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Transfer students, what're your thoughts on your decision?

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I did a thorough search of the forum and came across a smattering of threads about transferring, but nothing about life after the move.

 

If you're a transfer student, I'm interested in knowing how your decision played out. Did you feel disconnected from your 2L/3L class? Why did you make the move? Would you do it again?

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as someone who considered transferring after 1L but decided against it, I can tell you this: don't underestimate how much things can change in one year.

 

I know of a couple of people who transferred from my school to one in their home province, and they had strong reasons for doing so, e.g. a serious relationship, or health issues. But they arguably sacrificed a lot of their 1L experience because transferring (and doing whatever was necessary to ensure it would be successful) was the only thing on their minds. 

 

In other words, unless you have a reason for transferring other than "I want to return to X city", no one is going to be able to tell you what your 1L experience will be like, which may play a big role in whether you decide to transfer or not. 

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as someone who considered transferring after 1L but decided against it, I can tell you this: don't underestimate how much things can change in one year.

 

I know of a couple of people who transferred from my school to one in their home province, and they had strong reasons for doing so, e.g. a serious relationship, or health issues. But they arguably sacrificed a lot of their 1L experience because transferring (and doing whatever was necessary to ensure it would be successful) was the only thing on their minds. 

 

In other words, unless you have a reason for transferring other than "I want to return to X city", no one is going to be able to tell you what your 1L experience will be like, which may play a big role in whether you decide to transfer or not. 

 

Curious about this. Aren't 1L grades the most important factor in determining whether a transfer student is successful? I would assume, and I've heard this specifically about UofA (a lot of KG-JD's), that most students aim for the highest grades possible while also maintaining a healthy amount of EC's. So what did these individuals do to sacrifice a lot of their 1L experience?

Edited by GameTime180

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Curious about this. Aren't 1L grades the most important factor in determining whether a transfer student is successful? I would assume, and I've heard this specifically about UofA (a lot of KG-JD's), that most students aim for the highest grades possible while also maintaining a healthy amount of EC's. So what did these individuals do to sacrifice a lot of their 1L experience?

 

To the person you're quoting, feel free to correct me, but I imagine by 1L experience they didn't necessarily mean academics/ECs but rather the community vibe/feeling of belonging that comes with most 1L experiences. I can imagine if you're focused on leaving the next year, even if you don't tell anyone and try to hide that from people, your focus will be elsewhere and you'll lose out on a lot of "team building"/friendships. Hell, I feel it myself knowing i'll be moving back to TO (from Montreal) when i'm done whereas most of the class won't be taking that route, so I can only imagine it'd be a lot worse with a transfer looming.

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To the person you're quoting, feel free to correct me, but I imagine by 1L experience they didn't necessarily mean academics/ECs but rather the community vibe/feeling of belonging that comes with most 1L experiences. I can imagine if you're focused on leaving the next year, even if you don't tell anyone and try to hide that from people, your focus will be elsewhere and you'll lose out on a lot of "team building"/friendships. Hell, I feel it myself knowing i'll be moving back to TO (from Montreal) when i'm done whereas most of the class won't be taking that route, so I can only imagine it'd be a lot worse with a transfer looming.

 

I had a feeling it would have to do with that. You'll never truly try to engage the law school community if you have plans of leaving, and it probably shows. Also, since you're already here, did you notice transfers into your school getting treated differently? Were they ever able to build friendships similar to those that are the result of 1L team building/sharing the same new experiences together?

 

 

Edit: the part about building friendships/relationships is probably hard to fully answer, as you can't follow what every student does, but just looking for anything you might've noticed or heard.

Edited by GameTime180

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Curious about this. Aren't 1L grades the most important factor in determining whether a transfer student is successful? I would assume, and I've heard this specifically about UofA (a lot of KG-JD's), that most students aim for the highest grades possible while also maintaining a healthy amount of EC's. So what did these individuals do to sacrifice a lot of their 1L experience?

 

"sacrifice" is contextual based on the individual. I don't know whether the person I'm referring to thinks they "sacrificed" anything, since it was their ultimate goal to transfer and they did everything possible to ensure it happened (which it did). 

 

I say that they "arguably" sacrificed some of the 1L experience in general terms because they may or may not have participated in ECs, or maybe they didn't go out often, or didn't try all that hard to make friends because they knew they would be leaving, etc. Again, what you want out of the 1L experience is gonna depend on you and your own goals. 

