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albertabean

Access Angst

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It seems to me (anecdotally) that Ottawa is maybe one of the worst school's in Ontario (maybe the country?) for access applicants. I've been scrolling through the forums for UOttawa and for other schools, and from my perception, UOttawa reads access files last, and offers few access applicants admission.  People who applied access with high stats seem to get rejected, while people who applied general category are accepted with lower stats. 

I find this very unusual considering the UOttawa has a strong social justice program and is supposedly more holistic in its admissions process that other Ontario schools. But, of course this is all completely perception, and I'm new to the law school world. 

I'm posting because I'm curious about what other people think?

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1 hour ago, albertabean said:

It seems to me (anecdotally) that Ottawa is maybe one of the worst school's in Ontario (maybe the country?) for access applicants. I've been scrolling through the forums for UOttawa and for other schools, and from my perception, UOttawa reads access files last, and offers few access applicants admission.  People who applied access with high stats seem to get rejected, while people who applied general category are accepted with lower stats. 

I find this very unusual considering the UOttawa has a strong social justice program and is supposedly more holistic in its admissions process that other Ontario schools. But, of course this is all completely perception, and I'm new to the law school world. 

I'm posting because I'm curious about what other people think?

IMO it is terrible for access applicants but a big reason for that that you didn't touch upon is that it's almost a pure CGPA school that seems to barely care about the LSAT (contrary to what you wrote, they are not very holistic at all).

It's most common for access applicants to have mediocre GPAs (especially CGPAs as opposed to L2s) but high LSAT scores, because life circumstances can derail undergrad studies but it's nonsensical to claim access on the basis of a low LSAT score (since they offer accommodations for disabilities and if one was dealing with bad mental health/life circumstances when they wrote it, they could just rewrite).

Ottawa doesn't seem to budge much from it's extreme emphasis on CGPA (disproportionate to any other school in Canada) even for access applicants.

Edited by CleanHands

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45 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

IMO it is terrible for access applicants but a big reason for that that you didn't touch upon is that it's almost a pure CGPA school that seems to barely care about the LSAT (contrary to what you wrote, they are not very holistic at all).

It's most common for access applicants to have mediocre GPAs (especially CGPAs as opposed to L2s) but high LSAT scores, because life circumstances can derail undergrad studies but it's nonsensical to claim access on the basis of a low LSAT score (since they offer accommodations for disabilities and if one was dealing with bad mental health/life circumstances when they wrote it, they could just rewrite).

Ottawa doesn't seem to budge much from it's extreme emphasis on CGPA (disproportionate to any other school in Canada) even for access applicants.

I totally agree. Even taking into account the school's heavy emphasis on cGPAs, I have seen numerous access applicants denied with higher cGPAs than those who applied general. I just find it odd that they don't even bother to glance at access files until March-ish when they've already filled out much of their class. Access claims are made for so many different reasons - disabilities, diversity considerations, negative life events, and are not necessarily tied to a less competitive cGPA or LSAT (although they definitely more often are). 

 

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can you switch to the general category from the access category? I'm having the same worries.

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The following is my own opinion only.

I think there are only a handful of Ottawa applicants who are registered members of this website. Probably less than 50

at a given year. Hard to tell how many are access applicants and how many will post here. Therefore, this website does not reflect a good picture. I didn't know about this website until I was rejected by 4 schools during my first cycle. 

All applicant's file are read and ranked (?) in certain order (GPA and LSAT) regardless.

Access applicant who didn't make the cut will be set aside and get a second review after the first batch of offers (after Feb or March ??) However, there are general applicant with updated LSAT/GPA who didn't get an offer during the initial round may get a chance too. 

Not all access claim are weighted equally. Just because you claimed "access" doesn't mean Ottawa must accept your access claim. I don't know what are the rule of thumbs but I did see some of the claim are weaker than others.

Ottawa may use a point system to evaluate over two thousands of  files. e.g  files with say 80 points will get an offer and those with access will have extra points added during the second review (say 1 to 10 depending on the nature of the access claim). 

 Files with certain GPA and LSAT will probably get an offer with limited review.  I think the LSAT cut off  is 157 and GPA in the 3.7 range ?? in the first stage. The first batch of offers are over 320 and may be 400+. Total offers in this cycle may be around 500+ for about 320? spots. 

 

1 hour ago, bbritt said:

can you switch to the general category from the access category? I'm having the same worries.

 I don't see any reasons for switching back to general at this stage.  Your issue is your LSAT (153 ?) but you do have a strong GPA (3.75 ?) If you don;t get in as an access before end of Jun , you may also get wait listed after July. 

 

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8 hours ago, Luckycharm said:

The following is my own opinion only.

I think there are only a handful of Ottawa applicants who are registered members of this website. Probably less than 50

at a given year. Hard to tell how many are access applicants and how many will post here. Therefore, this website does not reflect a good picture. I didn't know about this website until I was rejected by 4 schools during my first cycle. 

All applicant's file are read and ranked (?) in certain order (GPA and LSAT) regardless.

Access applicant who didn't make the cut will be set aside and get a second review after the first batch of offers (after Feb or March ??) However, there are general applicant with updated LSAT/GPA who didn't get an offer during the initial round may get a chance too. 

Not all access claim are weighted equally. Just because you claimed "access" doesn't mean Ottawa must accept your access claim. I don't know what are the rule of thumbs but I did see some of the claim are weaker than others.

