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EagerStudent

Which School do I have the best chance of getting into?

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The TL;DR:
Long story short, my cGPA during my first 2.5 years (75 credit hours) was 2.10/4.5. I have taken 60 credit hours after that and am graduating soon. My GPA during these last 60 credit hours has been 4.5/4.5.

However, due to my horrible first years, my GPA is obviously pretty shitty and only slightly above 3.0 in schools that use a 4.0 system or even a 4.3/4.5 system.

Background info if you want to know how I got to this situation: When I first entered university my goal was to get into medical school. I was admitted to a pretty competitive program and although I did okay in some courses, I failed 1 course that significantly killed my GPA. Due to this, I thought transferring universities would help me although I still had an ego problem so I transferred to a program of similar stature. Anyways, after a year and a half at this new school in the biochemistry program my GPA didn't change much and was still 2.1. I ended up writing my MCAT and scoring in the top percentile for it but realized that that didn't matter much because of my horrible GPA.

Midway through my third year I was feeling hopeless so I talked to my advisor and we talked about my interests and I ultimately decided I wanted to major in psychology. I decided to shadow the psychology program for the remainder of my third year, got a 4.5 GPA in that semester. Then I also took 5 courses in the summer between 3rd and 4th year and got a 4.5 GPA in that. First, semester of 4th year I got a 4.5 GPA too.  I'm also currently on pace to get a 4.5/4.5 GPA this semester too (my last semester) and will graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in biology and chemistry.

Questions:
I've decided that I'd like to practice Law and get into Law school as it's always been one of my interests. However, I have yet to write my LSAT. Ideally, I'd like to been in the January or September 2018 classes that start. I was wondering how much time I will need to dedicate to studying for it or any recommendations on the matter. Also, given my GPA situation, which universities would you recommend I apply to and don't apply to? Or just any other advice in general on Law School Admissions and applications. I've only recently made this decision and am very uneducated in the admissions process, as my focus prior to this was more on medicine.

Sorry about the long post but I just wanted to give everyone enough background to assess me situation and give me feedback. :)
 

Edited by EagerStudent

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I'd start with converting your GPA to the OLSAS scale so we can get a better idea of what your actual GPA is along with your L2 (last two years). After that, take a sample LSAT under test conditions (there are instructions in the PDF on how to accomplish this) and tell us your diagnostic score. It's not as good as the real thing and your score might be quite low (as are most people's cold diagnostic) but it's a start and can also give us an idea of how much you may need to study.

 

Lastly, I wanted to ask why you are considering law school? You said it's always been your interest but what do you mean by that? You struggled in the past with an area of study that was quite difficult and competitive and perhaps not entirely within your interest but yet you persisted because of your ego and (now I am speculating, merely because you referred to program stature) the perceived prestige of becoming a doctor. You should be certain that is not the reason you want to go to law school (prestige of a profession that typically highly regarded by laypeople) because you might run into the same issues you ran into with trying to get into med school. Law school is highly competitive and quite difficult so even if you do manage to get in, you run the risk of doing poorly, which would leave you with poor employment prospects and lots of debt.

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@Ryn
According to the website my stats are as follows:
 

Cumulative GPA (CGPA): 3.13  
Last two years (L2): 4.00  
Last three years (L3): 3.41  
Best two years (B2): 4.00  
Best three years (B3): 3.41

I will do the sample LSAT after this week as I have my last set of exams to complete, and get back to you on how I did.

By "I always have had an interest in law school" I mean that from a young age, Up until grade 10 even I wanted to be a Lawyer and practice Law. However, I come from an Asian background so my parents influenced me to not go into that field because they believed "Lawyers lie too much" and a bunch of other myths to persuade me to pursue the medical field instead since they believed that Medicine was the only right path forward and said that I was too smart to not do medicine and other Asian parent mind games to persuade me. It's safe to say that they were able to persuade me and getting into medical school become my new goal. As a result, I took all science courses in high school and continued this path for my undergraduate. I don't blame them at all for this because it was ultimately me that made the decision to pursue the path, not them.

However, since that time I feel like I've grown to be more independent from my parents, and much more humble due to some of those humbling/eye opener experiences and want to pursue what I initially wanted to as a kid.