 

The only thing I wanted to suggest with my post is this: ride out your 1L year and don't close yourself off to opportunities in front of you, unless you are so hell-bent on transferring that nothing was going to stop you anyway.

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"sacrifice" is contextual based on the individual. I don't know whether the person I'm referring to thinks they "sacrificed" anything, since it was their ultimate goal to transfer and they did everything possible to ensure it happened (which it did). 

 

I say that they "arguably" sacrificed some of the 1L experience in general terms because they may or may not have participated in ECs, or maybe they didn't go out often, or didn't try all that hard to make friends because they knew they would be leaving, etc. Again, what you want out of the 1L experience is gonna depend on you and your own goals. 

 

The only thing I wanted to suggest with my post is this: ride out your 1L year and don't close yourself off to opportunities in front of you, unless you are so hell-bent on transferring that nothing was going to stop you anyway.

 

Great information for the thread, thanks.

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I transferred, but from an American school to an Ontario school. My goal from the start was to do as well as possible and transfer. If I was stuck in the states, it would not be the end of the world, but I ultimately wanted to work in Canada. I made a few friends at my old school that I keep in touch with, but did not participate as much in ECs and clubs just because I was focusing on my grades. Arriving in Canada, I had to take two first year courses and the rest upper year. I've made new friends with mostly the other transfer students that were in the same boat as me. I wasn't able to participate in the 1L orientation because my upper year classes started already so I was disconnected from my 1L sections minus the other transfer students. I feel a bit disconnected with the upper year students, but that is mostly due to my personality and the fact that I'm older than the average 1L and 2L.

 

This year I also haven't been able to participate in ECs as much as I would have liked just because I have been focusing on my grades. I didn't receive any OCI interviews partially because I applied to only a handful of employers where I am most interested, and also because my US grades were the only law school grades I had available. I would like to have high Canadian grades to match my US ones for my articling applications this spring and summer and so far so good.

 

I know my situation is a little different because I am coming from an American school, but I don't regret my decision to transfer at all. 

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UO to OZ

 

Didn't miss anything

Did my undergrad at York.

 

I still social with my friends from UO and

most of them are now in Toronto.

 

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UO to OZ Didn't miss anything Did my undergrad at York. I still social with my friends from UO and most of them are now in Toronto.

 

great decision.

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I transferred UO to UT for family reasons. I was always going to try to transfer. I would do it again. I do feel disconnected from the 2L class, but that's also a product of the type of school and the location. UO is a close-knit group, which is made closer by experiencing 1L together. I've made friends at Toronto, and I have a good time, but it's definitely different.

 

It all depends on your own context. If my family situation was different, I probably would have just stayed at UO. They're the ones that wanted me, I was able to really interact with great professors there, and the variety of courses was fantastic. UT is fine and good and all that jazz, and obviously has the higher placement rate. But it's all what you make of it, so if you're happy where you are, I would only really transfer for non-law reasons. If that makes sense.

 

(One caveat about UO, though, is that your mileage will vary immensely based on what professors you get/select. Mine were, as I said, very very good. I know people with drastically different experiences. Like, I would say it was so bad it compromised the quality of their legal education.)

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I say that they "arguably" sacrificed some of the 1L experience in general terms because they may or may not have participated in ECs, or maybe they didn't go out often, or didn't try all that hard to make friends because they knew they would be leaving, etc. Again, what you want out of the 1L experience is gonna depend on you and your own goals. 

 

The only thing I wanted to suggest with my post is this: ride out your 1L year and don't close yourself off to opportunities in front of you, unless you are so hell-bent on transferring that nothing was going to stop you anyway.

 

 

Interesting - would you say that ECs and going out or engaging with your cohort is seen as being to the detriment of your ability to transfer? I'd imagine there must be diminishing returns on studying (what else could you be doing?) to such an extreme, and it'd blow up in your face socially if you were an unsuccessful transfer.

 

I think it's foolish to assume you will be successful in transferring, anyways. 

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Interesting - would you say that ECs and going out or engaging with your cohort is seen as being to the detriment of your ability to transfer? I'd imagine there must be diminishing returns on studying (what else could you be doing?) to such an extreme, and it'd blow up in your face socially if you were an unsuccessful transfer.

 

I think it's foolish to assume you will be successful in transferring, anyways. 

