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MollyBloom

Introduction to Massey College (Questions Welcome)

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Hello LawStudents.ca

 

You don't know me, but I've silently benefited from this site over the years (especially around exam times, when procrastination is needful) and I feel like I should give something back.  I've noticed that questions about Massey College tend to go begging here, and that's a shame.  Massey really is a unique place that can make your years at U of T law school very different from what they otherwise would be.  I think I can safely say that most people who've lived at Massey and been part of the community can probably not imagine their time at U of T without the college.  I'm not saying it's for everyone.  Far from it.  But it's much more than a place to live, and anyone applying there should know that.

 

You can learn a lot about Massey online.  I'd suggest reading the college website and the wiki is also pretty good.

 

http://www.masseycollege.ca/

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massey_College,_Toronto

 

Probably the most important things you won't learn immediately from these sites are as follows.  Massey admits approx 60 resident "junior fellows" (students, at U of T) each year, and around 70 additional non-resident junior fellows.  Residents, obviously, live at the college while non-residents do not.  Fees can be checked online - I'm not sure what they are currently.  To live there it's relatively expensive, but you get a (small) private room and your own study.  Shared bathroom on the hall.  Meal plan that's pretty good.  I'd call it an investment in living a certain way in school, but worth it.  Bursaries available for those in need.  Non-resident fees are relatively nominal (few hundred for the year?) and allow students not living at the college to participate fully in Massey life. 

 

Important note.  If you live at Massey you will probably, in a natural way, find yourself a full part of the community.  If you don't live there, it's very easy to just pay your fees and not get much out of it.  Non-resident junior fellowship takes, if anything, more careful thought than resident junior fellowship for this reason.

 

Massey admits students from every graduate and professional program at U of T.  That's professional programs that come after undergraduate degrees - second entry.  It strives for a mix.  Many students cite this as Massey's most attractive feature.  Whether you're doing a PhD in math or pursuing your medical degree or in law school, one does tend to get sick of being surrounded only by other people doing the same.  As a community, Massey is a break for everyone.  Your dinner conversation is much more likely to be about someone's research surrounding the culture of "found" food (meaning harvested in nature) than it is about the latest Supreme Court decision.  That's just one example, of course.

 

Approximately 4-6 junior fellows each year (estimate, not guaranteed) are from the law school.  I find it's a good number, especially if you join during first year.  It gives you a few natural friends in first year and people you know.  Massey can also be too much of a good thing in this regard.  For many people at Massey, the college itself becomes more of a natural social hub than the program, in this case law school.  Admission for law students tends to be fairly competitive.  There are more applications than there are spots.

 

You can live in residence at the college for up to three years.  Convenient for law students, save those in four year combined programs.  PhD students tend to be forced to go non-resident by the time they are done.  It's just to spread around the experience of living there.

 

I should mention some of the social advantages of being part of the Massey community.  I'll sound like a snob as I write this, unavoidably, and I'm sorry.  Just about any important speaker or guest of the university generally has a reception after the event at Massey.  It's the natural place to go.  Some of the university's most prominent scholars have their offices in the college (rooms literally down the hall from where you live) and every year there's a cohort of mid-career journalists at the college also.  There are social events throughout the year, mentorship opportunities, you name it.  A significant number of prominent jurists and lawyers are affiliated with the college through the "Quadrangle Society" (too complicated to explain) and yes, that can matter.  Suffice it to say you can meet literally anyone at the college and that's essentially accurate.  When the King and Queen of Sweden show up to judge the annual pumpkin carving contest (true story) that should give you some idea. 

 

It would be very easy from the outside to get the sense that Massey is in some sense a snobbish or elite institution.  The gowns at dinner don't help that impression.  If it were populated entirely by law students that would probably become true.  But remember that law students are only a small portion of the whole.  Most junior fellows are pursuing academic degrees, and almost everyone at the college is some combination of quirky, laid-back, intellectual, desperately in need of distraction from their work, and wonderfully glad to be living at a college filled with people unlike themselves.

 

I didn't mean to write so much, but I could probably write for pages more and still not capture the essence of Massey college.  It's wonderful in large part because it's small enough to be a real community.  When you live there, you really do get to know everyone.  It's so much more than just a residence.  And while we've had the occasional person over the years who didn't know what they'd applied to and then they turned out to love it, I'd really recommend that anyone applying to the college should know what they are in for.