Edit: Got GPA thing working

Edited by EagerStudent

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I'm fascinated by the concept of flunking out of two programs, including biochemistry but getting at least a 504 on the MCAT, a knowledge based exam. 

 

I have nothing to add to Ryn's post, except to note that in Canada there is no January 2018 class start date - all schools start in September (Well, August for 1L usually, but you get the gist). 

 

Quick edit: You have to fill out all boxes on the calculator to get an output, including course name and year. Also, I don't think "until I was in grade 10 I wanted to practice law" really answers the question of why you want to be a lawyer. It sort of just adds a timeline to your "I always wanted to be a lawyer" statement. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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I'm fascinated by the concept of flunking out of two programs, including biochemistry but getting at least a 504 on the MCAT, a knowledge based exam. 

 

I have nothing to add to Ryn's post, except to note that in Canada there is no January 2018 class start date - all schools start in September (Well, August for 1L usually, but you get the gist). 

 

Quick edit: You have to fill out all boxes on the calculator to get an output, including course name and year. Also, I don't think "until I was in grade 10 I wanted to practice law" really answers the question of why you want to be a lawyer. It sort of just adds a timeline to your "I always wanted to be a lawyer" statement. 

To clarify, I didn't flunk out of 2 programs. I had a low GPA after my first year of university so decided to transfer universities. I would've needed under 2.0 to be kicked out of the programs so I was meeting the bare minimum requirements. When I transferred to the new university I was really naive and had courses like Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and the 2nd parts of these courses in the 2nd semester due to poor course planning. I struggled with these courses regardless but part of it had to do with the course load and poor course planning.

 

During my last 2 years I've been more careful of this and not taking all of my difficult courses at once, matured as a student, and developed better studying habits.

 

As for my MCAT scores, I'm not sure where you got 504 from but when I wrote the MCAT (during my 2nd year of school) I got a 33. I'm unsure of what that is on current versions. I'm not sure if it was a fluke but I did perform as well or better on practice papers and had experience from taking standardized tests in high school (IB Program+SATs).

 

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To clarify, I didn't flunk out of 2 programs. I had a low GPA after my first year of university so decided to transfer universities. I would've needed under 2.0 to be kicked out of the programs so I was meeting the bare minimum requirements. When I transferred to the new university I was really naive and had courses like Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and the 2nd parts of these courses in the 2nd semester due to poor course planning. I struggled with these courses regardless but part of it had to do with the course load and poor course planning.

 

During my last 2 years I've been more careful of this and not taking all of my difficult courses at once, matured as a student, and developed better studying habits.

 

As for my MCAT scores, I'm not sure where you got 504 from but when I wrote the MCAT (during my 2nd year of school) I got a 33. I'm unsure of what that is on current versions. I'm not sure if it was a fluke but I did perform as well or better on practice papers and had experience from taking standardized tests in high school (IB Program+SATs).

 

 

Your course load in second semester doesn't sound all that heavy for a biochemistry major – I completed a biochemistry degree and had the same courses in my second semester of second year.  And a 33 on the MCAT was in the 91st percentile, just for the record. Top percentile on the old MCAT was a 39 through 42.

 

Regardless, I think Ryn is correct about you needing to reflect on the difficulty of law school. Most psychology degrees are relatively easy, especially if you're selecting courses to avoid difficult course loads, as you indicated. Law school is generally recognized as more difficult than most undergrads (with truly difficult hard sciences like engineering, math, etc being somewhat comparable, based on my reading), and as Ryn says, you've performed poorly in difficult programs in the past. I'm not saying that to knock you down or scare you away, just echoing Ryn's statement that it likely requires some self reflection. 

 

Given your cGPA I'd suggest you focus on schools that heavily weigh your last two years. You'd be eliminated from index schools like UBC and UVic based on your cGPA given anything but a truly stellar LSAT. You're also likely not competitive for U of T, Osgoode, or Ottawa (B3, cGPA, cGPA, respectively). You may have a chance at the other schools in Ontario, but without an LSAT score it's impossible to tell). 

