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KingMaker10

Question about UofT's alleged prestige

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Let me preface this by saying that I acknowledge that UofT's median LSAT score is far and away the most competitive in Canada.

 

However if admissions competitiveness is what usually is held as the measurement for a school's prestige, is UofT really all that much better than some other schools?

 

Its roughly 3.8 median GPA is based on B3 rather than CGPA. I find that very misleading and have a difficult time accrpting that a 3.8 B3 gpa is more difficult to achieve than a 3.67 CGPA (Osgoode) or a 3.7 CGPA (McGill). A lot of us have our GPA's anchored by a bad year, and if UofT eliminates that from their calculations while some other schools don't, does that make its ostensibly sky high median gpa all that impressive?

 

I personally know of people who have CGPAs below osgoode's median but B3 around UofT's median who have gotten accepted into UofT. However when they release their class profile stats, you won't see the weakness in overall CGPA since it's veiled by a high B3. Again I do find the notion that the best students with the best stats typically go to UofT as misleading since B3 is a more forgiving measurement of academic success than CGPA.

 

And if prestige is how the school justifies it's soaring tuition rates then I find UofT's argument fairly weak. Since it can't justify students paying a 20-30% premium on somewhat better job placement numbers in one field (Bay st) alone.

 

So is UofT's prestige really that much of a given? It's median LSAT is without question elite. But I would hesitate to say it's median gpa is more impressive than some other schools. Which makes me seriously question the allure of UofT

Edited by KingMaker10

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The "prestige" factor has been talked to death in this forum, and will likely inevitably come up every year.

 

Uriel has some good thoughts on whether the U of T tuition premium is worth the cost, being a U of T grad himself. Worth reading through some of that.

 

The reality is for most Ontario schools that there is no real justification for the sky-high tuition. And it is not just U of T, although they are the worst.

 

Look at Western's tuition. When I looked at Western as an option in my undergrad, tuition was about $18k. 2-3 years later, it is now almost $22k, plus estimated $1.3 k in books and supplies. That's crazy talk.

 

Other provinces are way ahead of Ontario on LS tuition. Alberta, BC, and Quebec all have far more reasonable tuition rates.

 

But I have digressed substantially. To the crux of your question, you will get a great legal education at any school in Canada, prestige is largely irrelevant here unlike the States. Sure, U of T is most likely to land you on Bay Street, but a lot of factors, including proximity, contribute to that.

 

I have no doubt that U of T has great faculty, courses, and support. Every other Canadian law school has the same. Choose your school based on best fit for you, not some crazy idea of elitism in law school. Once you are practicing, no one is going to care except for the Law Faculty coming after you for money and free speaking engagements.

Edited by Draken
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And if prestige is how the school justifies it's soaring tuition rates then I find UofT's argument fairly weak. Since it can't justify students paying a 20-30% premium on somewhat better job placement numbers in one field (Bay st) alone.

 

So is UofT's prestige really that much of a given? It's median LSAT is without question elite. But I would hesitate to say it's median gpa is more impressive than some other schools. Which makes me seriously question the allure of UofT

 

If you want to attend a law school located in the downtown core of a significant city and have the best possible opportunity of a Bay Street job go to the U of T. For some people that's quite the allure...for others not so much.

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The "prestige" factor has been talked to death in this forum, and will likely inevitably come up every year.

 

Uriel has some good thoughts on whether the U of T tuition premium is worth the cost, being a U of T grad himself. Worth reading through some of that.

 

The reality is for most Ontario schools that there is no real justification for the sky-high tuition. And it is not just U of T, although they are the worst.

 

Look at Western's tuition. When I looked at Western as an option in my undergrad, tuition was about $18k. 2-3 years later, it is now almost $22k, plus estimated $1.3 k in books and supplies. That's crazy talk.

 

Other provinces are way ahead of Ontario on LS tuition. Alberta, BC, and Quebec all have far more reasonable tuition rates.

 

But I have digressed substantially. To the crux of your question, you will get a great legal education at any school in Canada, prestige is largely irrelevant here unlike the States. Sure, U of T is most likely to land you on Bay Street, but a lot of factors, including proximity, contribute to that.

