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Unknownpnlaw

Really need advice for law school and life

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Hey so I’ve been a lurker on here for a few months but I’ve finally got to the point where I think I need advice and a lot of questions answered.

I have spent 2 years of undergrad at kwantlen polytechnic university for a crim degree ending with a 3.2 gpa. I’ve taken semesters off in between and it has equated too about a year and  a bit off. 

I’ve transferred to Simon Fraser University and basically starting my 3rd year. So far as of the term(s) I’ve done I have a 3.0 - 3.2 gpa. I want to be able to go to ubc law specifically cause I’d rather stay near home(Vancouver) due to family if possible, it’s the only prestigious school I know about, I don’t know about other law schools and how they may affect my resume/reputation. My dream/goal is to become a crown prosecutor and become a judge or maybe teaching later on in life.  So that’s the back story now the questions. There are a lot of them cause I don’t think it’s proper to make multiple post and honestly I don’t know anything about law school and am terrified that I have not looked for help seriously till now. Please answer what you can and want too. 

1. Main current issue: i want to do coop but it is another year commitment on top of me already being behind a year and a bit. So is it worth it and does it help at all with the law application? With the caveat that I may not get a coop job related to law at all although that is the goal.

2. How would, specifically ubc, law schools calculate my gpa since I’m a transfer student. Do they only look at sfu? Blend of both kpu and sfu? And how drops would affect them? Do I chose which courses they look at?

3. I know my gpa is not good enough atm for ubc law and i will try my best to improve on it with the reaminging years I have. But, if it isn’t good enough. What can I do? Retake classes at sfu or kpu and how would they affect the gpa: average grade/replacement of grade?

4. I know a little bit about the lsat but honestly don’t know where to start at all. When do I do it? How do I start? How/when/where to prepare? If my score not good enough what can I do? Retake it, work experience, increase gpa by retaking courses?

5. What other law schools within B.C can you recommend and why they would be a good alternative? Would it affect my learning or my reputation or strength of my resume if it’s less well known school?

6. Any life advice in general or related to being a law school applicant. I feel that I don’t have any knowledge going into this and have no one to talk too or look to for advice. I feel afraid and confuse as to where to start or what to do to the point that it affects me. 

Yeah that’s all there is atm but I know there is still more so if you think there is anything important I should know please let me know. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this long post and any answers or advice you may leave, even just your thoughts are fine I really have no one to talk too about these matters and unsure who would even to be help me in depth. 

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If I were you, I would take some time off school, get a job or two of some sort - ideally that you're interested in, but any would help at this point - and start to pay attention to what makes you happy and fulfilled.  Your grades aren't going to be good enough until you get more passion behind them.  

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UBC’s webpage spells out their admission criteria very clearly. I’d suggest you take a look. 

As for how they look at your KPU and SFU grades, that’s something you may need to call and ask about. I don’t think this is addressed on their admissions page.

Your grades are a bit low for UBC. If you’re serious about law school, consider doing research on other Canadian schools. 

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hey welcome, ill throw in my 2 cents,

1.co op would be a nice thing to add for experiences, plus in case law school doesn't work up you don't have all your eggs in one basket and are building to have other options available to you, It wont hurt your applications of course it could help ( gpa and lsat are king for Canadian law admissions), the difference a year would make in the big picture is something you must determine, maybe imagine looking back at the age of 40, would you regret taking the year to do the co op?

 

2. they will look at both, the website says how many credits can be dropped depending on where you are with your degree, they will assess your cgpa by taking all the courses during your undergrad together ( regardless of where taken, as long as they were courses at the bachelors level they will be assessed, call them to verify this though perhaps some details could alter this), adding them all together, then dividing by total number of courses taken all together,  then applying drops if applicable depending on the lowest grades overall, your gpa as you have mentioned will not be competitive for ubc thus far, their cgpa average is 83% with drops, you don't choose anything you submit all undergrad transcripts, they look at it all eg I did my first year at York, second and third year at UTM, fourth year at ST George ( the last two are the same school, just 2 different campuses of U of T similar to the 2 campuses UBC has) and every single course I ever took was looked at from each institution and added to my cgpa

 

3. you could try to raise your cgpa, you're 2 years into your degree I'm guessing at this point, It could be an impossibility mathematically at this point to get into competitive ranges for cgpa ( to give a better idea though we need an lsat score, if you could get close enough for cgpa but destroy the lsat then maybe the index score for ubc might balance out, again to many if's, we need the lsat as well to give an idea of where your stats would compare to class profiles since the score it based of both factors combined together and not separately), but you could definitely try to focus more on last 2 focused schools eg dal, queen, western, etc., it kind of depends on where your gpa goes, as of right now your in a tough spot all over Canada, if it improves over next 2 years different story. retaking classes wouldn't help, all course attempts will be included in the gpa calculations, the previous record cannot be erased it will be looked at no matter what, for ubc some grades are dropped if you are eligible again check the website for that

 