 

I'll gladly take questions, but if anyone wishes to reply I'd suggest you send me a private message also so I get some notice.  I don't come here often. 

 

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Sounds like a great place to live. I have been thinking about applying to Massey for some time but I have a few questions:

 

- I see that you have to reapply every year. If you get in for 1L, is the reapplication process just a formality or do people not get their fellowship renewed?

- I would expect to be out of residence during dinner time quite often, doing other things. Is there a "to-go" option for the food? It would be a waste to pay for all the meals and not be able to eat them.

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Hello LawStudents.ca

 

You don't know me, but I've silently benefited from this site over the years (especially around exam times, when procrastination is needful) and I feel like I should give something back.  I've noticed that questions about Massey College tend to go begging here, and that's a shame.  Massey really is a unique place that can make your years at U of T law school very different from what they otherwise would be.  I think I can safely say that most people who've lived at Massey and been part of the community can probably not imagine their time at U of T without the college.  I'm not saying it's for everyone.  Far from it.  But it's much more than a place to live, and anyone applying there should know that.

 

You can learn a lot about Massey online.  I'd suggest reading the college website and the wiki is also pretty good.

 

http://www.masseycollege.ca/

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massey_College,_Toronto

 

Probably the most important things you won't learn immediately from these sites are as follows.  Massey admits approx 60 resident "junior fellows" (students, at U of T) each year, and around 70 additional non-resident junior fellows.  Residents, obviously, live at the college while non-residents do not.  Fees can be checked online - I'm not sure what they are currently.  To live there it's relatively expensive, but you get a (small) private room and your own study.  Shared bathroom on the hall.  Meal plan that's pretty good.  I'd call it an investment in living a certain way in school, but worth it.  Bursaries available for those in need.  Non-resident fees are relatively nominal (few hundred for the year?) and allow students not living at the college to participate fully in Massey life. 

 

Important note.  If you live at Massey you will probably, in a natural way, find yourself a full part of the community.  If you don't live there, it's very easy to just pay your fees and not get much out of it.  Non-resident junior fellowship takes, if anything, more careful thought than resident junior fellowship for this reason.

 

Massey admits students from every graduate and professional program at U of T.  That's professional programs that come after undergraduate degrees - second entry.  It strives for a mix.  Many students cite this as Massey's most attractive feature.  Whether you're doing a PhD in math or pursuing your medical degree or in law school, one does tend to get sick of being surrounded only by other people doing the same.  As a community, Massey is a break for everyone.  Your dinner conversation is much more likely to be about someone's research surrounding the culture of "found" food (meaning harvested in nature) than it is about the latest Supreme Court decision.  That's just one example, of course.

 

Approximately 4-6 junior fellows each year (estimate, not guaranteed) are from the law school.  I find it's a good number, especially if you join during first year.  It gives you a few natural friends in first year and people you know.  Massey can also be too much of a good thing in this regard.  For many people at Massey, the college itself becomes more of a natural social hub than the program, in this case law school.  Admission for law students tends to be fairly competitive.  There are more applications than there are spots.

 

You can live in residence at the college for up to three years.  Convenient for law students, save those in four year combined programs.  PhD students tend to be forced to go non-resident by the time they are done.  It's just to spread around the experience of living there.

 

I should mention some of the social advantages of being part of the Massey community.  I'll sound like a snob as I write this, unavoidably, and I'm sorry.  Just about any important speaker or guest of the university generally has a reception after the event at Massey.  It's the natural place to go.  Some of the university's most prominent scholars have their offices in the college (rooms literally down the hall from where you live) and every year there's a cohort of mid-career journalists at the college also.  There are social events throughout the year, mentorship opportunities, you name it.  A significant number of prominent jurists and lawyers are affiliated with the college through the "Quadrangle Society" (too complicated to explain) and yes, that can matter.  Suffice it to say you can meet literally anyone at the college and that's essentially accurate.  When the King and Queen of Sweden show up to judge the annual pumpkin carving contest (true story) that should give you some idea. 

