Colby vs Conn vs University of Toronto vs Kenyon

Hey guys so out of all my admitted schools I narrowed my list down to these 4 schools (I want to major in International Relations/Economics and hope to either become a lawyer or journalist one day).

Since I am out of the country I cannot visit any of these schools, however, after interviews and doing some research I feel like I love the vibe at Conn and after talking to a few prospective students I clicked with the students at Conn the most. University of Toronto has the best location and most prestige but I am just afraid I won’t have a college life since it seems to be a commuter campus.

I love partying but not too much, I am out-going but not an athlete nor preppy/high income and am a POC.

I know UofT has the most prestige but what are the other college’s prestige like, and are they all in the same par when it comes to being well known? (I know it shouldn’t be a major factor but I am just curious). Will all of these schools give me an equal edge when it comes to finding a job/going to law school?

If you’ve been to any of these campus or have any experience with these college - literally any info would help! Just the general vibe of the campus or student body would really help as well :slight_smile:

My financials will not differ that much between these colleges.

Thank you so much!

Conn = UConn? Conn College? Won’t comment till I know.

Both Kenyon and Colby are vg schools, and will not hold you back in anyway. Toronto, obviously, is in another country, so you might want to factor that in to your post grad job opportunity prospects, as the immigration policies between the two countries are not the same.

Toronto is a very big school right in the middle of a large city. World class sports, Theatre, Music, dining is only a short subway ride away, or sometimes a short walk. You basically couldn’t get any more different than Kenyon and Colby. Toronto is extremely diverse. They have large Chinese, Jamaican, Indian populations, among others. The food, especially the Asian food, is very good. The transportation is also good, with subways, streetcars, and buses serving large swathes of the city and surrounding area.

Toronto is highly ranked as a school, but part of that is just because of the sheer size of the faculty. Many of the rankings skew towards bigger schools, and those that have graduate schools. Having said that, it can be very good...the law school is considered to be Canada's best, I believe, and most departments are very good. Having said all that, do not go there if you are an overly sensitive person that can not fend for yourself. Toronto, like most of the top Canadian schools, has  very stiff grading. Students who are used to getting A's will find themselves struggling to pass some subjects. Class sizes, especially in the first two years, can be large, and the teaching impersonal. You will be expected to find lodging for yourself after the first year, in an expensive city. It can be a real grind. Basically, expect to get treated as an adult. It can be very hard, but there are rewards if you make it through. There are countless concerts, organizations, meetings, and opportunities just on the campus itself, let alone the surrounding city. If you are the type to advocate for yourself it can be a wonderful experience to explore these things. Decades ago U or T was know as the "establishment" school, as was basically filled with White men. That has changed drastically. It now, like most colleges, has a majority female population, and has an exceptionally diverse student population that skews Asian, but has just about any ethnicity that you can imagine.

BTW are you accepted into the downtown campus, or one of the satellite campuses? The latter are considered more “commuter” campuses, and have a lesser reputation.

I will not comment any more about the other schools because I don’t know them well. Hopefully others will chime in.

Thank you so much for your reply that was helpful and you are right UofT is in an amazing city.
For UofT I was accepted to the downtown campus and by Conn I mean Connecticut College in New London, CT!

What’s the difference in money? Where do you intend to live when you finish college? Will you definitely go to grad school? If you study law, you need to be in the country you will live in.

If you like the vibe of Conn and it’s affordable, I see no reason why you shouldn’t deposit there. You will get a fine education. Comparing it to U Toronto is like apples and kumquats. I think you need to decide what’s important to you. Urban or suburban? Smaller classes with more interaction, or larger and more impersonal classes? You will probably be more self-directed at Toronto. It really is a case of you deciding which environment you want to be in.

Meanwhile, just eliminate Kenyon and Colby if you aren’t as interested. Just say nope, not going there. You can only attend one.

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My daughter is a freshman at Kenyon and loves it. I don’t have any first-hand experience with the other LACs on your list (but I know that both are very good), and, as others have said, U of T is a completely different everything. Feel free to pm me if you’d like more info on Kenyon.

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To begin with, U Toronto is a large research university, while Colby, Kenyon, and CC are liberal arts colleges.

All three liberal arts colleges have excellent reputations in the USA, and are all considered to be pretty prestigious, but may be less well known outside the USA.

The big difference is in the “experience”. U of T is, as I wrote, a large research university with 44,000 undergrads, and 19,000 grad students. On the other hand, Connecticut College has fewer than 1,900 students and no grad students, and the other two colleges are similar is size.

Research universities have missions that are split between research and teaching, with teaching including both undergraduate teaching, and training for graduates students. A liberal arts college focusses primarily and often solely on undergraduate teaching.

Research Universities teach “liberal arts”, which includes humanities, sciences, and math, as well as engineering, natural resources (Ag, forestry, etc), professional studies, etc, while most liberal arts colleges, as their name implies, focus on the liberal arts (with some exceptions).

What this all means is that a liberal arts college will provide you with small classes taught by faculty, a much more personalized education, a strong emphasis on a wider range of classes, regardless of major, and research which is geared towards undergraduates. they also usually have an emphasis on learning how to write well (there are many writing intensive courses in the required courses).

A research university will allow more independence, have less interaction with faculty, but have interaction with graduate students have much larger classes, have a wide range of majors, but have classes which are more focused on topics related to the major. They also have a large number of active research labs in which undergrads can often participate.

