Introduction

Your College at U of T: Trinity

Your College at U of T: Trinity

Good Monday, dear readers! I hope you had a fantabulous mini-break and caught up on things you needed to do, be it homework or essays or seeing friends or sleeping. I, for one, am inordinately pleased that I got caught up on the last activity. Today for our heptadic saga, we have Dean Steels* from Trinity College, as well as a cameo from Provost Andy Orchard!

* His first name is Jonathan, not Dean. He’s the Acting Dean of Student Life, see? It’d be funny if a guy named Dean became Dean, though. It’s like, hello, Dean Dean *insert last name*!**

** Apparently, I’m nonetheless still sleep-deprived. Ignore me.

Can you tell me briefly about the history of the college, and where the name came from?

I can tell you it’s old. Trinity was founded by John Strachan, the first Anglican bishop of Toronto, in 1851.

What’s unique about your college?

Trinity is the smallest college at U of T, with roughly half of our first-year students in residence. We have around 1,800 students total, and around 400 new incoming students each year. We have an active and engaged student body who run their own student government at the college and hold formal events every year. We also have an Academic Don program, where grad students from particular disciplines are available to help our students with their academic studies.

Do you have any mentorship programs at the college?

We have a mentorship program which pairs alumni and current students. Certainly we are interested in developing more formalized mentorship programs. We have also have Academic Dons and peer counsellors, although they are not involved in a formal mentorship program.

How does the selection process to the college work?

Since we’re so small and get so many applicants, you have to rank us as your first choice when you apply to U of T. From there, you are invited to submit a “personal profile,” which is essentially answers to a few different essay questions that help us to see the student as a whole, as opposed to just his/her marks. Of course academic scores are taken into consideration, but extracurriculars are as well, and in the essay, we’re looking for creativity and originality, as well as grammar and spelling … you know, the usual stuff.

What are some of the common stereotypes of your college, and what do you think about them?

One that I’ve heard is that we’re elitist. Certainly we have a high academic standard and we have some excellent programs that are hosted here, as well as a pretty vibrant history. But we are among the most culturally diverse colleges, with students from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. I think the variety of our student activity and initiatives is a clear demonstration of that.

What’s with the robes?

The gowns are held from a tradition when Trinity students used to wear gowns to classes, a tradition derived from British post-graduate education. Students wear them to student government meetings and to formal meals.

There was a recent article in the Toronto Star about the college. Can you tell me more about that?

Provost Andy Orchard: The Star article, published in May, focused on an event that took place off-campus in March at which perhaps as few as two per cent of the current student body was present, by a group (“Episkopon”) from which the College long ago disassociated itself because of their consistently divisive, derisive, antisocial, and offensive behaviour. Whatever one might think of the rest of the piece (overwritten and under-researched are two opinions that I am aware of), the headline is bang on: Trinity remains “tainted” by a moribund tradition of often puerile pomposity that perhaps simply needs to cease. Trinity is not the college of 150, 100, or even 50 years ago, when “Episkopon” was very much a part of college life, and it is a sadness that so much attention is given to what is no longer representative, and is indeed deplored for its corrosive effect …

More productive, perhaps to celebrate a number of new initiatives and achievements at Trinity, most of which I did indeed mention to the Star reporter. The fact that he chose to ignore them altogether says much for his predetermined point of view … As a sometime classics scholar, I cannot help noticing that the Latin word that underlies the word “tradition” means both “to hand on” and “to betray.” It seems to me that Trinity is not obliged to accept all of its so-called traditions; and Episkopon has betrayed the college badly. It is certainly not a problem that, having inherited, I intend to hand on, even if others view me as a traitor to “Old Trin.”

[Cynthia’s note: As you can see from my ellipses, Provost Orchard actually took the time to write me a very long and very thorough reply, right before a flight to England. Although I wanted to print his reply word for word, we simply do not have the space. However, even from this excerpt, you can tell that the Provost really takes exception to the old stereotypes and is bent on changing them.]

What are some of the clubs that are unique to your college?

