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Mandy555

Why did you pick UofT over Osgoode?

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Hey everyone, I've been accepted to both Osgoode and UofT. I was accepted to Osgoode first and and have actually already provisionally accepted my offer to Osgoode and thought I made the right decision because it's cheaper and seems to have more clinics and courses that suit my interests than UofT. However, from looking at a couple of threads on here, it seems like most people who were accepted both to Osgoode and UofT, ended up using UofT and I'm just wondering for those of you who chose/are going to choose UofT over Osgoode, what made you make that decision? I'm wondering if I should reconsider my decision to go to Osgoode. 

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Have you used U of T's online JD Financial Aid Calculator? Depending on your parents' income and additional expenses, the costs between the two schools may be very similar after taking into account bursaries.

Edited by Twenty
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2 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

OZ will offer up to $15000 each year depending on your financial needs.

 

The issue though is that I have no idea whether I would receive anywhere close to 15K from Osgoode. UofT has a financial aid calculator so I have a pretty good idea of how much I would receive, but Osgoode doesn't

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53 minutes ago, Twenty said:

Have you used U of T's online JD Financial Aid Calculator? Depending on your parents' income and additional expenses, the costs between the two schools may be very similar after taking into account bursaries.

Yes! I've had a look at it and depending on how much Osgoode gives in bursaries, the cost could be pretty similar, I just don't really know what Osgoode would offer me

Edited by Mandy555

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In addition to the financial resources required, I would also consider other factors like:

1) where you plan on working in the future: based on my personal experience, UofT is heavily focused on Bay Street big firms' recruitment, but does not give much attention to other opportunities outside of Bay Street;

2) social life: from what I have heard, Osgoode has a better social life and less pressure than one might feel at UofT;

3) courses offered and clinics/pro bono work: i would look into the course offerings at both schools to get an idea of which school piques your interest - both schools have different types of clinics and extracurricular opportunities, so researching them can only be helpful to make an informed decision --> definitely take into consideration that you think Osgoode has more courses/clinics that suit your interests because it can have a huge impact on your overall experience during law school;

4) reputation: how much do you care about graduating from the best law school? (UofT ranks better than Osgoode) - personally, i believe that reputations are overrated.

5) location: would you rather be living in downtown Toronto/uptown when going to school vs commuting? - commuting life is difficult and is an added obstacle when it comes to your learning experience and social life, when compared to your peers!

Overall, I think you should decide on the school that is more suitable/attractive for you based on these considerations, and others; but the fact that other people might be picking one school over another should not be your deciding factor because you will never be happy if you follow the herd, especially when it comes to deciding which school you'd like to attend for the next 3 years of your life that can shape your future (and mental health!)! :)

Hopefully you find this helpful in making a more informed decision! Good luck!!

 

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Thanks so much for your help! A lot of the reasons you listed were some of the things I was considering when I decided Osgoode was right for me. I do have two reservations though 

4 hours ago, hermionegranger said:

2) social life: from what I have heard, Osgoode has a better social life and less pressure than one might feel at UofT;

I've heard from others that it's largely a myth that UofT's culture is unfriendly and more high-pressure than other schools. I know that the students going there are some of the best and that probably has some affect on what it feels like going there but can anyone who's attended UofT confirm or disconfirm this?

4 hours ago, hermionegranger said:

5) location: would you rather be living in downtown Toronto/uptown when going to school vs commuting? - commuting life is difficult and is an added obstacle when it comes to your learning experience and social life, when compared to your peers!

Most people I know who attend UofT live downtown or somewhere within Toronto and their commute consists of a fairly quick subway ride which is cheap too. On the other hand, I've heard that York is considered a commuter school and I actually know some people who spend an hour (one way) commuting there everyday so I'm not necessarily concerned about commuting if I went to UofT.