 

I have no doubt that U of T has great faculty, courses, and support. Every other Canadian law school has the same. Choose your school based on best fit for you, not some crazy idea of elitism in law school. Once you are practicing, no one is going to care except for the Law Faculty coming after you for money and free speaking engagements.

I agree with everything you have said here. I'm actually no longer considering UofT as a legitimate option based on the campus culture, the price, and the overall rampant elitism I find will exist due to its unquestioned position as Canada's most competitive school (I did my undergrad there). So unofficial, "word-of-mouth" prestige is definitely not a factor I put much weight on.

 

My inquiry was meant to determine if there is as much substance, as is assumed by many people, in UofT's alleged prestige. Because I feel like their use of B3 is meant to artificially make their numbers appear far superior than they actually are. If their CGPA was close to their B3 then I'd see no reason for them not to use that measurement as some other schools do. Just looking to see if there is anything to my suspicions that's all

Edited by KingMaker10

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I agree with everything you have said here. I'm actually no longer considering UofT as a legitimate option based on the campus culture, the price, and the overall rampant elitism I find will exist due to its unquestioned position as Canada's most competitive school (I did my undergrad there). So unofficial, "word-of-mouth" prestige is definitely not a factor I put much weight on.

 

My inquiry was meant to determine if there is as much substance, as is assumed by many people, in UofT's alleged prestige. Because I feel like their use of B3 is meant to artificially make their numbers appear far superior than they actually are. If their CGPA was close to their B3 then I'd see no reason for them not to use that measurement as some other schools do. Just looking to see if there is anything to my suspicions that's all

 

Would you mind elaborating on how the the elitist culture manifests itself? Thanks.

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Let me preface this by saying that I acknowledge that UofT's median LSAT score is far and away the most competitive in Canada.

 

 

I actually do not think this is true.  UBC and U Victoria have very similar LSAT scores the last time I checked.

 

I think some people are influenced by UofT being the "most prestigious" school in Canada, and somewhat equate that with HYS in the USA.  The problem though is that going to those schools helps you much more in the USA relative to other schools, and that the gap in the US is also much greater.

 

edit, ubc 166 http://www.allard.ubc.ca/application-requirements-frequently-asked-questions

 

uvic can't find

Edited by catchthetraiin
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I agree with everything you have said here. I'm actually no longer considering UofT as a legitimate option based on the campus culture, the price, and the overall rampant elitism I find will exist due to its unquestioned position as Canada's most competitive school (I did my undergrad there). So unofficial, "word-of-mouth" prestige is definitely not a factor I put much weight on.

 

My inquiry was meant to determine if there is as much substance, as is assumed by many people, in UofT's alleged prestige. Because I feel like their use of B3 is meant to artificially make their numbers appear far superior than they actually are. If their CGPA was close to their B3 then I'd see no reason for them not to use that measurement as some other schools do. Just looking to see if there is anything to my suspicions that's all

 

Periodically I will be in a discussion where a lawyer will show a passing interest in where another lawyer attended law school. If it goes much beyond this and U of T is referenced there may be some acknowledgement that the U of T has relatively high admission standards. I can't recall a prospective client ever asking where someone attended law school. 

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There are a lot of reasons someone's first year can go off the rails. Someone with a 3.8 B3 and maybe 3.4 cGPA is probably still stronger than a consistently 3.6 student. I agree that it's not an apples to apples comparison if you're only looking at stats between schools, but I think B3 is still an accurate representation of how well students can perform. 

 

I'm not entirely convinced that you have a better shot of landing a Bay Street job at UofT than elsewhere. Just based one heavier competition in terms of whatever the heck the LSAT tests for and more academically focused students, can you really say that the same student's chances are better at UofT? On the other hand, some UofT students think they would have had a better shot at a "less competitive school" by standing out in the field. I don't know if that's necessarily true either; I think you are the candidate you are. (Although at those schools they may have had better chances at certain opportunities: clinics, moots, etc.)

 

Go to UofT if you work better under pressure (and if you don't, maybe think about it a little more), if you really want to live in downtown TO, or if there are certain UofT-specific opportunities you're really interested in. Obviously weigh those benefits against the costs of tuition, debt, living expenses, and so on.  

Edited by kiamia

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I actually do not think this is true. UBC and U Victoria have very similar LSAT scores the last time I checked.