Social life at LACs is closer and often more intimate, but can be claustrophobic. AT large universities, there are a larger set of people with which to interact, but it can be difficult for some people to make friends and find a social group.

So you first have to decide whether you prefer a research university or a LAC. if you prefer a university, then your decision is made.

If not, you have to decide which of those three LACs is a better fit. Fit is far more important at a LAC than at a large research university.

PS. My kid is attending a liberal arts college, but I have only attended and taught at large research universities,

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Based on the information about you shared in this thread, the University of Toronto is likely to be the most comfortable experience.

As noted above by another poster, fit is important at LACs.

I live not too far from Conn College. I’ve been to Colby & know Maine quite well. I’ve never been to UT or Kenyon.

I can’t put myself in your shoes as a POC, but I will offer this observation. None of these 3 small colleges are very diverse, but in the small city of New London where Conn College is located, you will find people who look like you if you move about in the surrounding community. This is not the case in the small towns of Waterville, ME or Gambier, OH where the other two are located. In fairness to Kenyon, they probably have the most students on campus from underrepresented minorities.

Conn College is a pretty campus sitting on a rise that overlooks the Thames River, a deep water harbor. The US Guard Academy is literally right across the street, increasing the number of college students to about 3000 in the two schools combined. They build submarines on the Thames River at Electric Boat. New London is on Long Island Sound, so you have access to the Connecticut shore, and Rhode Island ocean beaches are just 3 towns away, about a half hour drive.

There’s not really a lot to do in New London, but a 15 minute drive or half hour bus ride away is Mohegan Sun Casino. I’m not encouraging gambling, but the casino has a number of good restaurants, concerts (some free), and the Big East women’s basketball tournament each year. It is also home to the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA. In addition to the casino, the area is a boating and tourist mecca centered in nearby historic Mystic, CT, Noank, CT, & Stonington, CT, all with fine restaurants in their seaside villages. There are also a number of small historic museums and the Pequot Museum of Native American culture. There is live theater in the summer but not during the academic year.

New London is a transportation crossroads where Amtrak trains intersect with the New London waterfront from which you can take a ferry to New York’s Long Island any time of day or night or smaller ferries to the nearer coastal beaches at Block Island and Fishers Island. Amtrak trains will get you to New Haven (Yale) and Providence, RI (Brown) and beyond to Boston & New v York City.

Good luck with your decision.


Note that for law school UTs grade deflation will be a problem because they won’t care that a 3.0 from UT is quite good.

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In my opinion, concern about a U of Toronto uGPA for law school is unwarranted.

Lots of Toronto students are admitted to law schools every year.

In OP’s situation, it would be better to earn a JD degree in Canada & an LLM law degree in the US.

P.S. Canadian law schools use a different formula for calculating one’s undergraduate GPA than that used for US law schools.

Also can enroll in a 4 year program & earn both US & Canadian law degrees.

Yes, but what if he wants to apply to US law schools after completing his U of T undergrad? Schools like McGill and U of T are a known and respected commodity south of the border, but I’m not sure how much they they take into account the harsher grading practices in Canada at the top schools.

OP, it’s not like it’s impossible to get great grades at U of T, just that you need to be a little street smart, and a little lucky, or just smart as hell.

BTW, I am not in Law, so i could be talking out of my butt here. Do have an idea about Medicine, which has some similarities, though I believe it is a much more transferable skill than Law.

Too many factors to consider that are not yet known.

If OP can qualify for the lowest tuition at Canadian law schools, then Canadian law school plus a one year LLM degree from a US school will be less costly.

High LSAT score is good for US law schools, but not as important for Canadian law schools.

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I am Canadian. I never studied at U of T but I know there is a lot of talk among the parents about the large-size class at U of T. These enormous first-year classes limit opportunities to interact with the professor and ask questions. Also it has a large Commuter Population. I also heard grade deflation is common. For these reasons, I asked my child not to apply to U of T.


If the OP is not a US citizen, then attending college in the US instead of Canada may be a mistake if OP prefers to work in North America.

thank you all for your response :slight_smile: i am not Canadian nor American, but hope to live in the US in the future if that is possible.

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That was my understanding. Unfortunately, it is much easier to earn the privilege to live & work in Canada than in the US–especially since you will not be a STEM major.

If you attend the University of Toronto, it is easy to be able to remain to work in Canada. Also, Canadian Law schools are much lower cost than US law schools.

Earn a law degree in Canada = 3 years after 3 or 4 years of undergraduate study.
Then do a 10 month LLM program at a US law school in order to be eligible to sit for state bar exams in about 5 different US states including New York state & California, but remaining in the US will be difficult.

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Totally agree. If OP wants to stay in Canada, U of T should be the best choice. We have friendly immigration policy.

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thank you guys - i was thinking of giving the US a shot (try to find a job after undergrad), and if it doesn’t work out i could apply to canadian grad schools and move there - is this a good idea?

I agree, if OP plans to apply to Canadian law schools then there’ll be no issue.

@lalaalaaand : you can’t just hang around and look for a job in the US after you graduate college. There’s something called OPT but you need to have a job offer by the time you graduate. Then it’s 12-month long except for STEM (2 1/2 years). OPT outside of STEM is not a given, so if you go to a US college you may be forced to return to your country and apply to Law school from there.
If you’re not an American citizen, your best option as Publisher said is UToronto, then a Canadian Law School. :slight_smile:

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The New York and Massachusetts bars do not require an LLM in order to take the bar exam if they have a Canadian common law degree.