Edited by Mandy555
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8 hours ago, Mandy555 said:

Yes! I've had a look at it and depending on how much Osgoode gives in bursaries, the cost could be pretty similar, I just don't really know what Osgoode would offer me

I can see how that's an important consideration. The fact that U of T has a pretty set financial aid process that you can use to estimate not just your first year expenses, but potentially also your second and third year expenses is pretty great. With Osgoode, it's not certain how much you will get not just in your first year but also the subsequent years (do you have to maintain a competitive GPA for upper year scholarships? Will you obtain a competitive GPA once in law?) 

Although U of T will never be the cheapest choice, their financial aid was enough for me to seriously consider the school.

Edited by Twenty
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Hello! I spent a lot of time weighing the two and ultimately chose UofT. The cost for both was comparable for me after UofT's financial aid, both schools obviously seemed great academically, etc. I liked that UofT seemed to have a theoretical focus as well as a lot of hands-on opportunities. My sense was that Osgoode classes were a little less theory-focused, but I don't know if that's really true (and if true, I know it would weigh in the opposite direction for a lot of people). I really like legal theory though so it's nice to have both for me here. (Not saying that UofT is all theory either, I just think there's a nice mix. If you hate the philosophy of law aspects, you can avoid it pretty easily, especially in upper years. I'm sure that you can also lean into this part of the course selection at Osgoode). 

The main reason I chose UofT was the community. This is so subjective but I felt a real difference when I went to Welcome Day at both schools. I went in with an open mind, not sure where I would land, but it really helped make up my mind. For whatever reason, I felt so awkward at the Osgoode day. The conversations I had with other students were stilted and while overall, there were great moments, a combination of small things didn't feel right. At UofT (the next day), I had a fantastic time. I thought all the students and alumni I met were engaging and fun. The clubs fair really got me excited and I could picture myself at the school. Since this is all sounds vague and arbitrary, I'll give an example. Both schools had a students-only panel that I attended. At the Osgoode one, the students spent a lot of time talking about ways that we could pad our resumes without actually having to do any work. At UofT, people seemed genuinely excited and passionate about how much hands-on work they got to do in their extracurriculars and how much they got out of them.

My point here isn't that this is actually true of either school because I think something like this can only be generalized so far (there are people of both types at both schools, I'm sure, and maybe you prefer the former). I'm not saying that you should make your decision solely based on one (two?) days -- this is a recruitment event, small sample size, maybe you were just in a better mood on day x, etc. -- but on the other hand, I don't think it's a bad idea to go with where you feel you fit in, all else being equal. On paper, the schools were so similar that the more intangible aspects ended up being really helpful to me.

Re: your question about the culture at UofT, I LOVE our law school class. I find the people here unbelievably interesting and friendly. It's genuinely hard for me to imagine a nicer group of people.  In my experience, the effect of knowing that other people are so accomplished is a combination of everyone thinking everyone else is brilliant and all of us having imposter syndrome. 

Having only gone to UofT for law school, it's hard to compare the two now, and I'm sure that both schools are wonderful (how many disclaimers can one post contain) but I'm really happy with where I am. Hope you find the right place for you!

Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions about UofT, etc.

Edited by hufflepuff
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As someone has already said,  based on looking at UofT's aid estimator, the cost to attend UofT could end up being comparable or even less than the cost to attend Osgoode and I think that's definitely one reason why some people choose UofT over Osgoode. Osgoode does offer bursaries as well but as far as I'm aware, there isn't any sort of aid estimator and it seems like that's an issue for you. 

Also, in regard to location, I think most people would probably agree that Downtown Toronto is a better location than York. Downtown has access to everything, including lots of law firms. Being situated Downtown also allows for good networking opportunities. In contrast, York isn't a very nice area and the campus is also kind of isolated.

I also think the prestige definitely attracts a lot of people to UofT. It's consistently rated as the best law school in Canada and is even regarded as one of the top law schools in the world. Rankings may not be important and may not actually affect the quality of education you get, but everyone wants to feel like they're getting the most out of their investment of time and money in law school so it's not surprising if a lot of people are attracted to the prestige of UofT.