4. for lsat there is an lsat dedicated area of this site that can really help. Try the powerscore series, or 7 sage, both good areas to start to cover what the lsat touches on very helpful. Get your hands on as many practice tests as possible, and after learning about this test from things like powerscore or 7sage  use the practice tests as way to help you study for the real test. No limits on how many times you can take the lsat, most schools including ubc take only the highest score, if the lsat after numerous attempts is not good enough then at that point in time a strategy could be devised to help you if you wish to go that route, but for now just think positive and study hard and lets see what happens with the lsat attempt. I think the lsat is now offered 4 times a year. Applications open up in November I believe, the lsat ideally should be done before the year ends eg take the December lsat or the ones before, I say do at least the few ones before December leaving room for rewrites with ease, the feb. is accepted by some schools but I'm telling you it can screw with the application when you write the feb lsat I don't recommend doing that, I also don't recommend using the dec lsat as the first write for the cycle you will be applying. Everything happens a year earlier btw, if I wanna go next year September to law school in 2019, I have to apply in 2018, have the lsat ideally done when I apply or at the latest in December imo

5. Only other schools in BC are uvic ( Victoria) and tru ( Kamloops) I think, UVIC is pretty much exactly the same in terms of admission profiles as UBC, tru has lower class medians than both of the other schools, but it still is selective and I would take a look at the website for TRU and this websites accepted and rejected threads and take a look at the kind of grades and lsats being rejected and accepted. UBC imo would be best because of location, uvic is also amazing, tru has pretty good stats for there grads so far as well, Canadian schools are very similar in many regards, ideally  go to school where you wish to work, we don't really have a ranking system like the US, UBC probably is best for the Vancouver market, but any Canadian school will give you options and an great legal education, but as of right now your grades could be a problem for all schools as they are standing right now, even with a great last 2 years UBC and UVIC could be difficult for admissions, again well need the lsat to guess and see where exactly the next few years go for you in terms of grades

 

6.Dont feel alone, were all here to help at the end of the day, and a lot of us probably felt somewhat of what you are feeling too, its normal. the unknown can be intimidating. relax :D I know at times in life we feel afraid confused or scared, but you must develop internal resiliency to move forward in spite of such emotions. You must taken proactive steps to  change your life and make what is in your mind come into fruition in reality, I don't think you have read some websites the schools have for admissions properly based off some of your questions, or done some general research . Nothing wrong with that necessarily, but my point is when you want something, you have to do everything in your power to make it happen. You should put in the effort to match your ambitions, and I mean all this positively. You have to do some reflection as well. Why have your grades been so poor? why the breaks from school? How committed are you really to this, what drives you? Is this something that has some deep rooted origins in your mind, or is this something that is just something of a superficial desire on the surface of the psyche? Law school will be much more rigorous than your current studies, you are not doing that well at this level so far, what tells you or a potential admissions committee in the future you have the ability/potential to succeed as a law student? If you really wanted this goal. then why have your grades not reflected this yet at all? Is there valid reasons to the poor performance, and more importantly, are the reasons correctable so you could get a much better academic record to prove that you can perform and deserve your position based on merit? Your path to even  get to law school COULD be an expensive, time wise and money wise, investment. Are you willing to do down that road if need be , how much is this goal worth to you and why and how much would you be willing to sacrifice to get to your end goal(s)? Just some questions to ponder. 

 

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Questions 2-5 can be found elsewhere in the forum/Law school sites.

In regards to the co-op: the general consensus on this forum is that you shouldn't be treating a degree as just an ends to get into law school. If law school doesn't work out, that BA/BSc/... will be a big investment that you want to be able to fall back on. If you come out of your undergrad with some field related work experience from a co-op, you will have a better idea of where you would want to go next, and a better chance of getting hired there. 

A co-op will probably not help with your application. It could be a 'soft' boost to your application if you were on the cusp of getting into a school and they had to decide between you and a pool of other students with identical LSAT/GPA. However, if you do get in, when it comes to looking for your articles, having work experience can help.

There is no 'behind' in regards to starting your JD. The majority of my class had at least a one year break between their undergrad and starting their JD. Many of them had full careers or a Masters/PhD before starting the program. This isn't a race to the finish - it will be wise to get some life experience instead of charging headfirst into a massive investment of time and money. Figure out if you like research, if you can handle stress, if you like counselling people, etc. 

In regards to 6), feel free to pm me.

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9 hours ago, Unknownpnlaw said:

My dream/goal is to become a crown prosecutor and become a judge or maybe teaching later on in life. 

I feel like it is way too early for this advice, given where you are in your career, but just as an FYI, this isn't really how it works.  Law professors are not aging lawyers.  They are now almost always career academics.  Now, if you mean just teaching a class or something as an adjunct professor, that's one thing, but if you mean a full-time professor, they are being hired out of PhD programs.

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Kudos to Timmies for actually trying to address each of the questions.  Lots of good info in that post. 

OP, if this is something that you really are interested in, I would be researching the answers to all of those questions you asked.  When I was in your shoes, I honestly spent hours on this website digging through all the old threads.  It's truly amazing just how much info is on here in relation to admissions, LSAT's and just about every other question you asked.  I also spent hours going through the websites of every law school in Canada to see what their admissions requirements were. 

