What Matters to U of T Students


What Matters To U of T Students?

At its formation in 2016, through consultation with students, we centred our understanding of student experience on the following 5 domains: Access for Every Student, Fostering Connectedness, Future-Ready Students, Integrated Learning Experience, Whole Student Development.



What helps students feel connected to the university community?

In this report, we highlighted major takeaways shared by many students on campus across three years of data from 2020-2023. We found that students come to university hoping to explore their identities academically, individually, and within the community. Students shared a common desire to connect with others on campus and feel validated in their self-discovery journeys. Our data reveals that self-discovery motivates students to build relationships, self-advocate, and discover new passions.



Looking at student stories and data collected over the last three years from 2020-2023, we sought to explore the question: what matters to U of T students now? Through a design thinking activity, we asked our team of students to generate hypotheses on sticky notes responding to this question as they reviewed research reports from the last three years and over 380 pieces of qualitative data.

From hundreds of sticky note responses, we refined the hypotheses to guide our data retrieval. The team searched through all archived student stories and experiences to test and refine the hypotheses and gain a deeper understanding of the core needs students communicated. As a result of this inquiry, we developed a vision to illustrate our findings about what matters to U of T students based on our insights.


When students feel secure to explore their identities, they feel more connected to the university community.

We found that students come to the University of Toronto hoping to explore and discover their identities, not only in academics, but also as community members and individuals. Students expressed an eagerness to connect with others throughout their journeys at U of T and shared their desire for their sense of self to grow and be validated as they learn more about themselves.

Our data revealed that self-discovery motivates students to self-advocate, build relationships, and uncover new passions. Exploring their constantly evolving identities feels challenging to students, but those who find comfort within the uncertainty feel freer and more confident. Newfound confidence allows students to make choices that connect them with others and expand possibilities for their futures.