 

I think some people are influenced by UofT being the "most prestigious" school in Canada, and somewhat equate that with HYS in the USA. The problem though is that going to those schools helps you much more in the USA relative to other schools, and that the gap in the US is also much greater.

 

edit, ubc 166 http://www.allard.ubc.ca/application-requirements-frequently-asked-questions

 

uvic can't find

Sorry! Thanks for clarifying my misconception, which ironically strengthens my suspicion that UofT's prestige (based on stats) is more fabrication and Trumpian style marketing (if you say something enough times people will eventually believe it ) than it is based on substance. It's gpa is highly misleading and even it's lsat is not heads and shoulders above some west coast schools. Having a rhetorical affiliation with HYS is a tenuous basis for prestige I find.

 

Also Constant's real world experience also seems to confirm that UofT's prestige is not as rooted in facts as the common narrative suggests

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There are a lot of reasons someone's first year can go off the rails. Someone with a 3.8 B3 and maybe 3.4 cGPA is probably still stronger than a consistently 3.6 student. I agree that it's not an apples to apples comparison if you're only looking at stats between schools, but I think B3 is still an accurate representation of how well students can perform.

 

I'm not entirely convinced that you have a better shot of landing a Bay Street job at UofT than elsewhere. Just based one heavier competition in terms of whatever the heck the LSAT tests for and more academically focused students, can you really say that the same student's chances are better at UofT? On the other hand, some UofT students think they would have had a better shot at a "less competitive school" by standing out in the field. I don't know if that's necessarily true either; I think you are the candidate you are. (Although at those schools they may have had better chances at certain opportunities: clinics, moots, etc.)

 

Go to UofT if you work better under pressure (and if you don't, maybe think about it a little more), if you really want to live in downtown TO, or if there are certain UofT-specific opportunities you're really interested in. Obviously weigh those benefits against the costs of tuition, debt, living expenses, and so on.

I didn't intend on discussing the merit of using B3 vs CGPA. Rather I was pointing to the fact that B3 artificially makes UofTs median gpa, along with its competitiveness and therefore it's prestige stronger than it actually is. I'd be interested to see what UofT's cgpa is. I can almost guarantee it will be quite lower than its B3. Vice versa is also probably true too. cgpa schools probably would have much higher medians if they used B3

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I'm not entirely convinced that you have a better shot of landing a Bay Street job at UofT than elsewhere. Just based one heavier competition in terms of whatever the heck the LSAT tests for and more academically focused students, can you really say that the same student's chances are better at UofT?  

 

For what it's worth...http://ultravires.ca/2016/11/2016-toronto-fall-recruitment-summer-student-hiring/

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If you have overall better students, is it really that surprising if more of those students get jobs? Is that a function of the school itself or the quality of their enrollees? Hence why I said the same student. If a student is in the top 50% of UofT, they would probably be in the top 25% of Osgoode, and get a Bay Street job either way. So does it really matter which school they go to? Also, pretty sure this has been pointed out A LOT before. 

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You are stating those statistics as though they are facts. They aren't. I provided some objective evidence.

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You are stating those statistics as though they are facts. They aren't. I provided some objective evidence.

 

 

And I added context to your "objective evidence" which btw was just one set of numbers. 

 

Another set would be that the UofT median LSAT (the most directly comparable stat) is 167 (94th percentile). As in, 50% of the students have that LSAT or higher. Osgoode's median is ~161 (82nd percentile). Not saying the LSAT by itself is determinative of anything, but if everyone has the ability to get good grades, it could make the difference. 

Edited by kiamia

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You're right to be skeptical of the numbers. But use your skepticism as a stepping stone to look past the notion of prestige and see what the school and its surrounding community as a whole can offer. 

 

You asked about allure? I came to UofT because of the faculty's excellent reputation (especially in private law), the prospect of great classmates, and the chance to live in downtown Toronto for at least a few years. So far, I've gotten what I wanted out of the experience.

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This is a conversation that has been had so many times around here that I'm exhausted and crotchety even thinking about it. Don't be surprised if the overwhelming majority of our credible posters with anything intelligent to say about this choose not to weigh in on the trillionth iteration.

