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Pros/Cons of Specific Schools

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Hi all, I'd like some pointers in the 'right' direction(s). After graduating with Bachelor's in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies (albeit with a less than satisfactory CGPA) at a recognized university, I've applied for and been offered admissions to the paralegal programs at Centennial, Humber, Seneca, and Sheridan.

 

Centennial offers a 3-sem program and a certificate at the end of it. Quite honestly after skimming through this forum, I'm less inclined to go here unless there's another reason to.

 

Humber has been heavily vouched for various times here. I've read that Humber offers to transfer you from its 4-sem diploma program to its 4-yr degree program in paralegal studies with a high enough GPA. However, I've also read that this is somewhat meaningless if one hopes to apply for law school within Canada as many, if not all law schools, doesn't recognize Humber's undergraduate degree as a legitimate requisite for application.

 

Seneca's another school that many name-dropped in terms of paralegal education. 3-sem acceleration diploma program. I've also read somewhere here that graduating with a diploma in paralegal makes you eligible for law school entry in Aus/NZ. Pretty neat, but also pretty meaningless and unnecessarily expensive unless I'm looking to move and practice there, is that right?

 

I'm actually conflicted on Seneca bc my benefactor (who's paying for my education) is quite biased against the school simply bc of its name brand (if that makes sense). Can I be given specific reasons to convince them that this is the place to be if this is the better choice? I don't have a foot in the door, so to speak, and don't know anyone personally in the law field to ask.

 

Sheridan is what my benefactor's eyeing at at the moment simply bc she (okay, my mother) heard that it's reputable and she knows someone that's gone there and came out "alright". I'd like something more solid than that if I'm going to invest a couple of years of my life and a couple grands back in school. 4-sem for a diploma in paralegal. This school hasn't been mentioned at all here so I was wondering if it's even worth considering if I've already been offered a seat at Humber and Seneca.

 

All schools offer time within their study period to gain work experience and that's honestly the most appealing part. I'd really like to get involved in my education this time in and out of school and I'd greatly appreciate any guidance, anedoctally or objectively, on which school would be able to offer that.

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What's your goal? Is it to:

  • Practice as a paralegal?
  • Get into law school?
  • Practice as a paralegal while leaving open the possibility of going to law school a few years down the line?
  • Get a paralegal certification while leaving open the possibility of going to law school immediately afterward?

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What's your goal? Is it to:

  • Practice as a paralegal?
  • Get into law school?
  • Practice as a paralegal while leaving open the possibility of going to law school a few years down the line?
  • Get a paralegal certification while leaving open the possibility of going to law school immediately afterward?

Option 3.

 

I figure if I'm going back to school for paralegal, I should get a feel for the field for a good couple of years in practice if possible before considering whether or not pursuing law is something I'd want to do or is even possible for me to do.

Edited by Wits

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Option 3.

 

I figure if I'm going back to school for paralegal, I should get a feel for the field for a good couple of years in practice if possible before considering whether or not pursuing law is something I'd want to do or is even possible for me to do.

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I would say all community colleges offer the same program regardless of name. I know several graduates from Centennial and Seneca that are doing well.

 

Bottom line is you have to figure out what works best with your schedule and move forward with your decision because at the end of it regardless of which community college you attend you still write the licensing exam.

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Seneca's another school that many name-dropped in terms of paralegal education. 3-sem acceleration diploma program. I've also read somewhere here that graduating with a diploma in paralegal makes you eligible for law school entry in Aus/NZ. Pretty neat, but also pretty meaningless and unnecessarily expensive unless I'm looking to move and practice there, is that right?

Doesn't a high school diploma make you eligible for law school as well?

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Doesn't a high school diploma make you eligible for law school as well?

I think the term I saw here in regards to this particular context were along the lines of "anyone with a pulse is eligible for law school in Australia". 

Not entirely sure how accurate that is but here we are.

I'm not at all interested in that bit, just something interesting I read about Seneca and its paralegal program.

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Hi all, I'd like some pointers in the 'right' direction(s). After graduating with Bachelor's in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies (albeit with a less than satisfactory CGPA) at a recognized university, I've applied for and been offered admissions to the paralegal programs at Centennial, Humber, Seneca, and Sheridan.

 

Centennial offers a 3-sem program and a certificate at the end of it. Quite honestly after skimming through this forum, I'm less inclined to go here unless there's another reason to.