Students for International Development sends around 10-15 students to Peru and Kenya each year. We have the Trinity Environmental Club, and played a big role in the development of our green roofs as well as the installation of our roof-top solar panels. Rainbow Trinity is pretty active as well – they’ve been helping to host the U of T-wide LGBTQ orientation for the last two or three years. We also have one of the oldest – if not the oldest – university debating societies in Canada, called “The Lit”. Actually, our student government in itself is pretty unique, as students have the ability to make influential decisions at the college.

What resources are available for commuting students?

Two of our student government leaders make up the Non-Resident Affairs Committee (NRAC), and student fees provide a sizable amount of funding for commuting students. Of course, all the resources available to resident students are available for non-resident students as well, including all our spaces, lounges, dons, pianos, etc. Also, we have two rooms which non-resident students can book if they’re here on a late night and want to spend the night at the college.

What about scholarships and bursaries at the college?

They range from (automatic awards for) highest average in a given discipline to scholarships that are based on community involvement in combination with grades.

What’s available to eat at the college?

We have two dining halls – one is a pretty large, formal hall, and the other one is smaller, more intimate. Both offer full service: cafeteria-style, with pre-determined menus. They have salad bars and different soups that change every day. We also have The Buttery in the commuter lounge space, where there’s Pizza Pizza, Starbucks, etc.

What are the residences like?

Our residences are older, charming buildings, but don’t worry – we’re fitted with wireless and modern amenities. We have a mix of single and double dorm rooms and dons interspersed throughout.

Why should students choose your college?

We’re a smaller college in the context of U of T. Students will have the opportunity to get involved here and get to know one another and the administration.

Can we close off with a fun fact?

Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson went here!

Reflections, thoughts…

Fun story: I got to meet Adrienne Clarkson (and Jim Balsillie!) during the matriculation convocation thing, which was great, except of course my mom called to ask how the ceremony went. I ignored my phone ringing, because we were outside and the crowd was pretty loud anyway, and I was meeting Adrienne Clarkson (who has her own arms, for goodness’ sake), but apparently, “The Imperial March” cuts easily through chatter and laughter: Adrienne Clarkson levelled the frostiest stare at me and said, “You should take that,” before turning away. Oops. I’m sorry, Adrienne!

So, as you can tell, I’m a Trin kid, and I totally remember that personal profile I had to fill out. I remember that year, we were given a picture with a bench on it, and we were asked to write a 500-word reflection. I totally ran with it, and wrote an angsty, heart-wrenching tale of a young girl in diary format. It was definitely one of the most enjoyable entrance essays I wrote that year, and only after I submitted it did I have second thoughts about whether or not I should have been more … sophisticated. But hey, I got in! Good enough for me.

Before you ask, I do have a gown, and it has just the right amount of swishiness. As a commuting student, I rarely get to wear it (and also miss out on a lot of the traditions, boo), but it works great as a Harry Potter costume in a pinch! Also, as Dean Steeles said, the student government runs the place, basically, so you need a gown if you want to vote on any of the issues being discussed.

And yes, you wear your gown to formal dinners. Speaking of which, commuting students get 10 free meals every year on their TCard, which is amazing during exam week when I don’t want to think about bringing food to school.

If you look at the building, it is quite old and imposing – the floors creak, and I have the urge to whisper if I need to say anything. If you go in and make a left, you’ll reach our chapel, and if you’re lucky, somebody will be playing on the gorgeous organ that we have.

On the other side (make a right when you enter) is the Registrar’s Office. It’s an intimate space, with three desks where you sit face to face rather than stand in a line over long tables. I remember, when I was a first-year student, the registrar himself made appointments with all of us to check up on how we’re settling into university. It definitely made me feel at home right away.

It’s surprisingly easy to get involved at the college – I went to Kenya the summer of my first year with Students for International Development and spent 10 weeks there doing rural development projects. Along the way*, I met some great people, immersed myself in a completely new and different culture, and became the adopted daughter of one of the Maasai. It’s a great program, and way more affordable than other study/volunteer/travel-abroad programs at the university. Believe me, I’ve looked.