From all of the school threads on this site you can get a good idea of what the stats are for those who are accepted.  Once you know that and you know what each school is looking for and how they assess applicants, sit down and take an honest and critical look at your stats and then decide where to apply.  For me personally, I was able to acknowledge that I was not going to be super competitive at the stats only schools but I was also able to realize that I had a lot of really good work, volunteer and life experience which might boost my odds at certain schools.  I then chose to only apply to the more holistic schools which are honestly a crap shoot, but it worked out for me.  I wouldn't take the position of UBC or bust if you're actually serious about law school.  

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Thank you very much for all your replies and advice. Honestly I think I was having a bit of a panic attack with finals today. I’m still not sure exactly what I want or am looking for but definitely will try to do more research to get a better picture of what it would be like and entail. Once question for those that understand sfu or law application. How does retaking a class affect gpa? For sfu they say you can retake 5 classes and the better grade will affect your gpa. But how would law school applications see it? Another question that has come up is if decide to pursue a masters or PhD how does that relate to the application to law school? Do they only look at undergrad? Once again thank you so much for the advice it’s very reassuring to have others that can explain the process for me. I’m honestly looking for anyone’s thoughts about anything relating to law or any life advice in general. 

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Posted (edited)

Don't do a Masters trying to get into UBC - graduate school marks aren't factored into a GPA. And don't do a PhD - that's just an insane amount of time to spend in school and not worth it, in my opinion, if law school is the end goal.

 

Grad school marks are included in GPA calculations at a couple schools (I think U of A?) but otherwise grad school is a soft factor for law schools.

Edited by Starling
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A Master's or PhD might give you a slight edge if it's a STEM discipline and you're aiming to work in patent law. Like Starling said though, it's a lot of schooling if you're lukewarm about going that route. 

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17 hours ago, Unknownpnlaw said:

My dream/goal is to become a crown prosecutor and become a judge or maybe teaching later on in life. 

Just picking out this part also: Crown prosecutor is one thing, but judge is another - it is a very difficult and politicized process to become a judge. Judges are generally relatively senior lawyers who have done high-level legal work very well, have the respect of the bar on both/all sides, have connections, have great reputations etc - it is a combination of skill and luck. You shouldn't really be thinking of that pre-law school or in law school or in the first few years of practice. And as @ProfReader said, becoming a law prof is its own long career path that involves distinguishing yourself academically. Some established practitioners do teach as sessionals if this is what you mean, but again, after they have several years of distinction behind them. 

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Hey! It looks like there's lots of good advice from the other posts here already, but I wanted to add/ reiterate two things:

1. I would recommend thinking about how you would answer these before deciding if law school makes sense for you:

  • What draws you towards wanting to be a Crown prosecutor, judge, or law professor? Or any other law job?
  • What kinds of tasks do people in these jobs do on a day-to-day basis? 
  • What kinds of tasks do you enjoy doing?
  • If you didn't go to law school, what would you be doing? 

The answers to those questions would probably also help you when figuring out what to write for your personal statement, if you choose to apply.

2. About #6. You can find lots of information on this site that can point you in the right direction, but you should also try to find some people around you who are either law students or lawyers or people who have applied to law school, who would be willing to tell you more about what the process was like for them. They would probably also tell you more about all the law schools they applied to, and that could help you pick a school that best suits you.

I would very very very strongly recommend doing a lot of research about what kinds of jobs you would want to do in general, including but not limited to law jobs. You could start with your school's career office, or go online, or talk to people you know in careers you think you might find interesting. Think about what you enjoy doing, and what you would actually want to do as a job. Then go find jobs that meet your criteria. Then start looking at any additional education or whatever you would need for those jobs.

I'm not trying to warn you away from law - hope this doesn't come off that way! It just seemed from your post that you weren't too sure about whether you wanted to do a law job/ what law school required. A lot of people in my undergrad seemed to feel like once they'd started considering the law, they were locked in to that aspiration forever. Later, they would realize that they actually wanted to do a history masters or work for an NGO or become a filmmaker or whatever. So they ended up wasting a lot of time and money because they sort of felt that if they could make themselves into a lawyer, then that's what they "should" be doing. Some of this came from family pressures and some of it from misconceptions about what lawyers are/do. 

You're still in undergrad and have lots of time to research/ think about this - so don't get locked in as you search for your ideal career path.

 

 

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I have no idea why you would even consider a coop placement at this point. 3rd and 4th year of undergrad are arguably the most important years for getting into law school.

I hate to tell you this, but you're not getting into UBC. Even if you ended your L2 years with a 4.0, you would still be around a 3.5cGPA which is not competitive (I believe UBC is a cGPA school, correct me if I'm wrong). You would instead be considered a splitter with a 3.5, assuming you achieved a very high LSAT as well. I also find a 4.0 over two years to be a harder endeavour than a high 160 LSAT, but this could just be me.

I recommend you consider TRU and other schools in the province. While prestige seems to be important to you, beggars can't be choosers. There is always the option of transferring to UBC if you do well in first-year law school, a much more reasonable proposition given the circumstances, but it will be hard work. 

Edited by Trew
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