 

Without knowing your diagnostic LSAT it's impossible to tell how long you'll need to prepare. I studied for 6 weeks for the LSAT, but my diagnostic was 160. If your diagnostic is in the low 150s or 140s you may need 2-3 months, while if you score lower than that you may need more than that. 

 

You also still haven't explained why you want to be a lawyer, just that you think you do and always thought you did. 

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Law, law school admissions and lawyer are not capitalized.

 

I also hope you're not thinking about the law school route because you couldn't get into med school. I don't want to put words in your mouth, but that's the implied drift kinda sprinkled throughout your post, at least to my interpretation. Law school is very expensive. You should only think about it if you have a real, genuine interest in law. Don't divert to it because you've exhausted other areas.

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Most psychology degrees are relatively easy, especially if you're selecting courses to avoid difficult course loads, as you indicated.

 

I agree with a lot of what you said but I would draw the line here. I don't think there's merit to discussing which programs are easier or harder (and, from what I understand, intro psych courses are easy — as are intro mostly anything — but the upper years are quite distinctly not) because it's just incomparable. Reasons range from variables tied to specific profs, courses, and schools, so discussing it will yield nothing of value because we don't know any of these factors nor can you really assign something objective to them.

 

Your comment about course loads does have something to it, however. Going part-time for a significant portion of a degree program does have an effect on one's chances of admission and certainly brings up questions about whether one can withstand the rigours of a full-time law program.

 

To OP: I should also add that while we have encouraged you to tell us why you want to go to law school, there really is no right answer. So if you don't really know or don't care to tell us that's fine but there's also nothing wrong with saying you want to do it because you want to have a respectable, prestigious career. Again, not to say that's the particular reason you want to be a lawyer, it just seems like it's the reason a lot of people want to be one and they're all afraid to say it.

 

Anyway, to answer your question about where you could apply. It's hard to say without your LSAT, so just do the diagnostic and let us know your score. Even so, your cGPA will put you out of the running at U of T, Osgoode, and Ottawa, like BQ said. L2 schools like Queen's and Western should be a good target, provided you get a good LSAT. Windsor and Lakehead might also be an option, as they tend to be more holistic, but both of them are black boxes as far as I know (i.e., I don't know what they look for, really) so I can't say much more about them. I also don't know anything about schools outside of Ontario, so someone else will have to chime in about that.

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Your course load in second semester doesn't sound all that heavy for a biochemistry major – I completed a biochemistry degree and had the same courses in my second semester of second year.  And a 33 on the MCAT was in the 91st percentile, just for the record. Top percentile on the old MCAT was a 39 through 42.

 

Regardless, I think Ryn is correct about you needing to reflect on the difficulty of law school. Most psychology degrees are relatively easy, especially if you're selecting courses to avoid difficult course loads, as you indicated. Law school is generally recognized as more difficult than most undergrads (with truly difficult hard sciences like engineering, math, etc being somewhat comparable, based on my reading), and as Ryn says, you've performed poorly in difficult programs in the past. I'm not saying that to knock you down or scare you away, just echoing Ryn's statement that it likely requires some self reflection. 

 

Given your cGPA I'd suggest you focus on schools that heavily weigh your last two years. You'd be eliminated from index schools like UBC and UVic based on your cGPA given anything but a truly stellar LSAT. You're also likely not competitive for U of T, Osgoode, or Ottawa (B3, cGPA, cGPA, respectively). You may have a chance at the other schools in Ontario, but without an LSAT score it's impossible to tell). 

 

Without knowing your diagnostic LSAT it's impossible to tell how long you'll need to prepare. I studied for 6 weeks for the LSAT, but my diagnostic was 160. If your diagnostic is in the low 150s or 140s you may need 2-3 months, while if you score lower than that you may need more than that. 

 

You also still haven't explained why you want to be a lawyer, just that you think you do and always thought you did. 

I agree that it doesn't sound heavy for a biochem major. However, it is still relatively heavy compared to many other majors. Also, in retrospect I could've made things easier for myself by taking a few of those in the summer rather than all at once. Although, you seem like a bright individual and seem to have managed I know many others that dispersed these courses throughout the summers and years to lighten the load.

