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Choosing a college at the University of Toronto

Some students have begun to ask questions about the college system at the University of Toronto. To begin with, the requirement to indicate a college of choice applies only to candidates for the St. George (or downtown) campus of the university, not to those intending to enrol at either the Scarborough or the Mississauga campuses, where college membership is automatic.

Even on the St. George campus, it is a requirement only for those applying to the Faculty of Arts & Science, and not the other faculties (Applied Science & Engineering, Music, and Kinesiology). However, since Arts & Science is by far the largest undergraduate division at U of T, the great majority of applicants do have to provide this information.

In order to submit U of T Arts & Sciences as one of your choices on the Ontario Universities Application Centre site, you must first rank your college choices on the OUAC form.  You must rank the colleges before submitting your application (due Wednesday, January 16), but are permitted to re-rank your choices until April 1 (although late changes may jeopardize your chances of getting your first choice).

The best way to explain the colleges is to compare them to houses at UCC. For one thing, college membership has nothing to do with a student’s academic program; all departments at U of T are campus-wide.  If you did an analysis of one of your current classes based on house membership, the probability is that all ten houses would be represented; the same is true in Arts & Science courses on the St. George campus. That being said, certain colleges do host different programs and if a particular program is of interest to you, this might influence your choice of college.

As with our houses, the seven colleges at U of T provide students with a smaller community with which to identify within a large institution. They are also the source of support services and usually the focal point of students’ social and extracurricular activities.

As the University of Toronto’s brochure points out, “College choice is highly subjective.  It’s a matter of finding the right fit for you. Each college has its own character.  Different qualities such as location, architecture, residences, size, traditions, family or religious affiliation will appeal to different students.”

All the colleges give preference to students who rank them as their first choice.  However, Trinity College, Victoria College, and Innis College will not admit any student who does not rank them in first place; if you rank them below that position, you will not be considered. You need to rank Woodsworth College first if you are a Rotman Commerce student wishing to be a member of that college and/or if you wish to live in the Woodsworth residence. In addition, both Trinity and Victoria have a student profile form they insist that all applicants must complete; information about that part of the application will be sent to you via email once your OUAC application has been submitted.

A special note of interest:  the A.L. Cochrane Scholarship at Victoria College is available exclusively for graduates of UCC.  This $4000 award is designed for strong students who have demonstrated a particular passion for sports.

If you are not accepted by your first-choice college, you will be considered by the college next on your list (with the exception of Trinity, Victoria, or Innis). As long as you are admitted to your academic program at the St. George campus, the university guarantees you a place at one of the colleges.

While the choice of college is not as important as the choice of academic program, it does deserve your careful consideration.  For more information, click here.

Please note that students in Physical Education, Applied Science & Engineering, and Music may apply to live in residence at one of the colleges.  The reason these students do not belong to a college is that their faculties are small enough to provide a good sense of community and the counselling services they require.



Blue: Whole School
Yellow: Upper School
Red: Prep School


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