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Ryn

I used to be on the admissions committee. AMAA

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Okay, probably enough time has gone by that I can reasonably make this post. 

At some point during my time at Osgoode, I was on the admissions committee. It was an extremely interesting experience with a process that I started looking at as an applicant, and it gave me some insights into areas that aren’t immediately apparent as an external observer. 

I reviewed lots of student files and saw plenty of things that presented strengths and weaknesses, and I saw how others on the committee perceived the same. So to that end, I am happy to answer questions that you might have about the process and your applications, in the hopes that my experience may help you. 

A few caveats:

Naturally, I won’t reveal confidential information. I won’t discuss specific files or give anything more than generic examples.

Please also don’t send me your applications so I can review them or give you my thoughts on them. Ask what you will here in public and I will do my best to answer. 

Lastly, what I say here may not be applicable to you or even generally. Admissions (everywhere) is partly subjective, and so what I think about a particular thing does not mean the same will be true for others. As well, the composition of the committee changes every year and therefore so does the general opinion of the body. So take what you will out of what I say, but don’t be surprised if things end up being different. 

Have a look first at the FAQ at http://lawapplicants.ca, which I built with the help this forum, my own experiences, those of my colleagues on the adcom, and from others I knew who served in similar capacities at other law schools.

If you have a question that isn’t answered by the FAQ, then ask away here!

ETA: I will be answering questions as I can, but there could be a delay. Just post and I will reply at some point, I promise!

Edited by Ryn
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A few questions:

1) Does anyone at Osgoode care about CEGEP marks? (I did terribly in Cegep but have a 4.15/4.3 in Uni and CEGEP not counted in OLSAS GPA calculation)

2) Had an issue with my application where 3-5 apostrophes in the personal statement disappeared during submission, and, I missed it is this a grave error?

3) Does personal statement matter as much as everyone makes it seem? What do you look for when you look at one? If you have a terrible personal statement but decent stats (mine = 164, 4.15/4.3) is a bad (or generally unimpressive, average) statement enough to destroy your chances, I feel like "No" but I guess it also depends on the case?

4) Took 4 classes instead of 5 on exchange, will anyone care? 

Edited by Megbean123

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How does the school assess transfer application? How much emphasis is on 1L grades vs LSAT & UGPA?

How do they view graduate degree GPA?

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What's the process for reviewing applications for the joint programs such as the JD/MES, etc. Are those files viewed the same as a normal JD applican? For example, I know that someone in the first year of their MES program can apply for the MES/JD program, so would the committee look at the applicant;s graduate transcripts, any program documents they submit regarding research projects, etc? 

 

Thanks again

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Thanks for doing this, Ryn!

In your experience, how well does the admissions process line up with the conventional wisdom that's provided online (e.g., maintain a high GPA, get a good LSAT score, write a strong PS, have some ECs and get great LoRs)? 

Are there other factors that aren't typically mentioned on communities like this that can play a notable role in influencing adcom decisions?    

Edited by Tagger

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In The Review Process section, Osgoode states that Significantly stronger results on either the LSAT or the GPA may compensate for a less competitive LSAT or GPA. 

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/juris-doctor/jd-admissions/review-process/

Can a 99 percentile LSAT compensate a low GPA to what degree? 3.0 GPA? Sub 3.0 GPA?

Thanks Ryn!

Edited by NeverGiveUp

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Do you know the process when it comes to evaluating applications? Is there some sort of algorithm that sorts the files in the order they are to read (based on hard stats) and does this affect when students hear back? Typically how many people read each applications before a decision is made?

Thank you so much for posting this! :) 

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Are we supposed to upload a CV/Resume to the application? 

Or just the sketch/verifiers? 

Didn't see anything on the site/application components, but just wondering just in case. 

 

Thank you!

Edited by vakeel

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2 hours ago, Ryn said:

Okay, probably enough time has gone by that I can reasonably make this post. 

At some point during my time at Osgoode, I was on the admissions committee. It was an extremely interesting experience with a process that I started looking at as an applicant, and it gave me some insights into areas that aren’t immediately apparent as an external observer. 

I reviewed lots of student files and saw plenty of things that presented strengths and weaknesses, and I saw how others on the committee perceived the same. So to that end, I am happy to answer questions that you might have about the process and your applications, in the hopes that my experience may help you. 

A few caveats:

Naturally, I won’t reveal confidential information. I won’t discuss specific files or give anything more than generic examples.

Please also don’t send me your applications so I can review them or give you my thoughts on them. Ask what you will here in public and I will do my best to answer. 

