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If I am looking at a top law school that has high gpa requirements, does it make sense to enroll in the ivey HBA program? I am currently in the BMOS program. Will the competitive environment and prestige of Ivey help me in applying, or would I be better off working for a likely higher gpa in the BMOS program. I am aiming for a 92% average (I don’t know how canadian gpa will show up on American applications) and am aware of the generous 80% marking curve at Ivey.

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Posted (edited)

80% is an 3.7 on the OLSAS scale (thanks pls for the correction). Theoretically, if you perform “average” in all of your HBA classes (3.7 across), and I’m guessing 3.9 or higher in your first 2 years (BMOS), you’ll be competitive for basically all Canadian law schools GPA wise. U of T is the strictest school by far in terms of admissions (medians of 3.83 and 3.87 the last 2 cycles), so that should give you an idea of what you’re up against.

However, if you score slightly below the 80% curve in some classes, say 75-79%, you’ll earn a B+, which translates to a 3.3 on the OLSAS scale. The difference between a 79 and 80 is the difference between a 3.3 and a 3.7 on the OLSAS scale, which is a huge jump. B+s can therefore really hamper your OLSAS average.

From my understanding, the Ivey curve is generous at 80%, but the curve is very tight as top students all compete for top marks. I dealt with a similar curve in my business program; getting 90%+ in a class was very difficult due to how tight the curve was. If you’re gunning for a T14 school you’ll need a 3.9 or so GPA.

Also, going to Ivey won’t give you a leg up in law school admissions, expect for maybe for Western itself. I did a similar business undergrad and I don’t think it helped me at all (at least not at my alma mater’s law school). If you’re gunning for a top school and a scholarship, I’d stick with BMOS if you think you can nail high grades. Law schools really don’t care about program prestige or difficulty when they look at your applications. If you have a 3.8 and 165 from Ivey HBA and someone else has a 3.9 and 165 from a liberal arts program, all things being equal (extracurriculars, reference letters, etc) the other person will probably be taken before you. I learned this the hard way myself unfortunately. 

Edited by HopefulLawyer97

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6 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

80% is an “A” or 3.8 on the OLSAS scale. Theoretically, if you perform “average” in all of your HBA classes (3.8 across), and I’m guessing 3.8 or higher in your first 2 years (BMOS), you’ll be competitive for basically all Canadian law schools GPA wise. U of T is the strictest school by far in terms of admissions (medians of 3.83 and 3.87 the last 2 cycles), so that should give you an idea of what you’re up against.

However, if you score slightly below the 80% curve in some classes, say 75-79%, you’ll earn a B+, which translates to a 3.3 on the OLSAS scale. The difference between a 79 and 80 is the difference between a 3.3 and a 3.8 on the OLSAS scale, which is a huge jump. B+s can therefore really hamper your OLSAS average.

From my understanding, the Ivey curve is generous at 80%, but the curve is very tight as top students all compete for top marks. I dealt with a similar curve in my business program; getting 90%+ in a class was very difficult due to how tight the curve was. If you’re gunning for a T14 school you’ll need a 3.9 or so GPA.

Also, going to Ivey won’t give you a leg up in law school admissions, expect for maybe for Western itself. I did a similar business undergrad and I don’t think it helped me at all (at least not at my alma mater’s law school). If you’re gunning for a top school and a scholarship, I’d stick with BMOS if you think you can nail high grades. Law schools really don’t care about program prestige or difficulty when they look at your applications. If you have a 3.8 and 165 from Ivey HBA and someone else has a 3.9 and 165 from a liberal arts program, all things being equal (extracurriculars, reference letters, etc) the other person will probably be taken before you. I learned this the hard way myself unfortunately. 

80-84% is a 3.7, 85-89% is 3.9, 90%+ is 4.0 

https://www.ouac.on.ca/guide/olsas-conversion-table/

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Ivey has better career prospects and a better brand name. There were quite a few Ivey grads in my year. I've also noticed that anecdotally, Ivey alumni do well in the Biglaw recruitment process. 

OP, while Ivey may not provide any tangible benefits in the law school admissions process, I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not benefiting from the opportunities it provides. Law is not going anywhere. Go to Ivey and get some good work experience before applying to law school. Trust me, this will help you more than if you went to law school straight out of undergrad.

Here in the legal profession, we do know the difference between Ivey and BMOS (not that it will make a difference in your career prospects in law). 

And which law schools are you applying to that needs a 90+ average? And how are you so sure that you will perform better in BMOS (which has lower class averages) than Ivey?

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Going to Ivey may limit your ability to get a 4.0, but assuming you can stomach the tuition, I'd say go. 

OP something to be aware of - yes there is an 80% curve but the standard deviation is very tight. Top 25% at Ivey is 82% in HBA1 and 84% in HBA2. So assuming you are top 25% of the class both years (which is saying something) a 3.9 is unlikely never mind a 4.0. That said, it is realistic to walk out with a 3.7. That weighted with your BMOS courses would be competitive everywhere on a GPA basis. 

Ivey's real benefit isn't helping you get into law school, but setting you up to succeed once you are already there (at least in my experience). I found HBA1 to be stressful and a lot more work than I was accustomed to - many people have similar sentiments about their 1L experience. But, since I was already put through the pressure cooker once, 1L just wasn't as jarring. You are accoustomed to being around other smart motivated people,  you have been trained and incentivized to participate in class, and Ivey's case method is similar to the socratic method used in law. All of this may help you find your footing early. The second and most tangible benefit is the work experience opportunities. It helps set you apart in the application process when you have brand name work experience. Especially compared to most students coming straight from undergrad. 

Money aside, it's a no brainer to go. Is it worth the extra ~$50 grand, that's for you to decide. 

 

 

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I believe Western Law also specifically reserves a certain number of seats for HBA students for their HBA/Law dual degree. So you may have a slight advantage applying there from Ivey; however, like KingofQueens said, the standard deviation for grades is very tight meaning that there's a higher probability that you'll end up with atleast some high 70s (3.3s on the OLSAS scale). 

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On 6/3/2020 at 11:51 PM, croc said:

I am aiming for a 92% average (I don’t know how canadian gpa will show up on American applications) and am aware of the generous 80% marking curve at Ivey.

You should also know that the Ivey curve is very tight. There is no chance you will get a 92% average at Ivey, whereas in BMOS you might be able to. The best students at Ivey receive about an 86%. Most students range from 77-83% based on my understanding from friends in Ivey.

Ivey won't help in the law school admission process (the only exception being U of T which does consider the difficulty of the undergraduate program you were in). However, as others have mentioned, it may serve as an excellent backup to law should you not get into law school or change your mind, and if you do end up in law, it'll likely help in the recruit (though I don't imagine by a landslide as it is not an MBA).

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