"prestige" is, by definition, socially constructed. There's never perfect alignment between how much "prestige" you think something has, how much "prestige" the person you're trying to impress thinks something has, and how much prestige you think the person you're trying to impress thinks something has. Look: I had a bad time at York in my undergrad. Not the conventional "every undergrad is grumpy" bad time; a legit "would not wish this on my worst enemy, well, okay, maybe on my worst enemy, but certainly not on my second-worst enemy" bad time. There are numerous lawyers here (I believe whereverjustice is one) who graduated from Osgoode, who speak well of the place, who are convincing in their claims that Osgoode is distinct from York, and who have more than earned my respect. I believe them, I trust them, I am in no way impugning the quality of their legal education. And if I somehow ended up trapped in some banana republic, was on the verge of being executed, and needed to hire a well-respected international lawyer to rescue me, and I somehow had a choice between universally adulated former Osgoode professor Louise Arbour and some 23-year-old who graduated at the bottom of her class at Cooley and couldn't find the country I was in on a map, I'm going to pick the one who was never affiliated with York, because fuck York.

 

That strikes you as unreasonable? It is! Some people like U of T. Whether that's reasonable or not, it's a thing, and it's a thing that affects the environment in which any 0L is trying to operate. We can either complain about how U of T thinks it's the Harvard of Canada but really it's no better than TriOs College and so people who think U of T is good are being so stupid and elitist, or we can accept that numerous environmental factors (outlined upthread by Constant) have led to "U of T's alleged prestige" being a real thing which several 0Ls whining on the internet are not, are not, are not going to derail.

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If you want to attend a law school located in the downtown core of a significant city and have the best possible opportunity of a Bay Street job go to the U of T. For some people that's quite the allure...for others not so much.

 

It's not just that, though.  Regardless of whether you want to go to Bay Street or not, there is a difference in the background of your professors and what they can offer, and the quality of discussion etc. among your cohort, as well as funding, opportunities, outreach etc. provided by alumni and others.

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Let me preface this by saying that I acknowledge that UofT's median LSAT score is far and away the most competitive in Canada.

However if admissions competitiveness is what usually is held as the measurement for a school's prestige, is UofT really all that much better than some other schools?

Its roughly 3.8 median GPA is based on B3 rather than CGPA. I find that very misleading and have a difficult time accrpting that a 3.8 B3 gpa is more difficult to achieve than a 3.67 CGPA (Osgoode) or a 3.7 CGPA (McGill). A lot of us have our GPA's anchored by a bad year, and if UofT eliminates that from their calculations while some other schools don't, does that make its ostensibly sky high median gpa all that impressive?

I personally know of people who have CGPAs below osgoode's median but B3 around UofT's median who have gotten accepted into UofT. However when they release their class profile stats, you won't see the weakness in overall CGPA since it's veiled by a high B3. Again I do find the notion that the best students with the best stats typically go to UofT as misleading since B3 is a more forgiving measurement of academic success than CGPA.

And if prestige is how the school justifies it's soaring tuition rates then I find UofT's argument fairly weak. Since it can't justify students paying a 20-30% premium on somewhat better job placement numbers in one field (Bay st) alone.

So is UofT's prestige really that much of a given? It's median LSAT is without question elite. But I would hesitate to say it's median gpa is more impressive than some other schools. Which makes me seriously question the allure of UofT

UofT's students are elite - as a group they are materially stronger than other schools (although there are certainly exceptional students at other schools). The numbers don't fully reflect the difference in quality - the number of people in my class with graduate degrees, or remarkable work experience was telling. UofT itself, meh, as a school is not that much different from other top Canadian law schools, but its student body is exceptional.

 

What justifies its tuition? It's in Toronto. Like, actual Toronto, not North York (ahem, Osgoode). Back in the day I paid a pretty premium to go to UofT for the sole reason that I didn't want to schlep up to York (Osgoode is a fine school, but it's located at the anus of the universe). Similarly Kingston and London are nice cities, but by the time most people are going to law school the allure of the university town has grown old. UofT also has a nice campus close to lots of things that law students are likely to be interested in (if you're a litigation keener geek, spending your Friday at old city hall or 361 university is more fun than visiting the finch courthouse).

 

What else justifies its tuition? Well, people pay it, so why not charge it. They also use some of that money to fund student aid so the sticker price may not reflect the actual tuition paid by many of its students (though others would be better situated to comment on that).

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