 

It would be very easy from the outside to get the sense that Massey is in some sense a snobbish or elite institution.  The gowns at dinner don't help that impression.  If it were populated entirely by law students that would probably become true.  But remember that law students are only a small portion of the whole.  Most junior fellows are pursuing academic degrees, and almost everyone at the college is some combination of quirky, laid-back, intellectual, desperately in need of distraction from their work, and wonderfully glad to be living at a college filled with people unlike themselves.

 

I didn't mean to write so much, but I could probably write for pages more and still not capture the essence of Massey college.  It's wonderful in large part because it's small enough to be a real community.  When you live there, you really do get to know everyone.  It's so much more than just a residence.  And while we've had the occasional person over the years who didn't know what they'd applied to and then they turned out to love it, I'd really recommend that anyone applying to the college should know what they are in for.

 

I'll gladly take questions, but if anyone wishes to reply I'd suggest you send me a private message also so I get some notice.  I don't come here often. 

 

How much did they pay you?

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Sounds like a great place to live. I have been thinking about applying to Massey for some time but I have a few questions:

 

- I see that you have to reapply every year. If you get in for 1L, is the reapplication process just a formality or do people not get their fellowship renewed?

- I would expect to be out of residence during dinner time quite often, doing other things. Is there a "to-go" option for the food? It would be a waste to pay for all the meals and not be able to eat them.

 

The application process for returning junior fellows is, indeed, a formality.  It would be a very very unusual circumstance for anyone to not be renewed.  Sometimes people do realize Massey isn't for them and they don't try to return.  But people actually applying to come back and being refused?  I think it's almost unheard of.  Never happened in my time.

 

For those with regular commitments during dinner time, you can mark yourself down and get a "hot plate" left aside for you.  Not the most wonderful thing in the world, but something to microwave at least when you get back.  For irregular things that might cause you to miss dinner - well, you can sometimes get the staff to make you a hot plate anyway.  Officially you're only entitled to something cold.

 

Dinner is an interesting topic, actually.  Like you, there are many people who would find it easy to say "I'm busy, and it's hard to show up for scheduled dinner, so I just want something I can eat whenever."  This can lead to an epidemic of hot plates.  Then the powers that be (primarily the resident Master) tend to crack down a bit and say "dinner is important, so show up if you expect to be fed well."

 

Dinner IS important.  It's very odd, when you start, to show up for meals every evening when the bell rings, to put on your gown (not a big deal, you can just throw it over jeans and a t-shirt), to wait for the Don of Hall to recite a Latin grace (non-denominational and not-overtly-religious) and then to sit down with fellow members of the collage to a meal that's served to you and that comes in courses.  That's typically soup/salad, main, then dessert.  Vegetarian options exist, btw, but aren't always that good.  Other dietary needs may not be accommodated, but you can ask.

 

Anyway, I digress.  The point is that meals (especially dinner) are very important to the community.  It's a practice that dates back to a time when junior fellows were probably sitting in their rooms reading and now it's more likely you're in your room in front of a computer.  But books, computers, etc. don't enter the dining hall.  It's one hour in an evening when you actually sit down and socialize.  Once you get used to it, I'll predict you really enjoy it.  Not to say you won't miss the occasional meal.  But you shouldn't go into the year expecting to miss most of them, or not planning to be at the college from 6:30-7:30 most evenings.

 

And no, no one is paying me to post this.  Though I get why it might be considered an advertisement.  Truthfully, Massey has no trouble filling every available spot every year so it doesn't need to advertise.  I just thought that people keep asking on this board and no one is answering.

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Someone found this lately and PMed me. So just bumping this thread (since it's that time of year) in case anyone else might find it interesting.

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Thanks for the info! Any idea if there is accommodation for different dietary needs? Gluten allergies, lactose intolerance, vegans, etc. ?

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Thanks for the info! Any idea if there is accommodation for different dietary needs? Gluten allergies, lactose intolerance, vegans, etc. ?

 

Really just what I've said already, though it's buried up there. There's always a vegetarian option, though opinions differ regarding how good it is. Any accommodation beyond that is a bit up in the air. Officially Massey makes no promises. It's a small college and you can imagine how hellish that would quickly get if it went too far. Unofficially, I've known one or two students who had quite a lot of help on special dietary needs while they were there. So it's something I'd suggest you speak with the college about if you're interested. I find that people who are willing to be flexible get quite a bit of flexibility in return. But if you come on like it's some kind of human rights imperative, probably less so.