Ottawa may use a point system to evaluate over two thousands of  files. e.g  files with say 80 points will get an offer and those with access will have extra points added during the second review (say 1 to 10 depending on the nature of the access claim). 

 Files with certain GPA and LSAT will probably get an offer with limited review.  I think the LSAT cut off  is 157 and GPA in the 3.7 range ?? in the first stage. The first batch of offers are over 320 and may be 400+. Total offers in this cycle may be around 500+ for about 320? spots. 

 

 I don't see any reasons for switching back to general at this stage.  Your issue is your LSAT (153 ?) but you do have a strong GPA (3.75 ?) If you don;t get in as an access before end of Jun , you may also get wait listed after July. 

 

I will add that, from my experience, if you apply Access, the burden is on the student to provide a substantial amount of evidence regarding their access claim and how the original circumstances of their access claim will not effect their success in law school. Claiming Access for a particular event that affected your grades/LSAT isn't enough, and it doesn't give them a good enough impression for them to admit you. This could be a reason why some people don't make it in Access. It seems a little unfair, or at least I once thought it did, but you have to be extremely thorough and comprehensive. This involves making allusions to your access claim, its effects on you, your ability to overcome it in the form of medical notes and a consistent academic record after the event, and other such evidence, everywhere in your application - your PS, your access section on your application, as well as filling out their health care from they send you, as well as sending as much additional documentation from doctors, psychologists, disabilities co-ordinators etc. as you can to create a comprehensive picture.

This is not something that was intuitive to me when I first applied, it took a lot of troubleshooting and seeking advice from uOttawa for me to understand what they are looking for in the preparation of a successful Access application. Of course, all of this is to say that stats are still important. You have to demonstrate, at some point and in a consistent manner, academic success that may have successful application to law school - whether thats a high upward trend in GPA, a high LSAT score, a high GPA at a full course load, a Masters degree, etc. If you have a combination of these things, or perhaps even better - all of these things, plus a "strong" Access claim with substantial evidence, then your chances of being accepted in Access are increased. This has been what I've been able to observe, at least.

Edited by capitalttruth
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6 minutes ago, capitalttruth said:

I will add that, from my experience, if you apply Access, the burden is on the student to provide a substantial amount of evidence regarding their access claim and how the original circumstances of their access claim will not effect their success in law school. Claiming Access for a particular event that affected your grades/LSAT isn't enough, and it doesn't give them a good enough impression for them to admit you. This could be a reason why some people don't make it in Access. It seems a little unfair, or at least I once thought it did, but you have to be extremely thorough and comprehensive. This involves making allusions to your access claim, its effects on you, your ability to overcome it in the form of medical notes and a consistent academic record after the event, and other such evidence, everywhere in your application - your PS, your access section on your application, as well as filling out their health care from they send you, as well as sending as much additional documentation from doctors, psychologists, disabilities co-ordinators etc. as you can to create a comprehensive picture.

This is not something that was intuitive to me when I first applied, it took a lot of troubleshooting and seeking advice from uOttawa for me to understand what they are looking for in the preparation of a successful Access application. Of course, all of this is to say that stats are still important. You have to demonstrate, at some point and in a consistent manner, academic success that may have successful application to law school - whether thats a high upward trend in GPA, a high LSAT score, a high GPA at a full course load etc.

Very good information for anyone planning to apply under access in the future.

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Not sure if this is mentioned, but last year someone got admitted as general instead of access although they applied access. Your files ARE being reviewed and they will decide if you qualify as access. Also Ottawa is exceptionally the slowest school out of Ontario law schools. Looking at last year alone, they didn’t give out admissions to a huge amount of people until JULY - after the firm acceptance deadline! 
 

from all the years I’ve spent on this form, I’ve learned that Ottawa’s administration is slow. I almost feel like osgoode is more holistic at this point tbh 

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6 hours ago, lindsn said:

Not sure if this is mentioned, but last year someone got admitted as general instead of access although they applied access. Your files ARE being reviewed and they will decide if you qualify as access. Also Ottawa is exceptionally the slowest school out of Ontario law schools. Looking at last year alone, they didn’t give out admissions to a huge amount of people until JULY - after the firm acceptance deadline! 
 

from all the years I’ve spent on this form, I’ve learned that Ottawa’s administration is slow. I almost feel like osgoode is more holistic at this point tbh 

I think Ottawa gave out more than 400 offers before June each year. Not all applicants posted their offers here. 

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1 hour ago, Luckycharm said:

I think Ottawa gave out more than 400 offers before June each year. Not all applicants posted their offers here. 

Should be much more.

Ottawa gave out more than 900 offers in 2016 cycle:

CGPA range 3.67 – 4.33 3.34 – 3.66 3.01 – 3.33 2.67 – 3.00 0.01 – 2.66
Registered
/ Offered
89/332 161/406 81/138 31/43 9/12

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1 hour ago, NeverGiveUp said:

Should be much more.

Ottawa gave out more than 900 offers in 2016 cycle:

CGPA range 3.67 – 4.33 3.34 – 3.66 3.01 – 3.33 2.67 – 3.00 0.01 – 2.66
Registered
/ Offered
89/332 161/406 81/138 31/43 9/12

4.33 can not be per OLSAS

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3 hours ago, erinl2 said:

Why does the link say Osgoode when this is a discussion about Ottawa?

Because Osgoode has all Ontario law schools admissions data.

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