 

Humber has been heavily vouched for various times here. I've read that Humber offers to transfer you from its 4-sem diploma program to its 4-yr degree program in paralegal studies with a high enough GPA. However, I've also read that this is somewhat meaningless if one hopes to apply for law school within Canada as many, if not all law schools, doesn't recognize Humber's undergraduate degree as a legitimate requisite for application.

 

Seneca's another school that many name-dropped in terms of paralegal education. 3-sem acceleration diploma program. I've also read somewhere here that graduating with a diploma in paralegal makes you eligible for law school entry in Aus/NZ. Pretty neat, but also pretty meaningless and unnecessarily expensive unless I'm looking to move and practice there, is that right?

 

I'm actually conflicted on Seneca bc my benefactor (who's paying for my education) is quite biased against the school simply bc of its name brand (if that makes sense). Can I be given specific reasons to convince them that this is the place to be if this is the better choice? I don't have a foot in the door, so to speak, and don't know anyone personally in the law field to ask.

 

Sheridan is what my benefactor's eyeing at at the moment simply bc she (okay, my mother) heard that it's reputable and she knows someone that's gone there and came out "alright". I'd like something more solid than that if I'm going to invest a couple of years of my life and a couple grands back in school. 4-sem for a diploma in paralegal. This school hasn't been mentioned at all here so I was wondering if it's even worth considering if I've already been offered a seat at Humber and Seneca.

 

All schools offer time within their study period to gain work experience and that's honestly the most appealing part. I'd really like to get involved in my education this time in and out of school and I'd greatly appreciate any guidance, anedoctally or objectively, on which school would be able to offer that.

It's good that you have narrowed down your choices and are only considering community colleges rather than career colleges. The difference between them has been discussed on the board ad nauseam, and everyone will have their own opinion and particular situation.

 

I think you might be going into this thought process a little backwards. You chose option 3 which was to become a paralegal with the option of going to law school in the future. There is nothing wrong with that. I'm actually glad that you rather try your hand at becoming a paralegal at a relatively lower cost than it would be to go to law school (money and time wise). At least you would know if the legal field is somewhere you want to be. If you really want to save money and time, volunteer at a paralegal or lawyer's office. See if you can shadow them. That would be the best way to see the day to day operation of a legal office and if you can commit to the field. I too am a Crim grad, and I think I only analyzed a case the way I have in law school once in undergrad, and it wasn't even for a crim course. I only mention it because you might not know what working in this field is like, and you only were exposed to a very particular field of law in your undergrad. 

 

All that being said, don't pick Humber because you can transfer your credits to an applied degree program. You have an undergraduate degree. This is what law schools will look at if you ever decide to apply. Your diploma and work experience will be considered a soft factor. There is no point to wasting more money and time on the applied degree if it gets you the same thing as the diploma, which is the ability to write the licensing exam. Is there any degree vs diploma prestige that makes one better than the other? I haven't seen it in the field. If anything I have seen more diploma grad paralegals actually working as paralegals and the degree grad paralegals working in administrative or assistant roles. As long as you are licensed and competent you can practise within the allowable scope. A lot of people also find more stable administrative or clerical jobs that they just don't bother to write the licensing exam. I personally know colleagues from my year that have found jobs working as a court clerk or law clerk/legal assistant and are happy. It all depends what you want to do with your diploma/license. 

 

Your choice of school in your situation should come down to where its easier to go to school. More or less it comes down to convenience. I can only speak for Humber's program because I am a grad, but I know all the programs you have mentioned have really developed good reputations over the last few years. I think some colleges are also competing in moots with each other and law schools.

 

If you have any question about Humber, you can PM me.  I also believe Hopping Hopper is another paralegal on the board who also went to law school after being a paralegal. He is a Seneca grad and I'm sure he would be willing to answer your questions about that program. If you are looking at the other schools, see if they can put you in touch with their grads. This way you can make an informed decision.

 

Good luck to you

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Those are all public colleges with perfectly decent reputations. One person's opinion of them based on anecdote is meaningless. Go to whichever school will be most convenient for you and will minimize your debt. Seriously. Those factors are going to be far more important than the fractional difference (if it could even be measured) between one and another. Convenience will allow you to concentrate more on your studies, will contribute to your quality of life while in school (not something to be dismissed) and will help you in terms of networking and job search (hugely important). And less debt will obviously help you in having more options down the road also.