* I also took a guy to court, learned how to distinguish between the feces of most of the farm animals, and stared face to face with a lioness.

And that’s my experience with Trin as a commuting student. I really hope resident students can comment on their experience – it’s going to be different from mine.

Finally, I’d like to leave you off with one of our delightful (and facetious) little yells. So, WHO ARE WE?

We are the Salt of the Earth,
So give ear to us!
No new ideas shall ever come near to us!
Orthodox! Catholic!
Crammed with Divinity!
Damn the dissenters,
Hurrah for old Trinity!

Until next week, with New College,

– Cynthia

32 comments on “Your College at U of T: Trinity

  1. I’m torn between Victoria and Trinity, because of the guarantee of $1000 one can get from Victoria for 3.5GPA and the possibility of a $15,000 scholarship from Trinity after first year.

    I get the feeling that Victoria gives more scholarships and bursaries, is that right?

    Does anyone know if they recieve scholarships and bursaries from Trinity throughout their academic year and how hard it was? I think competing against the very best for scholarships even with a small class of 400 students is difficult, no?

    Trinity doesn’t list all their scholarships like Victoria does, does anyone know if their scholarships are comparable in dollars and number of scholarships as Victoria?

    Lastly does Victoria have rooms commuters can rent for overnight stays like Trinity?

    Thanks

  2. Hi Cynthia,

    I am from Alberta and I really interested in Trinity College. What is the cut off average for Trin? (I have around 92%, is that sufficient)

    I am contemplating about wether or not to complete the personal profile as you probably know is not required for out of province applicants. What is your take on this matter?

    The Trin One programs sound so intriguing but they only select 25 people per stream. Is it reasonably
    achievable?

    Lastly, do the colleges offer their acceptance only in June based on final marks, or earlier based on report card marks?

    Sorry I have so many questions because I am quite
    confused in this process. Wish I lived in Toronto
    then I could visit the colleges firsthand.

    Thank you,your prompt and favorable reply is highly appreciated! 🙂

  3. Hey, I sincerely cannot decide between Trinity College and University College. I am an international student so I really don’t have much information on the colleges (apart from the websites and google search of course :P), but I recently found an article about a society at Trinity called Episkopon which really scared me! The article mentioned harassment, racist and homophobic remarks made by students of this union towards others so I got a bit scared (I guess it is justified since I’m gay) and I wanted to ask if they are still active. Do you have any info on that issue?

  4. Hey @trinwannabe, sorry I missed your post! I didn’t see it. Hopefully everything went well!

    @Ann, Episkopon was a part of Trinity, but is no longer recognized nor endorsed. U of T doesn’t tolerate harassment, racism or homophobia.

    As a commuter student, I personally have not had any experiences, but I can tell you that the media likes to sensationalize Episkopon. If you look at the comments in the Toronto Star article, you will read real students’ perspectives on the issue and how it affects them.

    Regardless, you may want to consider getting involved with one of the many LGBTQ communities at U of T! Check out ulife.ca for more.

    Hope that gives you more info!

  5. Hi,
    So I’m from the US and i’m looking at these colleges to decide which one to apply. Trin seems cool but it also seems really religious. I’m Jewish, will that be a problem for me? Like is it a mostly orthodox catholic school? Thanks!

  6. @Rachel: Well hello! Trin is very cool, that’s for sure. In my experience, it’s not religious at all. There are aspects of its traditions that has roots in religion of course (such as the gorgeous chapel), but U of T is a non-denominational university and Trin is an extremely diverse college.

    Being Jewish will not be a problem at all, and it’s definitely not an orthodox Catholic school, so no worries there!

  7. Hi Cynthia! For the Trinity Profile Essay, the second question in which there is a picture, and we must write a creative essay/story that the pictures inspires from us….what would they be looking for, something like a fictional story, a reflection piece, something else?
    As well, would an 87-88% average be sufficient to be accepted into Trinity?
    Thanks! 🙂

  8. Hi Christine! The picture essay is really anything you want. It’s the opportunity for you to inject some personality into the application. I wrote a creative story, and my friends have done essays, reflective pieces, poems, etc.

