The University of Toronto is one of the most attractive options for both Canadians and international students who are eager to succeed in their careers.
With almost 200 years of existence, three incredible campuses, and ten Nobel Laureates, there is no doubt that its reputation is on par with the most prestigious institutions in the world.
And here is where one of the most important questions comes into play: Is the University of Toronto hard to get into? Well, let me give you the short and simple answer:
As long as your high school average is above 90%, UofT won’t be so hard to get into. However, there is evidence that the acceptance rate went down in recent years. Besides, the entering average has risen above 93% for some programs. So a good extracurricular profile can improve your odds of acceptance.
There are many factors that determine how hard or easy it is to get into UofT. The university is diverse, and its difficulty of acceptance varies depending on the program you’re applying to. Therefore, it is important to be informed in order to improve your chance of success.
In the first section of this article, we are going to analyze the acceptance rate at the University of Toronto, and how it has changed over the years. That way, you will get a better understanding of what to expect once you have applied.
At the time of this writing, people are still struggling to find any acceptance rate information on the official UofT’s website. Lucky for you, after digging a little bit deeper, I found lots of useful data that will shed some light on this subject.
The information comes from the University of Toronto’s website. For that reason, you can be sure it is legit and reliable.
So let’s dive right in!
UofT Acceptance Rate.
According to the Institutional Data Hub, the UofT acceptance rate for the 2017-2018 cycle was 45.2%. Nonetheless, historical data shows that the number of applications is growing steadily over time, causing the acceptance rate to decline as the years go by.
The following graph clearly shows this behavior:
As you can see, the acceptance rate was 58.9% in 2009. But eight years later, it decreased to 45.2%. In other words, it declined by over 13 points in less than a decade.
Below is the number of applicants, as well as the total offers during the same period:
|2017 – 2018||47,076||21,280|
|2016 – 2017||47,354||21,344|
|2015 – 2016||44,789||23,283|
|2014 – 2015||45,002||22,414|
|2013 – 2014||43,363||20,882|
|2012 – 2013||41,224||20,333|
|2011 – 2012||38,671||20,126|
|2010 – 2011||37,217||18,262|
|2009 – 2010||35,155||20,964|
Notice that the number of applications has increased over the years, hitting its maximum in the 2016 – 2017 period. However, the number of given offers didn’t grow significantly. In other words, more students are competing for the same spots as time goes by.
While the number of applicants grew by over 33.9% in 8 years, going from 35155 to 47076, the offers had an increase of only 2.83%.
Knowing the overall acceptance rate and its trend is useful, but it doesn’t show you the whole picture. We can get in more detail if we analyze it by faculty or campus, as shown in the following table:
|Faculty / Campus||Acceptance Rate|
|Arts & Science||52.6%|
|Applied Science and Engineering||32.1%|
As you can see, not all faculties are equally hard to get into. Actually, you can tell that the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses have a higher acceptance rate than the Faculty of Arts and Science in St. George. This totally makes sense, as the main campus always receives more applicants.
On the other hand, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering is the most competitive on this list. In fact, the acceptance rate at this faculty fell from 44.7% in 2010 to 25.4% in 2018. However, it rebounded to 32.1% in 2019.
Even though the satellite campuses have a higher acceptance rate, that doesn’t mean you can be reckless. Some programs may be harder to get into. In fact, many of these programs will only officially accept you after completing your first year. But this is a topic that we’ll cover in the 5th section of this article.
By showing you these numbers, I want you to be aware that the process is getting tougher, and you need to stand out in order to get into the University of Toronto.
In the next part of the post, we’ll take a look at one of the most important factors that they take into account when accepting new students. So keep reading because this will be paramount.
In this section, we will analyze the entrance average of the three campuses. If you understand the behavior of this variable, you can project the expected average that you’ll need in order to improve your chances of getting accepted.
As you might expect, getting high marks in 11th and 12th grade is especially important if you want to get into UofT. The entrance averages for the last year are shown in the table below:
|Faculty / Campus||Entering average*|
|Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering||93.3%|
|Faculty of Arts and Science||89.8%|
|University of Toronto Scarborough||86.0%|
|University of Toronto Mississauga||85.1%|
Although many students get accepted with an average in the mid-80s, it is also true that every year you need higher marks. In fact, there is actual evidence to support this.
Data from Enrolment Services reveals a consistent growth in entering averages since 2010. Below is the graph with the numbers:
- The Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering had the most significant increase in its entering average, going from 89.1% in 2010 to 93.3% in 2019. Its highest value was 93.6% in 2018. However, it could hit a new maximum above 94% in the next years.
- The Faculty of Arts and Science has risen from 87% in 2010 to 89.8% in 2019. However, it registered its highest value in 2017 and 2018, when it climbed to 90.1%. So it is projected that it will be above 90% in the near future.
