What’s a College?

What’s the difference between a college, faculty, and university? Let me break it down for you.

The University of Toronto is HUGE, with over 40,000 undergraduate students enrolled across all 3 campuses. Because UofT is so big, there needs to be a way to divide and organize the students.

The St. George campus is home to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the biggest faculty. During your time at UofT, you belong to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for all academic reasons. You belong there because of the program(s) you are in- you are a student at the Faculty of Arts and Science if you are in a program hosted by artsci.

The faculty is also huge (a common theme here at UofT), so each student also belongs to a college. Colleges are a way to further divide and serve the students. Each college has its own administrative buildings where you go in order to get help or information. This could be your college’s registrar’s office, the dean’s office, or the principal’s office. These are all places that are meant to help students should they run into any issues during their time at U of T.

Incoming students commonly ask “which college is the best/ which college should I apply for?”. There isn’t an easy answer for that. Every college is different and suits a different kind of student, you need to figure out what you want in a college and which one aligns the most with your specific needs.

The Colleges Are:

Here is what you should be thinking about when picking your college:

  • Are you living on campus? Your college affiliation determines which residence you live in, so figuring out where on campus you want to live and what style of residence you want is a key factor in picking colleges. Here is a website with all the different colleges and what kind of res they offer.
  • Do you want a bigger college community or a more intimate one? There isn’t a right answer for this, it all depends on your personal preference. Some people like larger colleges (like UC or St. Mikes) as there are a lot of people, more choices in terms of residence buildings, and a wider variety of clubs or resources. Others like smaller colleges (like Trinity or Innis) as there aren’t long waits at the registrar’s office, there’s more personalized help, and the community is more tight-knit. It’s all up to you!
  • What kind of program are you interested in? You don’t need to be affiliated with a specific college to be in a specific program, but it’s nice to have like-minded people around you. For example, the Cinema Studies program is hosted at Innis, meaning that there are a lot of Cinema Studies students at Innis. If you’re interested in Cinema Studies, you’d find a lot of people with the same interests as you.
  • Do you want to write a supplementary application? Trinity and Victoria require a supplemental application- usually an essay- and to have them ranked first. If this isn’t something you’re too keen on doing, look into one of the other colleges.

For more information, check this link out.

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