    Minimum average for entry changes every year depending on your cohorts, so unfortunately, I really can’t say. Nonetheless, a high 80’s is an excellent mark, so congratulations!

    Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

  9. Hi!
    So I’ve applied to UFT for Life Sciences, and I would like to go to UFT but I’m debating between UFT and McGill, blah blah blah but the thing is that if I go to UFT I want to be in either Vic or Trinity but as I realized that in order to be considered for either, they must be ranked first on OUAC which is impossible considering I am not two people. The thing is, I don’t really care which one but I’m thinking that since the Vic deadline is March 9th and the Trinity one is (I think?) Feb 3rd, I could apply to the Trinity and if I don’t get in change automatically to Vic before the deadline? (Can that even work hah?)

    I’m looking for scholarships which I know I am guaranteed the President’s Entrance because my average is above a 92% and I also read in your other blog about Victoria College that they have better bursaries and scholarships to offer.

    I’m not really sure what I’m asking… I’m just really lost and confused and don’t know what to pick. Help please 🙁

    Thanks.

  10. @Sara: Hello! From what I’m reading, it sounds like you’d really like to apply to either Vic or Trin. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can choose either as a “back-up”. I don’t quite remember when I got my acceptance letter (I applied quite late), but I got my acceptance to Trinity at the same time as when I got my acceptance to U of T. Also, I’m not sure how OUAC works, but I have a feeling if you’re accepted and you didn’t get your first choice in college, it will automatically move you into your second choice, so what you’ll end up needing to do is requesting a transfer when you’re starting U of T.

    As for in-course scholarships (and requires no application), Vic guarantees $1000 if you have a 3.5 or higher. Trin doesn’t have that guarantee – the amount and the gpa you need varies by year.

    If you look at the scholarships that need application, Trin has a really two huges ones in second year (15k/yr, renewable) open to basically anyone, and Vic has more smaller ones, but they have more program requirements.

    So, in the end, which college you apply to really depends on your situation and your background.

    Nonetheless, both Vic and Trin are excellent choices, and (if you must :P) McGill is also a fantastic school. It’s scary right now because you need to decide the next four years of your life, but rest assured because you have really wonderful choices. It’s really all about finding the right fit.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  11. Hi Cynthia!

    I think it’s great that you’re writing about the colleges. Everyone seems to struggle with this decision, so I think your blog will really help!

    Choosing Uoft was so easy but I can’t seem to decide between Trinity and Victoria as well. I visited them, did some research, and ended up applying to Trinity for Political Science.

    I’ve been doubting myself though, because, as dumb as it sounds my friends and family that go to UofT say I’d be the perfect “Vic girl”. Whatever that means. I’m not one to feed into stereotypes and so I chose Trinity because the buildings are strikingly beautiful and I’m hoping for a single dorm. The marks shouldn’t be a problem.

    However being really honest I’m not a huge fan of traditions. Are gowns mandatory in the formal hall every single night? I was also wondering if you would consider Trinity a good environment for students to balance their academic endeavours with their personal athletic or artistic passions? Is it as conformist as people say? I was hoping you might be able to give some personal insight into the social life of the students as well. I hear it’s very tight knit?

    I hope the highly subjective nature of my questions aren’t a drag. I’m not sure who to ask these things and I’d appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks very much!

  12. @Eve: First of all, thank you! Since I’m a commuter student, I haven’t really experienced Trin’s res life first hand, but I have friends who have, and I asked one of them for you. She said that Trin is proud of its traditions and will celebrate it, but “in a completely nice way”.

    According to her, gowns are required for late dinners (dinner but it starts at a later time, and has a business casual dress code) and special occasions.

    I would say that Trinity is an excellent environment for students to balance their academic endeavours with their passions. But I’d add that Vic and the other colleges also offer similar environment that supports you to be who you are and want to be.

    Trinity admits less students than some of the other colleges so I would say that you get to know your college mates more easily, and therefore, become a tight-knit community.

    Again, I’m a non-resident commuter, so my insight into the social life is limited to the people I know.