- The University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) also had an important increase; its average grew by 4 points, rising from 82% in 2010 to 86% in 2019.
- And last but not least, the Mississauga Campus (UTM) is getting tougher as well. The entering average at this campus went from 81.4% in 2010 to 85.1% in 2019.
We can get a lot of valuable information just from this graph. As you can see, entering averages continue to grow across all campuses. What was a competitive average in the past, may not be competitive nowadays.
For instance, there was a period when both UTM and UTSC plateaued around 82% with slight fluctuations. Nonetheless, they both reached their new maxima above 85% in 2019. That 82% mark is far behind the new entering averages.
It is important to point out that the Admissions Committee will analyze your grades with special emphasis on the ones that are relevant to your program. For instance, engineering applicants are required to have good results in maths, chemistry, and physics courses.
Keep in mind that the university is quite diverse, and the purpose of this post is to give you a general overview. Admission requirements may vary depending on the faculty, the program, and even your high school of origin.
If you need specific information on how to apply or which courses you need to take, head over to the University of Toronto’s website. In the following link, you’ll find a list of all undergraduate programs, so you can select the one you are interested in:
Why It’s Getting Harder to Be Accepted.
So far, you’ve learned that the admission requirements tend to get tougher over time. But, why does this happen? The answer is not that simple, as it is a combination of different factors. But in this section we’ll cover a few of them, so you can have a better perspective.
As a matter of fact, international applicants have been increasing substantially over the years. When you apply to the University of Toronto, you’re not competing just against domestic students. UofT is attracting talent from all over the world, and there are many reasons for that to happen.
Firstly, the University’s reputation is crossing borders. According to QS Rankings, the University of Toronto is ranked 25th among the top institutions in the world. In fact, it climbed 11 positions compared to 2016.
Secondly, Canada is one of the best countries to live in. With a Human Development Index of 0.922, the quality of life in this nation is really enticing for students from developing countries like China or India.
Thirdly, American students often get a better bang for their buck by studying in Canada. Although the University of Toronto doesn’t rank as high as Harvard, it does perform better than some of the best American universities. For instance, Duke, Brown, and Cornell University are ranking below UofT in 2020, according to US News.
As a consequence, there are lots of high-level students from all over the world willing to compete for a place. And because they commonly had an outstanding performance in their countries of origin, they turn into a driving force that makes the process more competitive.
In the following chart, you can see how international enrollment has increased over the years.
International enrolment by region is presented in the following table:
|Region||Number of Students|
|Asia and Pacific||18,300|
|Caribbean & Latin America||909|
When it comes to gender balance, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering has made significant progress in the last decade.
As our society becomes more inclusive, women keep gaining important spaces in professions that were once reserved for men. And it is a fact that more women are applying to engineering programs.
In 2011, only 23.2% of the first-year engineering students were women. But now that proportion is above 42%.
Did this phenomenon make the admission process more competitive? It probably did. Women are just as intelligent as men. So, regardless of their gender, their contribution has an effect on the entrance average.
Although there are different variables that can impact the average, this one is interesting in particular.
The University of Toronto publishes an enrolment report on a yearly basis. According to this document, some Faculties are planning to increase full-time enrollment by a small percentage in the near future. However, this is way below the applications growth rate.
The main campus at St. George will be increasing enrollment by approximately 2.9% by 2024-25. Unfortunately, this percentage is so small that we can assume that offers will remain constant within the next years, while applications will increase consistently.
Tips for Getting Accepted.
Now that you know how competitive UofT is, it’s time to start preparing your strategy. So in this section, we’ll cover some of the basic things you need to take into account to get that letter of acceptance.
You need to focus on those courses that your program requires you to take. If you don’t know which they are, follow these steps:
- Head over to https://future.utoronto.ca/academics/undergraduate-programs/
- Click on your desired program.
- Go to Academic Requirements.
There you will find the requirements for Ontario applicants. But you can also find the equivalent requirements by clicking the links they provide at the bottom.
Extracurricular activities are paramount for any applicant and for some reason, people usually overlook them. These activities are classified as follows:
- Academic enrichment program.
- Community involvement and volunteering.
- Student Government/Groups.
- Other activities.
Why are they so important? You may ask. Because the university staff want to know who you are outside the campus. But more importantly, they want to identify leadership skills. That’s what you need to keep in mind.
For instance, if you joined a fencing club, don’t just say “I practiced fencing”. Instead, think about how that sport helped you forge your character, what impact you made in your community, and how you’ve been an influence on your colleagues.
Remember the word leadership while you’re filling out your extracurricular profile.
If your average is already high (greater than or equal to 93%), extracurriculars are still important. But if your marks are a bit lower (in the mid-80s), this could give you the special boost you need to finally stand out and catch up with the brilliant students. So spend some time preparing this section.