Lastly, a lot of people on here have talked about the fact that UofT offers an advantage when it comes to Bay Street / BigLaw firms. For people who aren't certain about what kind of law they want to pursue, I can see why the Bay Street / BigLaw advantage might seem appealing especially since a lot of future law students I've come across seem to think that working at a Bay Street firm is the key to success and riches (not sure if that's actually true, but I'm going to assume it's a little exaggerated).

Overall, I'd say don't worry too much about what other people are doing, focus on the the pros and cons of each school that are relevant to you! Everyone's interests and opinions are going to be different so don't be swayed too much by what other people are saying.

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York University is famous for strike. 

Search the net for "York University strike" I think the next one is possibly 2021. 

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You've indicated a strong interest in pursuing family law in your posts. How likely is it that this will change to something like Biglaw? I would not go to U of T for family law, unless maybe if your goal was to teach it. I strongly believe that Osgoode is the better school for people wanting to pursue personal services, primarily based on the clinics, course selection, and experiential education offerings there. A large number of my peers are articling now in personal services and the government. There is a large alumni network in areas like criminal, family, wills and estates, labour and employment, immigration and refugee, personal injury, etc. from Osgoode than U of T.

Most people choose U of T over Osgoode because of its reputation as the best law school in Canada, and because they want to keep their options open - including the doors to Bay Street. Very rarely will you see someone interested in social justice and personal/public services choose U of T over the other law schools in Canada. You'll find the U of T hype to be high on this forum because there is an emphasis on Bay Street/New York careers and OCIs here. I can tell you that people do turn down U of T to attend other law schools in Canada, and it's a perfectly reasonable choice to make. When I interned for the UN, there was a strong Osgoode presence there, and internationally, Osgoode carries a good name. So don't think that you'd be selling yourself short by picking one over the other. I would be hesitant to pick U of T if you were sure you wanted to do family law, and pick it immediately if you were open to pursue Biglaw and New York careers.

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27 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

York University is famous for strike. 

Search the net for "York University strike" I think the next one is possibly 2021. 

This is something I was concerned about but I have heard that the Strike doesn't affect the law students

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1 minute ago, Deadpool said:

You've indicated a strong interest in pursuing family law in your posts. How likely is it that this will change to something like Biglaw? I would not go to U of T for family law, unless maybe if your goal was to teach it. I strongly believe that Osgoode is the better school for people wanting to pursue personal services, primarily based on the clinics, course selection, and experiential education offerings there. A large number of my peers are articling now in personal services and the government. There is a large alumni network in areas like criminal, family, wills and estates, labour and employment, immigration and refugee, personal injury, etc. from Osgoode than U of T.

Most people choose U of T over Osgoode because of its reputation as the best law school in Canada, and because they want to keep their options open - including the doors to Bay Street. Very rarely will you see someone interested in social justice and personal/public services choose U of T over the other law schools in Canada. You'll find the U of T hype to be high on this forum because there is an emphasis on Bay Street/New York careers and OCIs here. I can tell you that people do turn down U of T to attend other law schools in Canada, and it's a perfectly reasonable choice to make. When I interned for the UN, there was a strong Osgoode presence there, and internationally, Osgoode carries a good name. So don't think that you'd be selling yourself short by picking one over the other. I would be hesitant to pick U of T if you were sure you wanted to do family law, and pick it immediately if you were open to pursue Biglaw and New York careers.

Thanks for your response! I think the whole emphasis on Bay Street definitely is influencing me a little. I have thought a lot about how Osgoode seems a lot better for social justice/public services and I think this is where my interests lie. My only concern is that I'm not entirely sure and I haven't even started law school yet, so I'm afraid of starting school and realizing that my interests are completely different. That's kind of why I was trying to look at which school provides a wider range of options.

