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About Rubisco

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  1. I'll add to the anecdotes: I had one volunteer position in first and second year and no other ECs. I worked three part-time jobs while I was in undergrad full-time, and then I worked full-time in the summers too. I've seen people worry about not having any ECs on their applications because they had to work. Again, this is just a personal anecdote, but I had almost no ECs and I got in.
  2. I said "Queen's" instead of "Queen's University" and "uOttawa" instead of "University of Ottawa" in my personal statements and I got accepted to both schools. It's probably not a dealbreaker for U of T either, although I have never sat on the U of T admissions committee so I obviously can't say for sure. But if you want to play it safe and you can spare the extra handful of characters, there's definitely no harm in writing out the school's full name.
  3. I wrote mine as a narrative and got in. I think it's very possible to highlight your accomplishments and interest in studying law in a narrative rather than just writing out your resume in sentences. It's also probably a lot more enjoyable for the admissions committee to read. Anyway, I've never sat on admissions committee, so this is just anecdotal. But I don't think it's supposed to be just a wordy version of your resume, they already have your biographical sketch. Writing your personal statement by just repeating your resume is probably the same thing as writing your cover letter by repeating your resume - it doesn't tell them anything they don't already know.
  4. I'd like to add that since you go to school in Ontario, you can access LSO's Member Assistance Program. It's easy to access, confidential, and it will get you speaking to someone a lot faster than if you go through whatever process UofT offers (probably. I've never gone to UofT. But the MAP is faster than any school I've ever attended). It's also free. I think contacting them could be a relatively easy, concrete step to take in managing the stress you are feeling. It's not a guaranteed solution, but it's been a really helpful resource for me.
  5. I think it's great to ask for advice and consider different approaches, but I'd like to throw out there that it will be pretty helpful to pick a method and stick with it, and only change your mind if it's not working for you. Your post reads like you're very stressed about this (totally fair - first week of 1L can be overwhelming) but remember you got to law school by, presumably, studying a bit, so you've done this stuff before. If you prefer typing over handwriting or you'd rather just listen in class or you do your readings before but everyone else does them after - none of it matters. What's important is that you feel like you're understanding the material, however that might look. And I think it might be tempting to feel like you're doing it completely wrong if your peers do it differently than you, but there really is no wrong way. And that will probably, hopefully, become clearer as classes continue. If you're curious, I take all my notes by hand and I read all the material before classes. Then I feel like I can focus on the law in lecture rather trying to understand the facts or the background, because I already know those things. I don't think I've ever fully briefed a case when reading, I just do a couple point form notes on the facts, issue, and what I think the rule is, and then I modify it based on what the prof says. Some might think that is too much work, but by the time I've done the readings and thought about them on my own and then attended class, I usually have a pretty solid grasp on what I need to know. When exams come around I've understood all the material and it's fairly easy to remember because I worked with it so much, and then I just condense it into my own summary. My point is, everyone studies differently and there is no right way to do things, and worrying about the "right" or "best" study method might end up being a much bigger deal than it needs to be. My best advice is to do what you think will be most helpful, whatever that is, and then if it doesn't work, change up your methods and try again.
  6. I also grew up in a toxic home environment and dealt with it during undergrad. It's definitely tough, and I know how hard it can be to maintain school/work/volunteer/etc commitments. My situation particularly impacted my grades during second year. I personally chose not to mention the lower grades or my home life at any point during my application, for a number of reasons. I wrote a coherent-enough piece about wanting to go to law school and become a lawyer based on my school and work experience, and it, combined with my GPA and LSAT, was good enough to get me into all the schools I applied to. I'm a 2L student who has never been on admissions committee, so I really can't say anything with authority here, but I'm quite sure that if you have the GPA and LSAT, your personal statement doesn't have to be the most compelling piece of writing you've ever produced. I say this not to push you in either direction - you can absolutely choose to write about your home situation, especially if it's the reason you want to go to law school - but to let you know that you have options, and you don't have to mention it at all if you don't want to. A generic but well-written personal statement is probably what gets most applicants into law school anyway, although again, I've never been on an admissions committee. Ultimately it's your decision, but I hope this was at least somewhat helpful. If you'd like to discuss more, I'm happy to do so over PM. :)
  7. I think it really depends on how you learn best, and on how much money you're willing to spend on LSAT prep. I self-studied with the PowerScore Bibles (I didn't use any of their online resources or videos or anything) and I did fine. I didn't look into 7Sage at all so I can't comment on how useful one is over the other. I think some people get all stressed about what other people are doing rather than focusing on what works best for them (that isn't to say that you are one of those people, it's just a general observation). I'm pretty motivated and I was fairly confident I could figure it out myself, and if I really needed help with something, I could hire a tutor for an hour or two. I spent a couple of hundred dollars on the bibles and a few books of old LSATs, and I didn't end up needing a tutor. I would be willing to bet that a LOT of students could get away with that approach, but are too stressed about how everyone else is preparing that they end up dropping over $1000 on a course that they maybe didn't even need. Anyway, all of this depends on your natural abilities and how you learn and how you prefer to study, so really it's up to you. Hopefully my 2 cents is at least a little helpful. Good luck!
  8. In the interest of throwing another anecdote your way, I got in fairly early to Queen's, Ottawa, and Windsor with cGPA 3.52 L2 3.77 and a 165 LSAT (single write). My degree is in Biochemistry but I really don't think that holds much weight in the admission process. I didn't apply to the Toronto schools. I worked a lot during my undergrad in a few positions with a specific population (trying to maintain anonymity here) rather than volunteering in a lot of different areas. But I can say that it is for sure possible to get into Queen's and Ottawa with the numbers you have, because I did it. I'm just not sure how they weigh LORs and ECs and your PS, because I'm not on an admissions committee.
