hi! i’m applying for september 2021 for social sciences (and probably some other programs) and i was wondering what the differences between all the colleges are? do i have anything to do with them if i have to learn from home? what’s the point of them? side question, do you have any tips for (possibly) incoming students?
colleges! the classic admissions question.
so to give you the rundown, colleges are basically smaller communities within the very large faculty of arts and science. some of these colleges, like victoria and st. mike’s, used to be separate universities that were absorbed into u of t like a baby eating its twin in the womb.
your college affiliation is mainly significant because it determines which registrar’s office you go to for administrative services and academic advising and which residence(s) you’re eligible to stay at. you’re also eligible for certain scholarships and resources at your college that other college’s students won’t be allowed to apply or qualify for. apart from that, your college can often become the student community that serves as your home base, since there are college-specific clubs, student governments, and newspapers that you can get involved at.
if you’re planning to learn from home (to be fair, we don’t REALLY know what september 2021 will look like yet), your college will still matter for all those reasons except res. if you’d like to make an informed decision but aren’t concerned about res, i’d pay particular attention to what clubs and scholarships are available at the colleges you’re interested in, as well as the general character of the community (which you can read about on reddit* or get ~ vibes ~ about on instagram).
you should also note what you need to do to get into the college of your choice. some colleges, like victoria, trinity, and innis, will only consider you if you place them at the top of your rankings list. victoria and trinity also require supplemental applications.
anyway. do i have any tips for incoming students? heck yeah i do.
depends on what you wanna hear about. i guess i’ll throw some generalized tips at you:
- be aware of what program selection is! in short, when you’re admitted to u of t you’re not really admitted to a program yet— you’ll need to go through a second admissions process after first year. it’s a good thing to be aware of because if it hits you like a surprise… well, that’s a lot of unwanted stress.
- start learning what it means to take care of yourself and your mental health before you enter university. that’s vague, and i’m sorry, but it really is something good to start thinking about. university (at a normal pace, anyway) will strain you like few other things and it’s good to start building habits that will enable you to endure it. for me, that would have looked like beginning to visit a counsellor while in high school.
- enter university with an open mind and some confidence in yourself! if i could do my first year again, i would tell myself that there’s no good reason to feel like an impostor and that there was a lot i could achieve at this school. i definitely wasted a lot of time in first year held back by impostor syndrome, which seems to be relatively common at u of t.
i hope this helped! good luck with your uni applications process— i hope you get into everything you want and that you make the right university choice for you. and let me know if you have any specific questions re: tips for incoming students.
be Boundless and stay safe,
*obligatory note: take things that you read on reddit with a grain of salt! r/UofT makes things sound a lot scarier than they really are sometimes, and not all the academic information on there is correct. but for things like gauging the character of different colleges, you can’t do much better than a crowdsourced opinion.