 

 

I don't think the amount of effort you need to put in to be able to transfer is any different from what you should be putting in to do well in OCIs, 2L jobs, etc. I would advise any potential transfer students to work hard, get involved in ECs, and make friends as if you weren't going to transfer. Then if you do transfer you've at least made the most of the year and will hopefully have good friends and experiences to show for it.

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I transferred from an out of province school to a highly regarded Ontario school 

The Pros:
- More 2L summer opportunities (the school's Symplicity website posts certain jobs that you cannot find on your own, I believe this is because some employers are targeting applicants from specific Ontario schools)***
- Closer to family
- More networking opportunities
- The few friends I did make at the school I transferred to are people I will likely continue to have a good relationship with and see after law school. This is opposed the many friends at my old school who I likely would not have seen post law school because they are not from Ontario or intend to practice here.
- The school I transferred to has a larger variety of clubs and extra curricular opportunities. 
- The school I transferred to has a very nice campus and is a very highly regarded school.

The Cons:
- I absolutely felt like an outcast at my new school, and still do, and so do the other transfer students at my new school... we joke about it regularly. I've made many strong connections in 1L with other students and professors. It was very hard to meet new people at my new school. It's easy to make friends that you will see in class, but having friends with that same 1L connection is tough. Most people are not in the same mindset as they are in 1L, that is, very eager to meet their classmates and build strong connections and you haven't gone through that intense experience of 1L together. Everyone already has their small friend groups and are not as eager to meet new people. As soon as I've mentioned that I was a transfer student many of my peers seemed to instantly think less of me and lose interest ... with a few exceptions. 
- From your 1L experience you can likely appreciate how important it is to have a good network of friends to share the good summaries with, notes for missed classes, etc. Don't underestimate how important these things are to getting good grades.
- There was an initial meeting at my new school for all the transfer students and most of us tried to be friends, but only a couple of us actually formed real friendships. 
- The school I transferred from has a much smaller class size, thus it was much easier to get involved in clinics and extracurriculars, whereas the new school has a much larger class size and I struggled to secure a volunteer gig at a clinic or other such program. I was granted one interview (which was a success) but applied to at least 10 different clinic programs (PBSC, school clinics, local clinics etc)
- The tuition was more than double the tuition at my old school
- If you are transferring to a tougher school, your grades will very likely decline, at least slightly. This is from my experience as well as the other transfer students at my school.
- The entire process of adjusting to a new school/city (which is harder for some than others) can really be a burden. 
- Make of this point what you will - It would seem that when transferring to some renowned Ontario schools, the student may experience some prejudice during OCIs. If you'd like more detail on this point feel free to PM me, I don't want to start a controversial discussion on this thread.
- If you're transferring to what is considered a better or tougher school, I am of the opinion that you are not actually getting a better education. You are all using the same textbooks for many courses and absorbing the same information. I found some of my 1L professors to be much more engaging than 2L profs at my new school and vice versa. And you will have courses in which you may learn everything on your own because the professor's teaching style doesn't suit you and in those circumstances it truly doesn't matter what school you attended and who your professor was. 

Tip for transfer students:
- If you transfer, be prepared to answer this question in every single job interview "why did you go to X (1L school) and why did you transfer to Y (current school)?" Have a very good answer for this, you will want to have a genuine answer that is more than just "I didn't do well on the LSAT and it's a better school".
- Get involved in extracurriculars to help meet people.
- If it has been your goal since 1L to transfer, and you do, do NOT lose your drive and motivation once you transfer, set more immediate goals.

Summary:
At the end of the day, I haven't really benefitted from the first point listed above regarding 2L summer opportunities, which was the most important factor to me ***. I did however land about 9 interviews for firms local to where I live, I haven't landed a job from these interviews, but they were really significant opportunities nonetheless. I've also obtained some pretty solid interview experience from them and got my name out in an area of law that I want to pursue.  Many other transfer students did succeed during OCIs so I can definitely say that the choice to transfer had benefitted them. Perhaps the transfer will benefit me during the articling recruit, but, who knows... 

Everybody's circumstances are different and we all value things differently. I believe that if I didn't transfer I would be in much less debt, probably have a slightly higher average, and have a better social life throughout 2L. But, I wouldn't have had as many opportunities, seen my family as much, and made connections with as many prospective and current Toronto lawyers. 

Do I regret transferring? Maybe. 

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OP, i am a recently graduated transfer student. i went essentially cross-country and navigated OCIs, clerkships etc and can likely answer any other questions you have.

if you still check this thread, feel free to PM 

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