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23 minutes ago, Mandy555 said:

Thanks for your response! I think the whole emphasis on Bay Street definitely is influencing me a little. I have thought a lot about how Osgoode seems a lot better for social justice/public services and I think this is where my interests lie. My only concern is that I'm not entirely sure and I haven't even started law school yet, so I'm afraid of starting school and realizing that my interests are completely different. That's kind of why I was trying to look at which school provides a wider range of options.

The main difference here is that around 50% of U of T's class ends up on Bay Street (compared to 25-30% at Osgoode), but this also doesn't mean that the other 50% from U of T are landing coveted government jobs and boutiques. Your chances of landing a good Bay Street job are higher from U of T, but you can also do it from Osgoode, while U of T does not compare to Osgoode in placing students in other areas of law. So contrary to what I've read here, I think Osgoode is a more well-rounded school, as students pursue both Bay Street and public interest/social justice careers there in equal amounts. 

Obviously I don't want to make any assumptions, and this is from my experience talking to U of T graduates and researching of different areas. 

https://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/career-development-office/career-statistics

This survey is also worth looking at.

https://www.lexpert.ca/directory/practice-areas/ranking/

You may want to consider going through the practice areas and firms/organizations that interest you, and reading up on lawyer bios. Look at their experiences and schools that they've gone to.

Edit: I turned down U of T for Osgoode and don't have any regrets. I gained a lot of clinic and experiential education experience in law school and did an internship at the UN (still have my connections there). I really don't believe I could be where I am at right now if I had gone to U of T. 

Certain schools are better than others for some areas. Queen's is quite strong for labour and employment and family law as well. Ottawa is strong for government careers. Western also has a decent Bay Street placement rate (Queen's is catching up too). There really isn't a wrong answer here. You're not screwed if you pick Ottawa, Queen's, Western, Dalhousie, UBC, McGill, or Osgoode over U of T. I know people who've done so and they're perfectly fine in their careers. Make sure you take time off this forum to gain perspective from students and graduates in real life too. 

Edited by Deadpool
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14 minutes ago, Mandy555 said:

This is something I was concerned about but I have heard that the Strike doesn't affect the law students

It affected me

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1 hour ago, Deadpool said:

Edit: I turned down U of T for Osgoode and don't have any regrets. I gained a lot of clinic and experiential education experience in law school and did an internship at the UN (still have my connections there). I really don't believe I could be where I am at right now if I had gone to U of T. 

Thanks for all your advice! It’s definitely reassuring to hear a perspective from someone who chose Osgoode over UofT. I’ll take some time to do more research and probably some time off this forum! 

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1 hour ago, Luckycharm said:

It affected me

If you don’t mind me asking, how did it affect you? 

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I don't have a lot to add, but I was in the same position as you really recently where I was set on going to Osgoode but then I started to change my mind. If you haven't already, go see both schools and talk to some students who currently go there to get an idea of what the school environment is like. I feel like actually talking to someone in person is a really great way to gain some perspective on what the schools are like and it definitely helped me feel more certain about where I want to go! 

In terms of interests, I'm in the same boat, where I think I know what some of my interests might be, but I'm not entirely sure and I'm willing to keep an open mind. For me personally, Osgoode seems better in terms of its variety of courses, clinics and experiential opportunities, but UofT seems like the better school in all other areas (again, this is just my own personal opinion). At the same time, UofT does offer some external programs and clinics that fit some of my interests so I came to the conclusion that despite UofT not having such a large variety of courses and clinics like Osgoode, the pros of going to UofT still outweigh the pros of going to Osgoode. 

Of course everyone is different and for you, the pros of going to Osgoode may completely outweigh the pros of going to UofT, especially if UofT doesn't really offer much opportunity for the kind of law you want to pursue. It really just depends on what you're looking for. Hopefully my decision making process seems reasonable and helpful, otherwise I have some more thinking to do as well! 😂

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