Preparing for Your Video Interview (If Applicable).
This is a special piece of advice for engineering applicants. However, you may want to check it out as well. We never know if these requirements will be eventually extended to other faculties.
If you plan to study at the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, chances are you already know there are video questions that form part of your personal profile. Although this can seem very daunting for some students, it’s not as bad as people think. The interview is not an exam; you won’t be asked to solve for x, and you won’t have to prove any complex theorems. So don’t worry.
The first question is related to your personality and the reasons why you’re applying to UofT. You’ll have 2 minutes to record your answer.
The second question doesn’t have a video component. In this part, you’ll be required to write a 250-word essay about a challenging situation that you faced and how you solved it. You have 10 minutes to write your response.
Finally, the third question is about your problem-solving skills. In this part, they will provide you with some data and ask you to approach a problem with the information provided. They’ll give you 3 minutes to prepare, and 3 minutes to record your response.
Example question: In a town of 3000 people, how many gas stations do you need?
But don’t freak out! There is no right answer to this question. In fact, what they want to evaluate is your thinking process, and how you come up with an answer. Did you think creatively? That’s the kind of stuff they’re looking for.
You can also take a practice interview before completing the actual questions. So practice until you feel confident.
And last but not least, make sure that everything is up and running before you practice. Test your cam, your microphone, and your internet connection. You don’t want to run into any technical issue at the last moment.
Applying to Your Program Of Study (Arts & Science, UTM, and UTSC).
This is especially important if you are applying to the Faculty of Arts and Science, or to the satellite campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough.
In a nutshell, once you are in first year, you’ll be put into a stream of study. But in order to be officially into your program of choice, you have to be accepted to your Program Of Study (POSt) in second year.
Many of these POSTs are quite competitive. So you need to keep good marks in first year if you want to succeed in the process.
Even if the acceptance rate at your faculty is high, this may not be the case for your Program Of Study. So keep a good head on your shoulders.
Types of POSts at UofT.
There are three types of Programs Of Study:
- Type 1. Open to everyone. This is the easiest one to get into, as you don’t need to meet any special requirements in addition to completing 4.0 credits.
- Type 2. Entry requirements. As its name says, there are some prerequisites you need to fulfill.
- Type 3. Entry requirements and limited space. This is the most competitive type of POSt. In this case, besides the special prerequisites, the number of spots is constrained to a certain number of students.
How Do I Know If This Is Applicable to Me?
You need to be well informed beforehand. There are many students that get into the first year stream thinking they are already into their program, just to finally realize they need to meet additional requirements. So if you don’t want to be one of them, follow these simple recommendations:
- Enter the Programs Directory.
- Take a look at the admission section of your program to see if there are any requirements you need to meet after year 1.
- If the information is not clear, you can always reach out to the corresponding department and ask if your POSt is limited or open to everyone.
For example, let’s say you are interested in studying Actuarial Science. So you accessed the Programs Directory, clicked on your program, and found these requirements:
As you can see, the example above corresponds to a limited program, which means that you have to meet special requirements in order to enroll. Notice that they even specify the minimum grades you have to achieve in your first-year courses.
Note for Computer Science Applicants (St. George).
UPDATE 2020. If you want to apply to Computer Science in St. George, there is good news for you. As of 2020, the University of Toronto announced changes in order to guarantee acceptance for students entering the CS Admission Category. You can check out this link for more information.
- UofT is one of the best options to study, not only in Canada but in the world.
- Because of its quality and reputation, every year more applicants are competing for an offer.
- As a consequence, the acceptance rate has decreased, while entering averages keep going up.
- The acceptance rate is not the same for all faculties.
- To be a competitive candidate, you’ll need a good high school average, with special emphasis on those subjects that are required for your program.
- Extracurricular activities are really important. Therefore, you need to fill out your extracurricular profile carefully.
- If you’re applying to an engineering program, you’ll have to complete a personal profile, which includes video questions.
- The acceptance rate is not so low at the Faculty of Arts & Science and the satellite campuses, but your Program Of Study (POSt) might be quite competitive to get into.
I have seen many websites out there where they tell you that since the overall acceptance rate is above 40%, you don’t need to work any hard to be accepted. And that is the worst advice you’ll ever get!
While it is true that the University of Toronto is not as competitive as other high-tier institutions like Stanford or Cambridge, don’t let other people trick you into thinking that the process is effortless. Self-confidence is good, but being overconfident is something that could easily mess up your plans.
Remember that acceptance rates substantially vary between programs and campuses. So do your best effort and stand out from the crowd. That is the attitude that will make you succeed in your career.
If you made it to this point, it means you’re truly interested in being accepted to one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Good job!
I hope this analysis was helpful, and of course, I wish you get accepted soon.