Lastly, what I say here may not be applicable to you or even generally. Admissions (everywhere) is partly subjective, and so what I think about a particular thing does not mean the same will be true for others. As well, the composition of the committee changes every year and therefore so does the general opinion of the body. So take what you will out of what I say, but don’t be surprised if things end up being different. 

Have a look first at the FAQ at http://lawapplicants.ca, which I built with the help this forum, my own experiences, those of my colleagues on the adcom, and from others I knew who served in similar capacities at other law schools.

If you have a question that isn’t answered by the FAQ, then ask away here!

Holy shit that's amazing Ryn! Im just blown away by the fact that you thought to yourself 'hmm I'm only articling... Lemme just see if I can code a website and moderate another one in my free time'

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5 hours ago, Megbean123 said:

A few questions:

1) Does anyone at Osgoode care about CEGEP marks? (I did terribly in Cegep but have a 4.15/4.3 in Uni and CEGEP not counted in OLSAS GPA calculation)

2) Had an issue with my application where 3-5 apostrophes in the personal statement disappeared during submission, and, I missed it is this a grave error?

3) Does personal statement matter as much as everyone makes it seem? What do you look for when you look at one? If you have a terrible personal statement but decent stats (mine = 164, 4.15/4.3) is a bad (or generally unimpressive, average) statement enough to destroy your chances, I feel like "No" but I guess it also depends on the case?

4) Took 4 classes instead of 5 on exchange, will anyone care? 

1) I have no information about how Osgoode deals with CEGEP. I never had a file where it was applicable. Sorry.

2) From all of the staff I spoke to, they're aware of the apostrophe issue. We weren't briefed on that, as committee members, though, when I was on the committee, so it's possible that the members aren't aware. From all of the applications I saw, it was not noticeable that apostrophes were missing. So I assume that they either did it correctly (i.e., typed their response directly into OLSAS rather than copy and paste from Word -- though now you can use my website to accomplish the same thing) or it wasn't something that rose to the level of being a problem. I would say you're probably fine.

3) Yes it does matter. Quite a lot I would say. We got a lot of applications that had competitive marks, and we often used the personal statements to distinguish one from the other. In instances where someone had marks closer to the lower end, we sought some sort of explanation as to why and tried to figure out if that was a reasonably mitigating factor. If you were in that category and had a generic personal statement, I would have likely rejected you. But that's just me, so who knows how you'd fare with others.

4) I sincerely doubt it.

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5 hours ago, KilltheLSAT said:

How does the school assess transfer application? How much emphasis is on 1L grades vs LSAT & UGPA?

How do they view graduate degree GPA?

I believe transfer applications are assessed by the admissions officers. I don't recall any committee member receiving a transfer app to review, but that's not ruling it out. If did happen, it probably happened after I left the committee, since I think transfer applications are due after the academic year has wrapped.

Graduate degrees aren't factored into the initial analysis, but they do become a factor, in my experience, during review. How much they matter is purely subjective, I would say. I can tell you that I focused on things like the kind of graduate degree (e.g., is it research based or solely course based), what your area of focus was, what kind of stuff you were researching, etc. The more rigorously academic the program was, the more likely I would allow it to offset your undergrad grades. Here is also where letters of reference mattered more to me, because typically I'd see things from people's supervisors talking about the student's research interests and what they were doing, which I found very helpful in gauging how much focus I should put on the graduate marks. But overall, I would say it certainly matters, and it can only be a positive (assuming your grades are better than in your undergrad), but in terms how much -- it varies and is quite subjective.

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11 minutes ago, Ryn said:

1) I have no information about how Osgoode deals with CEGEP. I never had a file where it was applicable. Sorry.

2) From all of the staff I spoke to, they're aware of the apostrophe issue. We weren't briefed on that, as committee members, though, when I was on the committee, so it's possible that the members aren't aware. From all of the applications I saw, it was not noticeable that apostrophes were missing. So I assume that they either did it correctly (i.e., typed their response directly into OLSAS rather than copy and paste from Word -- though now you can use my website to accomplish the same thing) or it wasn't something that rose to the level of being a problem. I would say you're probably fine.

3) Yes it does matter. Quite a lot I would say. We got a lot of applications that had competitive marks, and we often used the personal statements to distinguish one from the other. In instances where someone had marks closer to the lower end, we sought some sort of explanation as to why and tried to figure out if that was a reasonably mitigating factor. If you were in that category and had a generic personal statement, I would have likely rejected you. But that's just me, so who knows how you'd fare with others.

