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Tagger

UVic vs UBC

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Hi everyone, 

I am set to apply to both UVic and UBC when applications open, and I'm hoping that based on my stats, I'll be competitive for admission to both schools. I'm from BC and would prefer to practice within the province when I graduate. 

I have my heart set on UVic for several reasons, but am wondering if there's something I'm missing that would make it worthwhile to choose UBC instead. 

UVic:

  • Love the smaller class sizes, general "feel" of the school, and the emphasis that the school puts on collegiality and a collaborative learning environment
  • Visited the city and really like the small-town, island atmosphere and more relaxed pace of life compared to Vancouver. I'd like the change of pace from the Lower Mainland. 
  • The co-op program is a big draw and something that I see myself participating in
  • Due to the location, it seems more convenient to access opportunities in provincial government, which I'm potentially interested in
  •  Very manageable tuition costs, cheaper cost of living relative to Vancouver, and it seems as though it would be more financially feasible to own property in the future if I manage to find employment on the Island (which isn't guaranteed). 

UBC:

  • Familiarity with the school and law building, as I went there for undergrad and have lived in the Lower Mainland
  • It's a bigger school that appears to have a larger course selection and closer proximity to Vancouver firms for 2L OCI, but I'm not sure that I want to pursue the Big Law route
  • It's a more "recognizable" school, but that comes with slightly more expensive tuition and astronomically high housing and living costs. I want to own a condo or home eventually, but I don't see how I can realistically achieve that in Vancouver. I'd prefer not to live paycheck to paycheck just to find a place close to work, nor do I want to commute 1+ hours every day long-term. 
  • It may be easier to find employment in Vancouver if I strike out of opportunities on the Island, but I'm not sure that's a big plus in UBC's favor, at least from what I've read. 

I feel like this is a no-brainer just based on my instinct and how I feel, but would really appreciate your input so that I know I'm not making any mistakes. Thank you! 

Edited by Tagger

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UVic sounds like a great choice for you. You can't go wrong though, both schools are great.

There's no shortage of UVic alum in the larger Vancouver firms so I wouldn't worry about that.

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If you want to work for the provincial government as a lawyer either school will work just fine

The "pace of life" in Victoria is slower than Vancouver.  I like it here better than Vancouver. 

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UBC is a fine school and I enjoyed my time there.  I don't know much about UVIC.  The campus is nice?

 

 

I don't think you can go wrong really.

Edited by kurrika

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UVic is cheaper and gets similar outcomes for grads as UBC, though note that the Island has very poor pay for junior lawyers. Think $40,000 or less for a 1st year call. Go to UVic, then get a job either in downtown Victoria or somewhere in the lower mainland. Tuition is cheap and not having a lot of student debt on graduation means you could take one of those low pay jobs if you didn't find something better. Until you're a 5-year lawyer its not that easy to get a quality law job.

I'm told the following by UVic grads:

* Much easier to get into a moot. UVic can't fill seats (compare to my law school where there were 3 students to each 1 seat)

* The quality of instruction is decent.

* Easy to have short commute

* Good if you want to work for the province, though that really depends on the government.

* The co-ops are very useful.

* Don't talk politics while you're there.

Edited by AnonLaw
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For background, I went to UBC.

Based on what you think is important (which are great things to think are important!), I think you'd be making the right choice with UVic.

Law school is hard enough: go where you like where you live and who you're learning with.

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Thank you everyone for your invaluable input! Your insights have been incredibly helpful, and it's reassuring to know that there aren't any red flags in my thought process. I really appreciate your help.

Edited by Tagger

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I'm not in law school yet so I can't speak to the school comparisons, but I am Victoria born and raised. If you want to work for Provincial government, Victoria is the place to go. There's also a program where they will pay off your student loans (I believe 60%) proportionate to the time you work there. So in 5 years, you can be free of student loans. They also have great work contracts for lawyers, 9-5 shifts without the expectation of overtime, every other Friday off, and an exorbitant amount of holiday time from what I hear.

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UBC

 

Edit* UBC is also extremely cheap, and if you need financial assistance, it is virtually free. I received 10k in bursaries each year. In addition, UBC is also a more highly regarded law faculty. Yes, this does not mean much, but it is true. I would never go to a school because it is easier to get into a moot (lol) - talk about selling yourself short. 

Talk about politics all you want. Why would you hide your views? My political views do not align, in the slightest, with the prevailing views at UBC, but I wasn't afraid to express them. 

Edited by beentheredonethat4
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3 hours ago, Iyaiaey said:

Why isn't UVIC held in higher regards when it has a similar entrance profile to U of T?

UVIc's LSAT average is lower than U of T's and while both schools' GPA average and medians are similar, note that Uvic drops 18 of your worst credits in a 120-credit degree whereas U of T looks at your best 3 years. IME you get a higher average by dropping 6 courses vs taking the best 3 years.

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On 12/14/2018 at 1:10 PM, Iyaiaey said:

Why isn't UVIC held in higher regards when it has a similar entrance profile to U of T?

