have fun. If you don’t see a club that interests you, VIUSU encourages students to get involved and start one.

A warm welcome at Shq’Apthut

Everyone is welcome at Shq’Apthut, VIU’s Aboriginal Gathering Place on campus. Meet other students, get support from Aboriginal Elders, and take part in celebrations, fun events, learning and Indigenous cultural activities.

Explore great activities on Vancouver Island and beyond

Get out and explore Vancouver Island on day trips and hikes with other VIU students. Cultural Connections schedules activities for International students and all students who are new to the area and want to take in cultural events, attractions and fun activities together.
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Do you wonder what it will be like to live on your own?

Leaving home can be both exhilarating and frightening. Your first taste of freedom can also mean you’ll feel a bit overwhelmed with the responsibilities. After settling into a new place and a new routine, and finding where you can get some support, you will find that living away from home helps you discover your independence. It’s a big step to take.

At VIU, we’ll help you create a home away from home. Whether you live on or off campus, our close-knit university community will make you feel like you matter and that you are not alone.

1st year students are guaranteed a spot in VIU Student Residence.


That’s how many students live in VIU Student Residence.

Take on the challenge of managing your own time.

Find your home away from home

Live in Residence

Living on campus means you’ll have a built-in group of people sharing the same transition to university life, creating a natural support network. Plus, VIU ResLife plans all kinds of fun activities where you can meet new friends.

Explore new activities

Studying on Vancouver Island means your classroom can also be your playground – from riding the surf in Tofino to exploring the backcountry of Mount Washington to hiking beautiful trails in Nanaimo – the Island life offers an amazing balance to university life.

Join a community where you matter

It’s important to know you have someone to turn to when you’re struggling, need help with your studies, to connect for a study break or something fun on the weekend. You’ll find counsellors, faculty, staff and fellow students make this university a very warm and welcoming community.

Food to fuel your studies

Students living on or off campus can sign up for meal plans with Food Services. Cooking made easy! There are two cafeterias on campus, a Subway, and a Starbucks next to the library. Plus, you’ll find some great eats close to campus and in Nanaimo’s downtown a few minutes away.
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Where do you turn if you’re struggling with your studies?

It’s impossible to be good at everything. It’s also a fact that few people get through university without asking for help. University is going to ask a lot of you, and you might be surprised at the challenges you face with your studies. You can do it, and you will find lots of help when you need it.


That’s how many hours of studying to expect for 1 hour in class.

Take study breaks and get some exercise.

Avoid cramming by scheduling regular study time.

Turn your struggles into your greatest strengths

The Writing Centre and Math Learning Centre

Math and writing are two areas where many university students struggle. Meet with qualified faculty and senior level student tutors who are there to support you with your studies – free of charge!

Peer Supported Learning (PSL)

It’s a proven thing: you learn more and retain what you’ve learned longer when you work collaboratively with others. Join other students in casual, informal study sessions tailored to your subjects.

Learning Matters

You can learn to be a better learner. There are many approaches, strategies and tools available to help you improve. VIU has an amazing online resource called Learning Matters that will help you with your academic challenges, and set you on a path to success.

Upgrade for university studies

You might be surprised by how many university graduates, including many who landed on the Dean’s list for academic success, started out at VIU with upgrading their courses, or working toward their high school diploma. No matter where you start, you’ll get there and we’re here to help.
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Where do you start if you don’t know what to study?

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably didn’t graduate high school with a fully formed idea of what you’d like to do with your life. That’s not unusual, and it’s also not a reason to abandon the idea of university studies. Instead, you can use this time to explore what you’d like to do, while narrowing in on a field of study that really interests you. We’re talking about something that ignites your passion and curiosity.

Explore your interests and turn them into attainable goals. We help you set a direction for your post-secondary education. The first step is yours!


The average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working life.


Nearly a third of bachelor degree students will change their major.


Explore VIU programs to find your fit.

Narrow in on a program that feels like a fit

Talk to a VIU Recruiter

You need to talk it out. A VIU Recruiter can answer your questions about university, and help you narrow your interests to find a program that feels like a fit. They’re friendly, approachable, and can help guide you through the application process.

Explore many paths in one program

The Exploratory University Studies (EXPO) program gives you the freedom to choose courses without committing to a specific degree program. Plus, you get the support of Educational Advisors to guide and help you set some goals to find your true path.

Explore programs to see what might fit

Not so sure? Spend some time reading about VIU’s programs, and reach out to a Recruiter if you have questions. They work closely with Educational Advisors to help you get started in a university program that’s a fit for you. You can also talk to a professor in your program of choice, or a recent graduate who’s using what they’ve learned in their career.

Hear what VIU students and graduates have to say

Every VIU student has a unique story to share. They talk about the experience of being a student, and the support and guidance that helped them along the way. Recent graduates also talk about great connections made along their career path, and the passions that are beginning to take shape in their lives.
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