What does the ‘UWC’ in Pearson College UWC stand for?

Pearson College is part of UWC (originally an acronym for United World Colleges, but now known simply as UWC), a network of 17 schools, colleges and programs across five continents that deliver a challenging and transformative educational experience to a diverse cross-section of students, inspiring them to create a more peaceful and sustainable future. UWC is headquartered in London, United Kingdom.

Where is Pearson College UWC?

The College is located in a breathtaking setting along the wooded shores of the Pacific Ocean at sheltered Pedder Bay, on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, just 29 kilometres west of Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, Canada. Pearson College UWC is located on the traditional territory of the Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nation. Click here for ferry and air directions to the College.

What is the mission of Pearson College UWC?

The College’s mission is aligned with that of the UWC movement: UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.  We believe that to achieve peace and a sustainable future, we must:

  • Value international and intercultural understanding
  • Celebrate differences
  • Promote personal responsibility and integrity
  • Encourage mutual responsibility and respect
  • Prioritize compassion and service
  • Respect the environment
  • Advocate idealism
  • Accept personal challenges and take action
  • Listen and collaborate
  • Set fearless examples
What age should students be when applying to Pearson College?

Canadian students have ideally completed Grade 11 when admitted to the UWC movement, normally at age 16 or 17. Exceptions are possible — please visit to our Admissions FAQs for more details.

How does the College select its students?

Generally, students are nominated by UWC National Selection Committees in their home countries and, in the case of Canada, by Provincial and Territorial Selection Committees organized through the UWC National Committee of Canada. Pearson, like all UWC colleges, does not usually select any of our students.

What do the Canadian provincial and territorial selection committees look for in applicants?

Successful applicants tend to be academically strong students who have shown leadership in activities and community service. They have expressed a true interest in internationalism and in promoting global understanding. Many have talents in areas such as art and music and other creative pursuits and, often, a keen interest in exploring the outdoors. Most of all, they have the desire and drive to become fearless international agents of change.

Check out what the ideal Pearson candidate looks like.

Where do the students live at the College?

All students live on campus in one of five rustic cedar residential buildings that respect our natural environment and are linked by paths through a towering old-growth forest. Each residence includes a Houseparent apartment. Houseparents are responsible adults, often College teachers and staff, who are available to provide students with support throughout the academic year.

  • Calgary House
  • Victoria House
  • McLaughlin House
  • Japan House
  • East House

Residential living is an essential component of our curriculum. Students live four to a room, often speak four mother tongues… and must learn to get along with each other.

What are host families?

Host Families differ from Houseparents. Host Families are volunteers, most of whom reside in the area around Pearson College UWC, who generously open their homes to students for brief periods when students are not able to be on campus — such as when travel arrangements require that they arrive or depart outside the time when the campus is open.

Some students also stay with Host Families over the winter holidays, during Project Weeks, or the occasional weekend when they may need a break from their rigorous schedules.

Pearson College UWC – and our students — greatly values and appreciates these volunteers who, in turn, learn much from hosting international and Canadian students! If you are interested in being a Host Family, please click here.

What academic program does the College offer?

Pearson College UWC offers the International Baccalaureate (IB), the most recognized and respected high-school diploma in the world. We were one of the first schools in North America with the IB program, and we continue to develop innovative international curriculum for it, such as the IB Marine Sciences and Sustainable Systems courses and, in the near future, a new IB Anthropology course on “Indigenous Nations and Settler States in Local and Global Perspectives.”

Do universities recognize the international baccalaureate?

Yes. The rigor and excellence needed to achieve an IB diploma is recognized around the world. The vast majority of Pearson and all UWC school graduates, go on to universities and colleges around the world, including institutions such as Harvard, the University of Cambridge and the University of Toronto. Twelve alumni of Pearson College UWC have been named Rhodes Scholars.