Because it costs less than a third of the price. Gotta be a reason for that, right?? Right? 🤔 ;) 

To the OP, sounds like Uvic would suit you perfectly. 

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On 12/14/2018 at 7:29 PM, Aschenbach said:

UVIc's LSAT average is lower than U of T's and while both schools' GPA average and medians are similar, note that Uvic drops 18 of your worst credits in a 120-credit degree whereas U of T looks at your best 3 years. IME you get a higher average by dropping 6 courses vs taking the best 3 years.

Doesn't UVIC even have a slightly higher GPA requirement than U of T on average? I see that UVIC has a lower LSAT average, but isn't it only like 2-3 points?  It also depends, one could go back after having matriculated and get really strong best 3 years.

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1 hour ago, Iyaiaey said:

Doesn't UVIC even have a slightly higher GPA requirement than U of T on average? I see that UVIC has a lower LSAT average, but isn't it only like 2-3 points?  It also depends, one could go back after having matriculated and get really strong best 3 years.

I had to look this up - U of T's median GPA for their entering class of 2018 is 3.81 on a 4.0 scale and UVic's is 3.79 (not sure if it is based on a 4.0 or a 4.33 scale). The median LSAT for U of T is 166 while for UVic it is 92nd percentile (roughly 165). Either way it is not a huge difference between the two institutions. UVic is definitely a fine law school, in fact I am applying there for this cycle and hope to get in. However, I think U of T has the reputation of being Canada's leading law school. Maybe this is due to the percentage of each graduating class that land Bay Street jobs? I have no idea - if someone can clarify that would be great!

Whether it's the right school for you is another matter. I personally would not go to U of T because of how prohibitively expensive their tuition is, and one still has to factor in cost of living in Toronto for 3 years. I also want to practice in BC so the connections I make in the province would probably outweigh the "prestige" of U of T. And while I'm not ruling out corporate/big law, I'm not sure if that is what I want to practice. I don't want to be pigeon-holed into a specific career choice because I have 150 k in debt that I have to pay back. Personally my top two picks would be UBC and UVic.

 

 

 

Edited by Aschenbach
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On 12/14/2018 at 1:10 PM, Iyaiaey said:

Why isn't UVIC held in higher regards when it has a similar entrance profile to U of T?

Held in higher regard than UBC? UBC is slightly more competitive - average GPA of 3.85 (with 12 credits dropped) and a LSAT score of 166. Whereas UVic has an average GPA of 3.79 with 18 credits dropped and a LSAT score of 165.

Not that it really matters, they are both good schools and I think both are held in high regard in BC.

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33 minutes ago, Starling said:

Held in higher regard than UBC? UBC is slightly more competitive - average GPA of 3.85 (with 12 credits dropped) and a LSAT score of 166. Whereas UVic has an average GPA of 3.79 with 18 credits dropped and a LSAT score of 165.

Not that it really matters, they are both good schools and I think both are held in high regard in BC.

No, to U of T.  Although, I would have the same question of UBC, why isn't it held in higher regards in comparison to U of T?  Or even Osgoode?

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1 hour ago, Iyaiaey said:

No, to U of T.  Although, I would have the same question of UBC, why isn't it held in higher regards in comparison to U of T?  Or even Osgoode?

Your assumption is that that is the case. I suspect what you're seeing there is a function of Canadian population distribution and geographic diversity.

 

Greater Toronto has about 15% of the Canadian population, anchoring the Golden Horseshoe with about 25% of the country's population. 

 

Montreal is only a few hours away by car, and Metro Montreal is another 4m people (nearly the same as the entire population of BC). 

 

Vancouver is a multi-hour plane ride, or multi-day drive away, and Victoria is a ferry ride past that. 

 

Torontonians presumably have a different view on which schools are desirable than do British Columbians. For what it's worth, when applying to schools from BC, nobody I knew suggested UoT. UBC was assumed, and people who wanted to be helpful either suggested (1) a school they knew, with or without a law school (2) McGill.

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Hi everyone, 

Thanks for all of your input! I've had some time to mull over this decision over the last few months, and it's turned out to be a much more complex one than I initially envisioned.

I'd love to go to UVic, but as a Vancouver native whose entire support group is in Vancouver, I have a funny feeling that I'll end up practicing in the Lower Mainland long-term. In that context, does it still make sense to choose UVic over UBC? I think I can make my financial situation work at both schools, so that's not an issue. 

I've been to Victoria several times since August, and it's a beautiful city that I really like. Relative to Vancouver, however, it seems to have a smaller, less diverse population and legal market, and having never lived there before, I'm not sure what to expect in terms of a long-term career outlook there. I understand that it's not too difficult for UVic grads to move back to Vancouver for work, but since I have a UBC acceptance in hand, I'd prefer to stay put if that's the most probable outcome. 

For what it's worth, prestige, culture and competitiveness are non-factors for me; everyone I've spoken with at both schools has been very welcoming, and I'm going to do my best to enjoy the journey wherever I go.   

Thanks in advance for any additional input! It's been a good, but tricky problem to have because I can easily see myself at either school. 

Edited by Tagger

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