4) I sincerely doubt it.

Thank you so much for all your help and the chances predictor! 

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5 hours ago, Ryn said:

Okay, probably enough time has gone by that I can reasonably make this post. 

At some point during my time at Osgoode, I was on the admissions committee. It was an extremely interesting experience with a process that I started looking at as an applicant, and it gave me some insights into areas that aren’t immediately apparent as an external observer. 

I reviewed lots of student files and saw plenty of things that presented strengths and weaknesses, and I saw how others on the committee perceived the same. So to that end, I am happy to answer questions that you might have about the process and your applications, in the hopes that my experience may help you. 

A few caveats:

Naturally, I won’t reveal confidential information. I won’t discuss specific files or give anything more than generic examples.

Please also don’t send me your applications so I can review them or give you my thoughts on them. Ask what you will here in public and I will do my best to answer. 

Lastly, what I say here may not be applicable to you or even generally. Admissions (everywhere) is partly subjective, and so what I think about a particular thing does not mean the same will be true for others. As well, the composition of the committee changes every year and therefore so does the general opinion of the body. So take what you will out of what I say, but don’t be surprised if things end up being different. 

Have a look first at the FAQ at http://lawapplicants.ca, which I built with the help this forum, my own experiences, those of my colleagues on the adcom, and from others I knew who served in similar capacities at other law schools.

If you have a question that isn’t answered by the FAQ, then ask away here!

ETA: I will be answering questions as I can, but there could be a delay. Just post and I will reply at some point, I promise!

What is the meaning of life?

How will the fact that my star sign is Capricorn and my myers-briggs type INTJ affect my chances of admission?

Is my childhood dog an acceptable reference? (He passed a number of years ago, but he wrote the letter before this, complete with paw print)

you are a brave and benevolent soul Ryn,

Yours in satire,

MQ

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5 hours ago, sucheese said:

What's the process for reviewing applications for the joint programs such as the JD/MES, etc. Are those files viewed the same as a normal JD applican? For example, I know that someone in the first year of their MES program can apply for the MES/JD program, so would the committee look at the applicant;s graduate transcripts, any program documents they submit regarding research projects, etc? 

 

Thanks again

I didn't have any of these applications, but yes, I believe that is how it works. We'd see the application and corresponding graduate transcripts, much like we would for anyone in a graduate program.

5 hours ago, Tagger said:

Thanks for doing this, Ryn!

In your experience, how well does the admissions process line up with the conventional wisdom that's provided online (e.g., maintain a high GPA, get a good LSAT score, write a strong PS, have some ECs and get great LoRs)? 

Are there other factors that aren't typically mentioned on communities like this that can play a notable role in influencing adcom decisions?    

In general, all of that is good advice, and I would say spot on to what it looks like from behind the scenes. I think you covered everything in your list in terms of what factors affect an application generally.

Some factors matter more than others. For example, ECs are fine, but they don't get weighted very much compared to grades and test scores. You can have stellar grades and have done literally nothing but study and get in. The opposite is almost never true.

4 hours ago, NeverGiveUp said:

In The Review Process section, Osgoode states that Significantly stronger results on either the LSAT or the GPA may compensate for a less competitive LSAT or GPA. 

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/juris-doctor/jd-admissions/review-process/

Can a 99 percentile LSAT compensate a low GPA to what degree? 3.0 GPA? Sub 3.0 GPA?

Thanks Ryn!

I don't think there's ever been a solid formula for determining how much in one can offset something in the other. But I would tell you that if you got a 180 on the LSAT but have a 2.8 GPA, I would certainly look at your application closely. I can't say I'd admit you, but I would strongly consider what you had to say about why we should ignore your grades.

It's tougher for the opposite, because I think it's easier to get a 4.0 than it is to get a 180, simply because of the math (i.e., the LSAT is curved and grades are typically not), but again, the same sort of calculus applies. If you have a 4.0 but a 155, I would certainly want to read about why. I remember admitting a couple of people with low LSATs but exceptional GPAs because they managed to convince me that it was the right decision. But I don't know if it's very common.

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3 hours ago, e0813 said:

Do you know the process when it comes to evaluating applications? Is there some sort of algorithm that sorts the files in the order they are to read (based on hard stats) and does this affect when students hear back? Typically how many people read each applications before a decision is made?