 

I also agree most psychology degrees are relatively easier than programs such as the one you've graduated from. However, I could be wrong on this but I'm pretty sure most people admitted to law school don't come from as rigorous backgrounds as you have. I have friends at UOttawa doing Law who came from backgrounds such as a BFA, BA in English Literature and other majors I'd say are not as difficult as your major. These people seem to be doing fine in school.

 

Also, to clarify when I say I selected courses to avoid difficult course loads, I do not mean that I took easy electives to fill out my courses. Due to switching majors, my electives for my degree are all the biochem classes I did poorly on. I had to do only the compulsory courses but I managed them better. It's difficult to explain to a biochem major since most courses have 2 parts but for example, say I had 10 required courses, 5 of which were difficulty level 5/5, and the other were 3/5. Then I would take the 3 of the 5/5 with 2 of the 3/5 rather than doing all 5/5 courses at once and 3/5 difficulty courses in another term.

 

As for why I want to do law, without giving away too much online, due to events experienced as a child around my family I've been wanted to be involved in the family law sector. Outside of those events as a child, while watching shows such as "Shark Tank" and reading online about businesses, corporations and more corporate law has also intrigued me but I'd say my passion is still towards the family law side for personal reasons.

 

Thanks for the rest of the feedback on the schools though.

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Your course load in second semester doesn't sound all that heavy for a biochemistry major – I completed a biochemistry degree and had the same courses in my second semester of second year.  And a 33 on the MCAT was in the 91st percentile, just for the record. Top percentile on the old MCAT was a 39 through 42.

 

Regardless, I think Ryn is correct about you needing to reflect on the difficulty of law school. Most psychology degrees are relatively easy, especially if you're selecting courses to avoid difficult course loads, as you indicated. Law school is generally recognized as more difficult than most undergrads (with truly difficult hard sciences like engineering, math, etc being somewhat comparable, based on my reading), and as Ryn says, you've performed poorly in difficult programs in the past. I'm not saying that to knock you down or scare you away, just echoing Ryn's statement that it likely requires some self reflection. 

 

Given your cGPA I'd suggest you focus on schools that heavily weigh your last two years. You'd be eliminated from index schools like UBC and UVic based on your cGPA given anything but a truly stellar LSAT. You're also likely not competitive for U of T, Osgoode, or Ottawa (B3, cGPA, cGPA, respectively). You may have a chance at the other schools in Ontario, but without an LSAT score it's impossible to tell). 

 

Without knowing your diagnostic LSAT it's impossible to tell how long you'll need to prepare. I studied for 6 weeks for the LSAT, but my diagnostic was 160. If your diagnostic is in the low 150s or 140s you may need 2-3 months, while if you score lower than that you may need more than that. 

 

You also still haven't explained why you want to be a lawyer, just that you think you do and always thought you did. 

I agree that it doesn't sound heavy for a biochem major. However, it is still relatively heavy compared to many other majors. Also, in retrospect I could've made things easier for myself by taking a few of those in the summer rather than all at once. Although, you seem like a bright individual and seem to have managed I know many others that dispersed these courses throughout the summers and years to lighten the load.

 

I also agree most psychology degrees are relatively easier than programs such as the one you've graduated from. However, I could be wrong on this but I'm pretty sure most people admitted to law school don't come from as rigorous backgrounds as you have. I have friends at UOttawa doing Law who came from backgrounds such as a BFA, BA in English Literature and other majors I'd say are not as difficult as your major. These people seem to be doing fine in school.

 

Also, to clarify when I say I selected courses to avoid difficult course loads, I do not mean that I took easy electives to fill out my courses. Due to switching majors, my electives for my degree are all the biochem classes I did poorly on. I had to do only the compulsory courses but I managed them better. It's difficult to explain to a biochem major since most courses have 2 parts but for example, say I had 10 required courses, 5 of which were difficulty level 5/5, and the other were 3/5. Then I would take the 3 of the 5/5 with 2 of the 3/5 rather than doing all 5/5 courses at once and 3/5 difficulty courses in another term.

 

As for why I want to do law, without giving away too much online, due to events experienced as a child around my family I've been wanted to be involved in the family law sector. Outside of those events as a child, while watching shows such as "Shark Tank" and reading online about businesses, corporations and more corporate law has also intrigued me but I'd say my passion is still towards the family law side for personal reasons.

