REVIEW OF Trinity College School BY Alum, Charisse Lee
- Date of Review
March 10, 2022
Gr. 9 - 12
- University (major)
(4.5) Overall Experience
My experience at TCS was excellent! I loved the community especially the houses because it really felt like a family away from home. TCS definitely prepared me well for going into university because of the amount of independence we were given. Boarding made living in university residence a lot less intimidating, and the TCS schedules were somewhat similar to university ones as well. The overall transition was very smooth which is something I am grateful about. A new student enrolling into TCS should expect to be surrounded by people that are all very willing to offer you help. There are so many different kinds of people you feel encouraged to go to when you need something and that was definitely my favorite thing about TCS.
(4.5) School Leadership
I was pretty satisfied with the school’s leadership. They were not scary or intimidating to us which encouraged us to effectively reflect issues to them. We felt connected to them as they made an effort to communicate with the student body about decisions and other things regularly. I think discipline issues were handled fairly because if there were small disciplinary mistakes quarters were offered, but if it was a larger mistake meetings were set up for better communication and understanding.
I liked the teachers and their teachings styles at TCS. This is because all teachers were very encouraging when it comes to classroom participation, and for me, I felt like the classroom was always a safe place. Not only did we talk about classes and grades, but they also showed that they cared about our life outside of class as well. They would ask how our day was and when we saw them in other environments, we interacted like friends and had real conversations. A lot of support was also provided as teachers held extra help times and could be easily contacted through email. They always responded quickly when you asked them questions which was extremely helpful. All the teachers were very kind and passionate when I interacted with them.
I think the academic atmosphere at the school had just the right amount of competitiveness. Students were motivated by other people's successes, but not too competitive where the environment was negatively stressful. The benefits from the scholar status also provided significant motivation, it showed us that our hard work would pay off. I believe the academic program at TCS prepared me well for my future academic endeavors. Specifically, I think the main factor was the balance between classroom teaching and also independent learning. Though most classes taught the material in traditional classroom ways, some tried the reverse-classroom teaching method. I wouldn't say I liked that way of teaching, but I soon came to realize that many university profs like reverse-classroom so it helped me adapt to university lectures.
I was very satisfied with the quantity and quality of extracurriculars offered to me. Extracurriculars were one of the easiest ways to make friends and expand my circle beyond my grade. I was on the basketball team and though every year we had a new team, the team dynamic never changed. The competitive sports provided me with a lot of opportunities to improve and challenge myself, but there were also many activities to do for fun such as the dance club and AFL when I didn't want to play in the sports offered in a certain season. One thing I would point out is that I feel that there is a little bit of pressure to join a competitive team; there were certain situations where students on a team would look down on people that were in AFL.
I really liked the number of students in the student body. It was diverse enough where you would meet people from all kinds of countries, but small enough where personal connections could be fostered. The main thing that stood out to me about the TCS student body was how many countries are represented. This is especially evident when I go on the snap map during a break and see that there are people from all continents. The school also had great spirit and it was bettered with tight-knit-inter-house relationships and events such as breakfast Olympics. The dynamic between students was great too, everyone was making an effort to do something nice and make a difference in others' lives; TCS students genuinely like the feeling of doing a nice gesture. Though it is diverse, it can be noticed that friend groups are still somewhat related to nationality. There are exceptions but it is a pattern that students from the same country tend to stick together because friendship often happens much more naturally. It is not that students are not willing to make friends with others from another country, I think it just takes time and more getting to know each other.
(4.5) School Life
I wouldn't say I absolutely 100% loved going there because it was still school, but compared to what I would get at other places, the experience was a 10/10 no doubt. The school provided me with a very high quality of life and throughout my four years there I could see continuous efforts of the school maintaining the quality. I think students there were generally happy as most students found the group of people they like to hang out with. There were also a few students that might not have found the perfect group of people but the welcoming and compassionate environment made it much less intimidating and frustrating. Moreover, I believe all students were engaged because the school size was pretty small and any event would be well-known through the student body. The school spirit promoted student engagement as well.
I think the sense of community is really emphasized at TCS inside and outside of the school. I have kept in touch with all of my friends I was close with at my time there even after they have graduated. Many of them come from the same country as I do and every time I go back we would meet up. After my graduation, I also am still in touch with students that are still there; we keep up with each other through text messages and social media. Parents are very welcome to be part of school life. Events like the bear fair encourage them to visit, and my parents are both Global Ambassadors and they love the experience. I think the alumni network could be improved to promote the interconnection of people that have graduated, but I do see the hard work the alumni office puts in, such as the monthly alumni update.
(4) School Location
The town of Port Hope was genuinely a nice location for the school and gave many international students a new experience of living in a quieter area. Though we were always reminded to not wear TCS clothing downtown, very rarely have I experienced a negative interaction with local Port Hope citizens. Students always ventured beyond the school grounds for leisure activities and got to know the surrounding of TCS.
I don't remember too clearly, but I would say the admission process was quite smooth and easy. I remember I had to create a video about myself, write a math evaluation, and a short essay about my hobby. The video was definitely my favorite part because I feel like it provided the school with the most accurate representation of me and also allowed me to visualize who I was at that time. There were also conversations between me and the admission officer that gave the school a better understanding of whether or not I fit what the school is looking for. In addition, Mrs. LaBranche does an amazing job of promoting the school through her Instagram account; if I were a new student that account is potentially more insightful than the official website.
(4) University placement and counselling
I definitely felt supported throughout the process because the counselors frequently set up meetings and would reach out if they see minimal progress being made. This was extremely helpful because it is easy to put off the work when students are not clear about which direction they want to proceed in. I think overall guidance was sufficient, but I would have liked the research process to begin even earlier. It would also be helpful if the counselors put together presentations/documents that outlined certain actions/materials required for different pathways. This could give students that want to pursue in, for example, art, to improve their art skills and build a portfolio. Overall, my application process was very successful and without the university counseling office, I would have been way too lost and confused.