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It is that time of the year again, so I'm bumping up this post in case there are any new inquiries. Massey has a new resident Master now, and I believe they are offering open house tours to interested people, but otherwise the above information is still correct.

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It is that time of the year again, so I'm bumping up this post in case there are any new inquiries. Massey has a new resident Master now, and I believe they are offering open house tours to interested people, but otherwise the above information is still correct.

 

How competitive is it? Are we talking 10 applicants for every spot or? I'm really interested but I haven't done anything amazing other than do well in school and on the LSAT.

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How competitive is it? Are we talking 10 applicants for every spot or? I'm really interested but I haven't done anything amazing other than do well in school and on the LSAT.

 

It's small numbers, so hard to say. And Massey does strive for a mix of junior fellows so there isn't a set number of law students admitted every year. As I said before, I'd guess it's still around 4-6 law students per year. but I can't imagine it's 10 applicants for every spot. That would imply something like 25% of the law school class is applying. If I had to guess, I'd say it's more in the range of 3-4 applicants per spot at most. But note that's a limited guess. I've never sat on the admissions committee.

 

In terms of your profile, there are some wildly impressive people at Massey. It's a bit daunting sometimes. We literally have Olympic athletes, astronauts (Julie Payette was a junior fellow), you name it. But most people are just very good students at U of T. Massey is more about "fit" than anything else. It helps a lot to know what you are applying for, so come on a tour if you can, etc. And Massey really likes musical talent. If you have any, emphasize it when you apply.

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For anyone who applied for a Junior Fellowship, has Massey confirmed completion of your application yet (not to be confused with their confirmation of receipt)? The website said they'd reach out to applicants with this info by yesterday, but I haven't heard anything. Has anyone? I know some of the other Massey deadlines got rejigged, so I realize that may have happened with this one as well. Thanks in advance!

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For anyone who applied for a Junior Fellowship, has Massey confirmed completion of your application yet (not to be confused with their confirmation of receipt)? The website said they'd reach out to applicants with this info by yesterday, but I haven't heard anything. Has anyone? I know some of the other Massey deadlines got rejigged, so I realize that may have happened with this one as well. Thanks in advance!

 

I received an email from them on Friday confirming that my application was complete and that I would be contacted in late June with their decision. You're right that they've been pushing back their deadlines a bit this year, so I wouldn't worry about it just yet. 

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I received an email from them on Friday confirming that my application was complete and that I would be contacted in late June with their decision. You're right that they've been pushing back their deadlines a bit this year, so I wouldn't worry about it just yet. 

 

Good to know--thanks for your response!

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Haven't bumped this in a while, but just had an inquiry and a reminder about this thread. So just a reminder that I'm still around, and while my own time at Massey is becoming more and more stale-dated as time goes by, I'm still available to answer questions for those that have them.

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Hi Molly! 
Thanks so much for the information; it's been very useful. Could you maybe tell us about the admissions criteria? The Massey College application section indicates three criteria, could you tell us about the average GPA? And if GPA isn't relevant to academic achievement, then what is?

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Soh2017 said:

Hi Molly! 
Thanks so much for the information; it's been very useful. Could you maybe tell us about the admissions criteria? The Massey College application section indicates three criteria, could you tell us about the average GPA? And if GPA isn't relevant to academic achievement, then what is?

Hey. New board format!

"Average" GPA would probably be a meaningless stat, even if I had it. Remember that people are applying to Massey College who are entering every graduate and professional program at U of T. They are coming from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, also. Comparing their grades is an almost irrational exercise, and everyone I've ever talked with who has been involved in admissions has endorsed the same view.

Basically, anyone who has already been admitted to a graduate or professional program at U of T is a great student already. Now we're just comparing shades of "great" which becomes mainly pointless. So while students are trained to imagine that competition revolves around a number, it's really the least important criteria for applying to Massey. If you want to emphasize your academic credentials, I'd suggest referencing whatever kind of research you're engaged in, any publications you may have, or things of that nature. That's at least interesting. The bottom line number, no one's going to look at.

Edited by MollyBloom
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