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orangecat

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  1. Hi ClarenceDarrow, I don't have personal experience with the program but I have heard very mixed things about it from other students and alumni. I wrote a bit about it on a recent thread: I won't repeat all of that here, but the pot of money available is quite small (which means that all eligible applicants may not receive loans if there's too much demand), it's difficult to make under $60,000 for sustained period of time practicing law, and you only get the benefit of having all your eligible debt written off if you stay enrolled for 10 years. Otherwise, you need to start paying the loan back to the Faculty. If you're interested in practicing public interest law and are relying on the debt relief program to make it financially feasible, I would ask some serious questions of the Faculty about the ability of this program to help you do that.
  2. As a current student at U of T Law I agree that there are a lot of benefits to studying here but I think the school vastly overstates the degree to which the post-grad debt relief program actually allows alumni to pursue careers in public interest law. Firstly, there's a limited pot of money for the back-end debt relief program, so if too many people apply then all eligible applicants may not actually get assistance. Secondly, there are very few people - even those who practice public interest law - who can remain eligible for the program given the low threshold for financial eligibility. I only have anecdotal information on this because the school doesn't provide good statistics but I've heard that only 1-2 people have ever remained in the program for 10 years, and thus had their (eligible) student debt forgiven. If you begin making enough money that you're no longer eligible (and this is fairly likely because the threshold is so low), you have to pay back the remaining balance of your debt relief loan. A recent alumni told me and other students interested in public interest law that we could simply not rely on the program to help us afford this kind of career. If you're seriously interested in pursuing public interest law, I would think about the amount of debt that you'll be taking on at U of T and whether or not this will be an impediment to having the career you want. For those interested, here's a recent article in the law school newspaper on the effects of debt for career and life trajectories after graduation: http://ultravires.ca/2018/11/do-you-believe-in-life-after-debt/. Also happy to chat with anyone interested in public interest law at U of T over DM about this.
  3. I appreciate that but I don't think it's an issue of being able to find common ground with people from different socio-economic backgrounds. I agree that's an important quality. For me, the issue is that I didn't have this pervasive feeling of "I don't belong here" in undergrad precisely because a student's ability to attend one of the best schools in the country wasn't predetermined by their finances. While I certainly had very wealthy peers, I was also surrounded by people who came from more modest backgrounds. This sent a message that a student's admission was based on merit, not ability to pay. When U of T Law charges just shy of $40,000 for tuition, the administration is sending a strong signal about who does and doesn't belong at the country's best law school. Merit is not enough. If you're not able to pay, then you must be inferior. When we tell low-income students to ignore the obvious class differences between them and their wealthier peers, we're contributing to the erasure of class structures that continue to limit opportunities for people of lower-income backgrounds. This contributes to the continued exclusivity of the legal profession, and the political and economic elite more generally.
  4. This is exactly the problem. We live in a country where postsecondary education is, for the most part, public. While there are obviously many barriers to having the kinds of transcript and resume that get you into a high-ranking undergraduate or graduate program, we seem to believe that once a person gets into a school based on her own merit, she should be able to attend regardless of her financial background. If U of T continues to raise its tuition by 5% each year, only students from high-income families will be able to attend. I'd say this is a significant blow to our system of public education. Shouldn't the best students be able to attend the best institutions, regardless of their means? Some will argue that if low-income students want to go to U of T they'll simply have to incur substantial debt. This is problematic for students who came to law school because they want to pursue public interest or social justice law. While they'll qualify for bursaries, the sticker price will probably keep many from applying. Furthermore, the knowledge that this is a law school primarily for the children of high-income earners will make students from other socio-economic backgrounds feel like U of T Law isn't for them. I know that's how it makes me feel.
  5. This was my number one concern in attending U of T. But I spoke to a couple current students, both of whom like myself want careers in public interest law, and they were adamant that the culture is not overly competitive and that they were very happy with their decisions to attend U of T. I agree with you about the recruitment process, though. It's a bit aggressive.
  6. It's possible: http://handbook.law.utoronto.ca/courses/other-course-opportunities. But it sounds like you're only able to do so with a very limited number of courses.
  7. I'm sure it depends on your program and school, but at least in some departments at some universities summer courses are considered much easier than courses taken during the regular school year. In my experience there tends to be fewer readings and assignments, and they're often taught by adjuncts or PhD students whose standards may be different from those of tenure profs.
  8. Hi Christmas, I applied in the regular category. It might be worth starting a new thread for people who successfully applied as mature applicants to get some of their insights on admission.
  9. Just got an email saying the offer had been cancelled and that I should contact them immediately if I still intending on taking the offer. I think I'm probably just nervous about making real decisions this early on. I've looked at my pro-con list again and I think my initial inclinations were the right ones. I'd feel wrong holding onto the offer when I'm very likely to reject it.
  10. Does anyone know if the Feb 15. deadline to notify UBC if you're accepting your offer is a firm one? I had thought that I had made up my mind to attend another school, but I've been having a lot of doubts in the past few days.
  11. I didn't write the optional essay and I was admitted in early December. I agree that in most cases it can probably only help your application, but in my case I had already written a very tight and compelling statement that linked my educational and professional background, my volunteer work, and my values with my decision to attend law school. I felt that any additional written statement could not improve upon this narrative, and may detract from it. While I have faced socioeconomic obstacles, these haven't obviously affected my performance at school, so I felt I had nothing to gain from mentioning them. I wanted the committee's attention to remain on my narrative I had created about my path to law school. EDIT: Obviously this is personal choice and depends on your circumstances. In Christmas's case above, I think writing about your background as a lawyer in your home country and experience as a recent immigrant in Canada could only add to your application.
  12. Thanks, NineOne, that's very helpful to know!
  13. 1. Having lived as a student in both cities, I would say cost of living is roughly the same. 2. If you're living in Kits, I doubt you will need a car. Included in your tuition at UBC is a transit pass that can be used throughout Greater Vancouver. Although I signed up for a car share program after moving here, I haven't used it once. Most places are very easily reached by transit, including nearby parks and trails. Vancouver is also incredibly bike friendly, if that's your thing. If your heart is set on owning a car, I can tell you that on most of the residential streets in Kits parking is free. You don't need a permit, but it can be sometimes difficult to nab a spot right in front of your building. 3. After completing my undergrad in Toronto, I moved to Van for grad school. Having never even been to BC before, it was a bit of a gamble, but I really couldn't be happier here. PM me if you have any questions about moving cross-country, Vancouver neighbourhoods, etc. 6. The nightlife here is not as good as in Toronto. Having spent most of my time in Toronto in dive bars, of which there are fewer in Van, I would say going out is more expensive here.
  14. Thank you, that's very helpful! Will PM you with another question.
  15. Just got in! LSAT: Low 160s cGPA: ~3.85 OLSAS (without drops) Not sure if I did my cGPA properly, but my self-calculated index score was just above 92. EDIT: FYI for others still waiting, I was notified via email. The online application status page has now changed to "offer," although I'm not sure how long it's been this way because I hadn't checked the status until now for about a week or so.
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