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UBC vs Dal

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#1 peapodjr

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 01:06 PM

I have a dilemma that has unexpectedly popped up and is causing me great consternation. I was on the waitlist for UBC and, not expecting to receive an offer at all, committed to going to Dalhousie. I have just been offered admission to UBC after already organizing my living arrangements and everything else required for the move to Halifax. Kind of a piss off how things work out like that. Anyhow, I am seeking counsel from you knowledgeable posters here on what I should do. What, if any, advantages would there be in attending one school over the other with regards to finding employment upon graduating? I don't really see myself staying out east after as I am from out west (plus the job market out there is shit from what I hear), but you never know how things would work out. Any help would be appreciated.

#2 hefeweizen

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 01:32 PM

While certainly not impossible to get a job out west while attending a school out east (and I think if you scan the lists of students currently working big Vancouver firms you'll see Dal isn't badly represented), it will likely be more onerous, in a couple of ways: 1) likely less firms from the west coast coming to your school for OCIs, and you may have to focus more on selling them on the fact that you want to come back west despite going to school in the east; if you get a second interview, you'll have to fly out to the city to do the in-person; 2) if you don't manage a 2L job and want to go through the articling application process that happens the summer before 3L, you'll have to fly yourself back out for interviews (unless you've already come back for the summer for some other reason, in which case, not a problem); 3) far fewer networking opportunities.

That last one, I think, is the most problematic issue you'll likely face; the other two are more logistics issues, although if you don't want to go from one end of the country to the other a lot, that may influence your decision. The Careers Office at Dal may focus strongly on east coast opportunities, too, although I can't really speak to that other than to say that my west coast school certainly doesn't post many Maritimes opportunities, so if I wanted to go out there I'd have to do a lot more groundwork on my own.

If it's just the fact that you've already got the stuff set up for going to Halifax that's holding you back from accepting UBC, I'd weigh that (probably a logistical nightmare to switch, right?) against the listed potential logistical nightmares attendant upon aiming for west coast employment while at an east coast school. If there are other factors in play, it may be a trickier question to answer.

But take all this with a little grain of salt, because I go to a west coast school and want to work on the west coast, so I might just be bias in favour of that route.

#3 West Coast Express

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 02:51 PM

Go to school where you want to practice for the reasons that the poster above me mentioned. I go to UBC and thus am pretty biased but would recommend it for its fairly low tuition, broad course selection, tons of clinics, great mooting/exchange opportunities, and a brand new building that opens next week.

#4 bvlm

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 03:35 PM

I've said before that "go where you want to practice" is a starting point for "where to go", but not the end. Cost, scholarships, institutional culture, lifestyle etc all come in to play. I'm from Alberta originally but went to Dal in part because I wanted to live in a party of the country I hadn't been before, get exposed to new teaching philosophies, and break out of my comfort zone. As hefeweizen mentioned, Dal is pretty well represented at firms in Vancouver and Calgary. We're a national school - so we draw and place students from all areas of the country. Because of this reach, you can usually find an upper year student or alumni in the city of your choice willing to give you the lay of the land, tour of the firm, or let you know who the different firms are in the area

If careers is what you're worried about, several of the big firms come out here for OCIs. These are, as at any school, only a small subset of firms that do hirings. True, you'll likely have to do a bit of research on your own, but if you're willing to do your due diligence - calling up articling students or associates, going over the website and other promotional materials, and fly back for interviews if successful; you can be as competitive a candidate as any UBC or UVic student. As for the job market being "shit", that's not entirely the case. Students from the west just need to do a better job of convincing firms that you'd stick around if they offered you an articling or summer position. Too many firms have taken a loss on students they spent time and money training - only to have them run off to another city at the first opportunity.

So it seems you have questions to ask yourself: What financial hit are you going to take by abandoning all of your Dal planning? Can you get accommodations etc in Vancouver in time? Do you want to get a certificate specializing in a certain legal field (health, environment, business, maritime law, etc) or do a joint program (MPA, MBA, MLIS, MHA)? Would you rather live for the next 3 years in Vancouver or Halifax?
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#5 peapodjr

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 03:45 PM

Hey all, thanks for the input. Based on many of the reasons you provided I decided to accept the offer to UBC. Due to heading out of town for the weekend I have to keep the response brief, but I appreciate the insightful perspectives you all offered. Thanks again, and to those at UBC I imagine I will be seeing you around in the fall. Have a great weekend.

#6 sauce

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 01:26 PM

Dal is a national school, but if you want to practice in Vancouver, you made the right decision by accepting UBC's offer.