Thank you so much for posting this! :) 

So here's a summary of my understanding:

The admissions officers receive the files and mark them into three categories: presumed admit, forward for consideration, auto decline. The presumed admit threshold is based solely on grades and test scores (I won't say what the threshold is because I don't think it's public information, and I also think it changes year to year based on the pool's competitiveness). If you reach the level in both LSAT and GPA, other than briefly reading over your file to make sure there isn't some major problem related to something other than your stats, you'll get an offer. This is usually the first round of acceptances that go out.

Conversely, if your stats are below a certain threshold, which I am not sure what that is, you'll just get auto declined sometime in the new year. I should note that files that cite special considerations won't get auto-declined just because of low stats. Those files will be reviewed at some point.

For the balance of the files, the adcom works together with the officers to review the files and recommend admission, waitlist, or decline. I believe the files are pulled and assigned randomly from this pool. Two members of the adcom review a file and vote. If there's a tie, a third person reviews. Sometimes, if it's super contentious, it goes to the full committee or gets recommended for interview.

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3 hours ago, vakeel said:

Are we supposed to upload a CV/Resume to the application? 

Or just the sketch/verifiers? 

Didn't see anything on the site/application components, but just wondering just in case. 

 

Thank you!

I think you just use the sketch but I could be wrong or they could have changed it. I saw very few resumes and to my recollection they were from applicants who had been out of school for some time and were applying as mature students.

3 hours ago, healthlaw said:

Holy shit that's amazing Ryn! Im just blown away by the fact that you thought to yourself 'hmm I'm only articling... Lemme just see if I can code a website and moderate another one in my free time'

Thanks for the kind words! I found all of this law school admissions stuff super interesting, and I genuinely want to help people with the process, so I'm happy to see that people have benefited.

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questions about references:

are academic references preferred over non-academic?

one of my professors recently passed away and i wasn't able to secure a 2nd strong reference letter in time. i am now using a non-academic reference that my manager has agreed to write for me. i would say i work in a good job band and have some major responsibilities with my title, most of the people i work with do what i do for a career, not sure if it makes a difference.

also, if you have a bad lsat score from a previous write and you have indicated on your file that you will be writing in the future (say nov, or jan), does the committee wait until that score comes in to access your file?

 

thanks for this post btw!

Edited by talwarrr

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11 minutes ago, mootqueenJD69 said:

How will the fact that my star sign is Capricorn and my myers-briggs type INTJ affect my chances of admission? 

Surely this is an auto-accept.

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1 minute ago, talwarrr said:

questions about references:

are academic references preferred over non-academic?

one of my professors recently passed away and i wasnt able to secure a 2nd strong reference letter in time. i am now using a non-academic reference that my manager has agreed to write for me. i would say i work in a good job band and have some major responsibilities with my title, most of the people i work with do what i do for a career, not sure if it makes a difference.

 

thanks for this post btw!

I would say yes, they are preferable. But if you only have one, then it happens. I found non-academic references to be relatively unhelpful.

References, assuming they're at least neutral, can only help, not hurt. So use them if you can to boost your application but otherwise, it is what it is.

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46 minutes ago, Ryn said:

1) I have no information about how Osgoode deals with CEGEP. I never had a file where it was applicable. Sorry.

2) From all of the staff I spoke to, they're aware of the apostrophe issue. We weren't briefed on that, as committee members, though, when I was on the committee, so it's possible that the members aren't aware. From all of the applications I saw, it was not noticeable that apostrophes were missing. So I assume that they either did it correctly (i.e., typed their response directly into OLSAS rather than copy and paste from Word -- though now you can use my website to accomplish the same thing) or it wasn't something that rose to the level of being a problem. I would say you're probably fine.

3) Yes it does matter. Quite a lot I would say. We got a lot of applications that had competitive marks, and we often used the personal statements to distinguish one from the other. In instances where someone had marks closer to the lower end, we sought some sort of explanation as to why and tried to figure out if that was a reasonably mitigating factor. If you were in that category and had a generic personal statement, I would have likely rejected you. But that's just me, so who knows how you'd fare with others.

4) I sincerely doubt it.

Hey Ryn, can you just clarify something, in #3 you say "if you were in that category and had a generic personal statement" do you mean the category I gave you (164 LSAT/3.94 OLSAS) or "In instances where someone had marks closer to the lower end", you would have likely rejected the person? 

Alternatively - with "good" stats, will an average personal statement destroy your chances at admissions even if the more objective factors are already convincing to the committee?

From what I've seen in your other responses it sounds like stats alone could put me in the presumed admit pile for having a GPA/LSAT above the medians (although I understand medians are not necessarily the numerical cuts for this). 

Thanks for all your help! 

Edited by Megbean123

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