 

Don't worry about any tangential claims that one school will help you get into some overseas law school (which would take you without that school anyway) or that another will help you transfer your credits. Frankly, if your grades aren't competitive for Canadian law schools right now then a paralegal diploma won't get you in, and if you decide to attend a foreign law school then you'll find one to accept you regardless. So concentrate on the two other factors noted above.

 

Good luck.

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Those are all public colleges with perfectly decent reputations. One person's opinion of them based on anecdote is meaningless. Go to whichever school will be most convenient for you and will minimize your debt. Seriously. Those factors are going to be far more important than the fractional difference (if it could even be measured) between one and another. Convenience will allow you to concentrate more on your studies, will contribute to your quality of life while in school (not something to be dismissed) and will help you in terms of networking and job search (hugely important). And less debt will obviously help you in having more options down the road also.

 

Don't worry about any tangential claims that one school will help you get into some overseas law school (which would take you without that school anyway) or that another will help you transfer your credits. Frankly, if your grades aren't competitive for Canadian law schools right now then a paralegal diploma won't get you in, and if you decide to attend a foreign law school then you'll find one to accept you regardless. So concentrate on the two other factors noted above.

 

Good luck.

Thank you for your detailed reply. I'm very doubtful I would even want to go to law school, at least that's me right now thinking about the near future, but I guess what I meant by my original post was that I was a little hopeful for the option to be there if I change my mind. Oh well, it's not the end of the world if (a Canadian) law school's out of my reach.

 

But yes, what you said about convenience was important and something I didn't consider. Especially since I want to place a lot of focus on networking as well.

 

Thanks again for you words :)

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Thanks to all who contributed to this thread.  I'm in somewhat of a similar situation - I have applied to and have been accepted to Humber and Centennial for January, and I need to choose where to go.  Both schools are pretty much equidistant from my place, so I don't think there is much of a difference in terms of convenience.

 

One thing I've asked both schools, but been unsuccessful at getting further information about, is with regards to scheduling - neither school will tell me anything about scheduling of classes before accepting their offer and paying.  Obviously the same schedules don't repeat semester after semester, but wondering if anybody can share their experiences.  Do all the programs attempt to clump classes together?  Did your program have classes every day of the week, or were they confined to 3 or 4 days of the week?  I'm hoping to work part-time while in school (I'm working full-time now, and work isn't thrilled with me taking classes), and if the programs are well-structured, I may be able to figure out how to work as well.

 

Any insight you can give me would be awesome!

 

Are there any other things that stood out for you all?  Cost of parking, incidental costs, etc?  Please share it all!

 

Thanks!

Steven

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I can only speak of the Humber diploma program and know nothing of how the degree program works.

 

When I was in it some 6 or 7 years ago, we had classes 5 days a week. depending on the class and credit worth I either had the same class twice a week or once a week for a bigger block of time. The classes are pretty much chosen for you all the way through. The only thing you get to choose is the 2 electives you do in semester 2 and 3. I had them in 3 and 4. As for the course content, they have changed quite a bit of it. It seems like you don't have to do a 300 level writing course anymore in semester 3, Intro to arts and sciences replaces the mandatory humanities course you have to take in first semester which is probably the same thing, they split evidence and advocacy into two separate courses, and they no longer teach immigration law for some reason.

 

My experience was pretty good. Took a while sometimes to get into the registrars office, if you want a transcript or to deal with your financial account. I know the parking lot has been expanded since I was there. Cost it good. I think they still run a frequent (every 10 minutes) shuttle service to a Queens plate parking lot right next to Woodbine mall. It used to be a bigger lot, but I think there is a bank there now. Its a little bit cheaper than parking right on campus.

 

I would try and speak with the academic coordinator of the program at the business school. They should be able to answer your questions. Also try to see if they can put you in touch with a more recent grad to speak about the scheduling and any of your concerns.

 

If there's anything else, you can PM

 

Good luck

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Thanks so much for your response!  Since writing this, I have been told that Humber is a superior program, and if that's the case, I will go there, regardless of all the other factors.  I have asked to speak to the coordinator, but they all want me to confirm and pay before they answer any specific questions!  I will do as you suggest and ask to speak with a recent grad - thanks for that.

 

I'm glad you brought up the electives - I may get credit for an arts course I took at U of T (I'm an engineer...)

 

Thanks again for your response - I may take you up on your offer at some point in the future.  I guess I now have to accept the offer and pay...here I go!

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