    Best of luck to you, and let me know what you decide! I don’t know what a “Vic girl” would be like, but my friends from Vic all love their college too, so I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice!

  13. Hi, I hope you’re still doing this because I am VERY confused. I am having some trouble choosing between Victoria and Trinity, maybe you can help me?
    I can’t visit the colleges myself because I am and international student and I am right in the middle of exams right now…
    How hard is it to get into them? (What is the percentage acceptance etc) and what percentage of the people are international students in each college?
    Also, choosing a second/ third choice (in case I don’t get in) seems like a bit of a problem, but your posts and links are really helping so thank you for that.
    Last question, in the event that I didn’t get in, would I later be able to transfer to that college, or would that be it for me? (And how hard is it to transfer and when would I be able to do that, if I decided that the college I chose didn’t really fit…)
    Thank you!!

  14. @Natalie: Thanks for your message! Let me try and help as much as I can:

    – both Eve and Sara had similar concerns regarding Victoria College and Trinity College, so you may want to read my comments on that;

    – I don’t have the information on the ratio of international students to local, nor the percentage acceptance, but I do know that it changes every year depending on your cohort.

    – if you don’t get into your first choice, you will get into your second choice, and third, fourth, etc. If you are accepted to U of T, you will definitely be accepted into a college! So no worries about that.

    – if you want to transfer colleges, I have more information at the bottom of my post here: http://blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca/UpbeaT/2009/10/27/colleges/

    Good luck on your exams!

  15. Hey Cynthia I’m hoping you can help me out.. I’m a junior that goes to an American high school…I’m conflicted between applying to Trinity or Innus as my first choice. I was wondering what are my chances into getting admitted to Trinity College with a 3.6 GPA..Or will I have a higher chance of getting into Innus College? Those are my two top choices for now.
    Besides the GPA I do 3 sports swimming, cross country, and spring track.. I’m part of varsity club and FBLA…Does participating in these clubs make my chances higher into getting admitted to both colleges?

    Another thing is if I get rejected what happens? Does my 2nd choice come into the picture automatically what can I do?

    Sorry for asking a lot but what is the acceptance rate of American students in both colleges?

    Thank you!! 🙂

  16. @Liz: With your marks and extracurricular activities, I honestly think you’d be a strong contender for both Innis and Trinity.

    Extracurricular activities matter more to Trinity because it’s taken into consideration when you submit your supplemental document, whereas Innis doesn’t require a separate application.

    Nonetheless, being well-balanced as a student is beneficial regardless of the college choice you make!

    If your first choice rejects you, then your second choice (that isn’t one of the colleges that requires you to choose them as your first choice) comes into play automatically. So let’s say you had Victoria College as your first choice, with Innis and Trin as your second and third. If you don’t get into Victoria, you won’t be considered for either Innis or Trin because they require that you put them first.

    To be honest, I have no idea the acceptance rate of American (i.e., International students) in either colleges. It would probably be different every year. If you want to find out, giving the Registrar a call may be a good idea. However, I think in regards to getting in to your preferred college, it’s less important knowing the numbers and more important to keep doing the best you can at school and your extracurriculars.

    Hope that helps, and keep me updated!

  17. hi my name’s vishwak and I got accepted into trinity college at U of T for life sciences. I applie for a double room in the trinity residence but i haven’t been able to find room layouts or pictures of the rooms anywhere . I was wondering if you could suggest any links where i could find the layout or something?
    thanks 🙂

  18. Hi there!

    I’m a BC high school student, I’ve just submitted my application to UofT for trin, but I’m already starting to doubt my choice. First, my marks aren’t stellar, I believe my average of 5 academic courses was 88%, but I am REALLY interested in the traditions Trin offers! Do admissions sometimes make exceptions for less than perfect marks if the My problem is that if I don’t get in to Trin, I really want to be in UC. Do you know if UC is one of the colleges that requires they be your first choice? I think what I’m basically asking is whether or not I should give up on Trin so that I’ll definitely get into my #2.

    Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

  19. Sorry, forgot to finish my sentence. I meant to ask if Admissions sometimes makes exceptions for less than perfect marks if the personal application is really exceptional.

  20. @natasha Don’t give up on Trinity just yet! See what happens and if you really do not like the life at the college you have been designated–then you can switch to another college for 2nd year. I am pretty sure that you cannot change your college choices after you have applied…you can try to email the registrar of your desired college and explain to them the situation–considering you have already spoken with Admissions. And if you do not get into Trinity, then UC does not require that you list them as your first choice in order to get accepted. So you still have a chance of getting into UC and Trin! 🙂 Best of luck!!!! 😀

  21. Hi there!

    I am an international student currently studying the IB. As of now im predicted a 38 (without core) and i have been searching the conversion from IB to OSSD averages, but everything i find is given as a range. I would like to ask if you know what kind of OSSD average i am right now? (7,7,6 HL: and 7,6,5 SL). Also, because of the range of percentages (i.e a 7 is 96-100%), does that mean that a 7 at higher level would convert to a higher % than standard level? sorry im kind of confused because ive read that my IB score would be converted to an OSSD average before my application is looked at, so I am wondering what my average is-I know that cut-off for trinity is quite high 🙁

  22. Hey, I’ve been reading all of your posts about the colleges and I’m finding them very informative. I’m aiming for a 95% average, so I should be fine to get into Trin, but I’m interested in what the party life is like? It was good to hear about some students’ feedback about Innis being very proper and calm, and now I want to hear more about that from the other colleges. Of course I want to keep my academics up as well, but is Trin a good place to go if one would want to party and socialize too? Could you give some insight on the same question about Victoria as well? It’s something that you can’t really ask an admissions person, so I’d like to ask a student who’s actually experienced it.

  23. I just can’t seem to decide whether to choose vic, trinity, or innis as my first choice! I’m probs making a big deal out of it but arghhh it’s just so frustrating! I am going to be studying at Rotman (hopefully) and I will be commuting to the university through the subway or something… idk what college best suites a business commuter student…! Please advise me if you can 🙂

  24. Hi there! I don’t know if these posts are being replied to anymore, but oh well what the heck! 🙂 I was wondering if not getting into a program for Early Acceptance can hinder one’s chance of getting into Trin since they only accept a certain number of people each year. Because in my case, I should be getting a 95% average by midterms of second semester but the next batch of acceptances for my program of choice are sent out towards the end of May. I have this mini phobia that Trin would have accepted their maximum number of people by the time I get into my program. Am I being reasonably paranoid or am I just irrationally so? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Jade,

      Trin student here! You may have already heard from the University since you posted this comment, but I thought I’d reply in case you haven’t or anyone has a similar question.

      To the best of my knowledge, Trin does not accept all of their students in the Early Acceptance stage (my evidence being that a number of people I know from residence and events around the college were not in the first batch of admissions). If you want a definite answer on this, the best course of action is to contact the registrar (registrar@trinity.utoronto.ca or 416-978-2687).

      As long as you ranked Trinity first when applying to U of T, you sound like a competitive applicant grades-wise.

      However, grades aren’t everything for Trin. A lot of weight is placed on the Admissions Profile that you would have filled out already (if you’re a student coming from Ontario) – answering questions about your involvement and writing something based on a picture prompt.

      Best of luck!

      -Elena

  25. Hello.I am an international student who have chosen Trinity as my 1st choice. And I find it difficult to write the Trinity student profile.I actually do not get what to write and how,in which style,or way I should write it? Moreover, where can I get the list of all the club activities in Trinity College??

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon

    Thanx a lot 🙂

    1. Hey Solongo –

      I’m glad you’ve chosen U of T! If you have any specific questions about the Trinity study profile, you should email or call someone at the Trinity Registrar’s Office – http://www.trinity.utoronto.ca/student-services/offices/registrars-office.html They deal with all the incoming applications, and help out current students, so they’ll be able to give you the best answer.

      As for club activities, you can check out all the clubs at U of T on the UTSU website at http://utsu.ca/find-a-club/.

      Good luck with your application!
      – Michael

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