 

Thanks for the rest of the feedback on the schools though.

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I agree with a lot of what you said but I would draw the line here. I don't think there's merit to discussing which programs are easier or harder (and, from what I understand, intro psych courses are easy — as are intro mostly anything — but the upper years are quite distinctly not) because it's just incomparable. Reasons range from variables tied to specific profs, courses, and schools, so discussing it will yield nothing of value because we don't know any of these factors nor can you really assign something objective to them.

 

Your comment about course loads does have something to it, however. Going part-time for a significant portion of a degree program does have an effect on one's chances of admission and certainly brings up questions about whether one can withstand the rigours of a full-time law program.

 

To OP: I should also add that while we have encouraged you to tell us why you want to go to law school, there really is no right answer. So if you don't really know or don't care to tell us that's fine but there's also nothing wrong with saying you want to do it because you want to have a respectable, prestigious career. Again, not to say that's the particular reason you want to be a lawyer, it just seems like it's the reason a lot of people want to be one and they're all afraid to say it.

 

Anyway, to answer your question about where you could apply. It's hard to say without your LSAT, so just do the diagnostic and let us know your score. Even so, your cGPA will put you out of the running at U of T, Osgoode, and Ottawa, like BQ said. L2 schools like Queen's and Western should be a good target, provided you get a good LSAT. Windsor and Lakehead might also be an option, as they tend to be more holistic, but both of them are black boxes as far as I know (i.e., I don't know what they look for, really) so I can't say much more about them. I also don't know anything about schools outside of Ontario, so someone else will have to chime in about that.

 

I'd push back a bit on the issue of degree difficulty. The limited analysis I've seen on this issue shows that sciences, math, and engineering have significantly lower GPAs that social sciences. For example, Koedel, in his 2011 paper Grading Standards in Education Departments at Universities showed that the 50th percentile "hard science" (Bio/Chem/Math/Physics/Comp Sci) had a weighted GPA of 2.88, 2.89, and 2.92 at three universities. The same weighted GPA for the "social sciences" (Poly Sci/Psych/Soc) was 3.07, 3.00, and 3.03. The supplemental data also shows that the psychology departments had the highest average GPA of the three social sciences at two of the three universities. 

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I agree with a lot of what you said but I would draw the line here. I don't think there's merit to discussing which programs are easier or harder (and, from what I understand, intro psych courses are easy — as are intro mostly anything — but the upper years are quite distinctly not) because it's just incomparable. Reasons range from variables tied to specific profs, courses, and schools, so discussing it will yield nothing of value because we don't know any of these factors nor can you really assign something objective to them.

 

Your comment about course loads does have something to it, however. Going part-time for a significant portion of a degree program does have an effect on one's chances of admission and certainly brings up questions about whether one can withstand the rigours of a full-time law program.

 

To OP: I should also add that while we have encouraged you to tell us why you want to go to law school, there really is no right answer. So if you don't really know or don't care to tell us that's fine but there's also nothing wrong with saying you want to do it because you want to have a respectable, prestigious career. Again, not to say that's the particular reason you want to be a lawyer, it just seems like it's the reason a lot of people want to be one and they're all afraid to say it.

 

Anyway, to answer your question about where you could apply. It's hard to say without your LSAT, so just do the diagnostic and let us know your score. Even so, your cGPA will put you out of the running at U of T, Osgoode, and Ottawa, like BQ said. L2 schools like Queen's and Western should be a good target, provided you get a good LSAT. Windsor and Lakehead might also be an option, as they tend to be more holistic, but both of them are black boxes as far as I know (i.e., I don't know what they look for, really) so I can't say much more about them. I also don't know anything about schools outside of Ontario, so someone else will have to chime in about that.

I did not go part time during any portion of my degree. I just adjusted the courses I was taking. I've maintained 5 courses/term the entire time.

 

Thank you for your insight on the different universities. I will try to get back to this thread with my sample LSAT score asap.

Edited by EagerStudent

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(If anyone wants to get into the hundredth round of "Which Degrees Are Harder", perhaps they can start a new thread or use the search function to find the last dozen or so from the last six months. Just recognizing the imminent derail and trying to avoid it.)

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