  9. Hey OP, I just (a few months ago) got into 3 Canadian law schools with a STEM degree. If you are applying to schools in Ontario, the OLSAS application has an entire section for research and publications, so any lab research you've done will look good there. All of my research and publications were STEM-related, so anecdotally I can say that that certainly didn't hurt my application. As far as ECs go, if you were gearing up for a med school application I would assume you have some volunteering/employment related to working with people and maybe some community service? If you do, that stuff is great for a law school application too. If you don't, my understanding is that law schools are looking for well-rounded candidates to fill their classes. Not everyone in law school was a poli sci major who was the chair of their pre-law club or whatever. Not that there's anything wrong with being that person, but law school would be pretty boring if everyone there did the exact same undergrad down to the ECs. I thought that my STEM background and employment history was something that made me stand out (a little bit... I'm not a particularly special candidate by any means) and I played off of that in my application. All of that is anecdotal; I'm not on the admissions committee at any schools. Once you write the LSAT you can check out the admitted threads on the individual school forums to get a good idea of where you might stand with your stats. Focus on your GPA and LSAT, they matter a whole lot more than your major, ECs, LORs, etc. Good luck!
  10. Hey, I'm using this exact PSLOC through TD (also super excited that I don't have to switch banks). You pay interest on what you've used from the LOC throughout school and articling, but you don't have to start paying anything more than interest until the year after the year after you're finished articling (that wasn't a typo btw - you only have to pay interest through articling and the year after. The year after that is when you have to start paying back the loan). This was my understanding anyways. For sure make an appointment and talk to a rep because they could explain it waaay better than I can. For anyone who's interested, I got approved for the full 125k and I didn't need a cosigner. I have been with the bank for years though, and I don't have any undergrad debt. As part of the deal you get a new Visa with a 5k limit, and you get to choose between Air Miles, travel points, and cash back.
  11. I never took a course, and I am honestly glad that I didn't. My timeline was similar to yours; I finished finals at the end of April, studied through the summer, and wrote in September. I figured I could rewrite in December if I needed to. The only difference was I took a year off after undergrad, so I wrote the September after I graduated and I didn't have to worry about school at the same time. After doing some pretty basic research on the LSAT and writing a diagnostic test, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on what the test required. I used the PowerScore Bibles (can't speak to 7Sage because I personally didn't use it but I've heard good things) to develop and refine some test-taking strategies. My logic was I could always get a private tutor for an hour or two at a time if I really struggled with something, but otherwise I really didn't feel like I would benefit from taking a course because I could figure most of it out on my own. It was a big time and money saver, in my opinion. FWIW, I never ended up getting a tutor and I scored a 165 on my first write. Obviously this depends on your individual circumstances - how you study, whether you're going straight from undergrad to law school, how much free time you have, how much money you have for prep courses, etc. Some people find prep courses really valuable. I personally think I would've found it to be a waste of time and money, to some degree anyway. Take a diagnostic test and make realistic decisions based on your personal study habits and abilities. Do what works best for you and once you've committed to a study plan, don't worry about what everyone else is doing - it'll just cause unnecessary stress. Good luck!
  12. Hey! I started studying in May for the September 2017 LSAT. I found that it was more than enough time, and I was working 2 jobs on top of studying. The LSAT is obviously a very important test, but it shouldn't take over your entire life for 4 months. Try to maintain some balance while you are studying in order to avoid burnout. I used all 3 PowerScore Bibles and I purchased several volumes of previous LSATs (I can't remember exactly how many). They were about $10 each on Amazon and in my opinion, absolutely worth the money. I took a cold diagnostic and scored a 155, worked my way up to consistently PT-ing in the 168-172 range, then hit 165 on test day. I took at least 1 full properly timed test per week (this included filling in the scantron sheets and writing the essay). I usually tore out an entire section from another test and added it to the one I was doing as an "experimental" section so that I was doing 6 half-hour sections in total, rather than just the 4. I took a 15 minute break between the 3rd and 4th sections and I was VERY strict about timing. I didn't score any sections until the whole thing was done and I was strict about scoring too. It's amazing how many people will give themselves an extra few minutes, or give themselves a point for a question when they though it might be C, selected B, and the correct answer was C. You kind of have to hold yourself accountable when you study because no one else will. On days that I didn't do practice tests, I'd usually do an hour or two of work from the Bibles. I can't comment on 7Sage because I didn't use it. Personally, I felt PowerScore was sufficient and I ended up happy with my score. I used the practice LSATs for studying as well - I would learn a strategy from the PowerScore books and practice it on chunks of old LSATs. Eventually I realized that parallel reasoning questions were a weakness of mine and I took an afternoon to go through a whole book of old LSATs just answering parallel reasoning questions. By the end of the summer I had done every single logic game in every single book I had. Again, really worth that $10 per book. I think the best advice I could give is to do your research, create a study schedule, and stick with it. Don't spend time looking up how other people are studying once you've started, because then it'll be mid-August and you'll hear about how someone else is scoring 175 with some other book you haven't purchased and you'll start to question your own methods. There's no point in making yourself crazy over that, it'll just add to the stress. TL;DR: take a diagnostic test, hold yourself accountable, do lots of practice tests, and don't worry about what everyone else is doing. I hope this helps - good luck!!
  13. Accepted yesterday! cGPA 3.52 LSAT 165 (September, only write) General applicant
  14. Got the email late yesterday afternoon cGPA 3.52 LSAT 165 Lots of work experience in community service, which was the focus of my PS Congrats to everyone, and good luck to those still waiting to hear!
  15. In! Saw it on SOLUS first, then got an email an hour or so later. General applicant cGPA 3.52 B2/L2 3.77 LSAT 165 (September, only write) Congrats to everyone that’s heard so far and good luck to everyone waiting to hear!
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