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minny

Do law schools look down on professional undergrad degrees?

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Hello! I’m curious about how law schools view applicants who get their undergrad in a professional degree program (nursing, accounting).

Are they less likely to get in? I presume that schools don’t care if you are a mature, older student doing law as a second career but I feel like going straight from undergrad in a professional degree to law school is not preferred.

Any insight and thoughts would be greatly appreciated! (especially if they are specific to ontario law schools)

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25 minutes ago, mistertubby said:

why would they do that? 

Only reason I can think of is that it communicates a lack of conviction in one's pursuit of a single career goal. But @minny I personally don't think you have anything to worry about. They are well aware that university is a time of profound self-discovery. Nobody's expecting you to have your life figured out in grade 12 as you apply to undergraduate programs. But nonetheless, and especially in your case, I think it would be wise to clearly state your reason for pursuing law in your personal statement. If you did that, then in my opinion you have nothing to worry about.

Edited by HeavyMetaI

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2 hours ago, minny said:

Hello! I’m curious about how law schools view applicants who get their undergrad in a professional degree program (nursing, accounting).

Are they less likely to get in? I presume that schools don’t care if you are a mature, older student doing law as a second career but I feel like going straight from undergrad in a professional degree to law school is not preferred.

Any insight and thoughts would be greatly appreciated! (especially if they are specific to ontario law schools)

It's completely irrelevant. 

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I think some law schools have a slight bias against professional undergrad degrees.  UofT used to say they prefer non-professional undergrad degrees but I just did a quick search and it appears this is no longer their public position. Regardless, you can get into law school with any undergrad degree and if you already have a professional undergrad degree it doesn't make sense to go get another one to marginally improve your law school admissions chances.  

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I have a few classmates at Western with nursing degrees. I believe at least two of them worked as nurses for a bit before law school as well. Not sure about anyone else with a professional undergrad degree or whether their degree was looked at any differently by the admissions committee but they certainly got in.

Edited by lewcifer

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1 hour ago, Policywonk said:

I think some law schools have a slight bias against professional undergrad degrees. 

This doesn't make any sense because there is no reason for it. Maybe there is a bias in effect but the proximate reason would be different. I could imagine something being true like applicants from, say, nursing degrees having a relatively lower chance of getting into law school, but that would probably be directly caused be something like people in nursing degrees tending to have lower GPAs, and not caused at all by ad coms disliking nursing degree applicants. 

Why do you think this?

1 hour ago, Policywonk said:

UofT used to say they prefer non-professional undergrad degrees but I just did a quick search and it appears this is no longer their public position. 

This is very surprising to me and my instinct is to say that it's more likely that you are misremembering something. I could be wrong, of course, but I just can't see why any law school would give (or would ever have given) half a toot what someone took in their first degree. Perhaps you're right but the stated preference was from decades and decades ago, when prevailing attitudes about the nature of legal education were very different. 

Edited by BringBackCrunchBerries

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2 hours ago, Policywonk said:

I think some law schools have a slight bias against professional undergrad degrees.  UofT used to say they prefer non-professional undergrad degrees but I just did a quick search and it appears this is no longer their public position. Regardless, you can get into law school with any undergrad degree and if you already have a professional undergrad degree it doesn't make sense to go get another one to marginally improve your law school admissions chances.  

That seems counterintuitive to me. If I recall correctly, UT is one of the only schools which indicates some consideration of how difficult different undergrad programs are. I watched my sister do her BSN, and it seemed to be quite difficult. Certainly more so than my BA was. If there was any bias towards nursing school my guess would be that it would be in favour rather than against. 

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8 hours ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

This doesn't make any sense because there is no reason for it. Maybe there is a bias in effect but the proximate reason would be different. I could imagine something being true like applicants from, say, nursing degrees having a relatively lower chance of getting into law school, but that would probably be directly caused be something like people in nursing degrees tending to have lower GPAs, and not caused at all by ad coms disliking nursing degree applicants. 

Why do you think this?

I agree with you that there is likely some self-selection. However, there was a belief many years ago among many law schools (I don't think this is currently a dominant belief) that a liberal arts degree best prepares students for the study of law because its emphasis on research, writing, abstract thinking and theory. Professional degrees typically have little research,  writing, abstract thinking, and theory and therefore prepare students less well for law school even if they had the same GPA. I don't know if there was any evidence to actually support this belief that students with professional undergrad degrees did worst in law school than students with liberal arts degrees. Some law schools, like Western still "encourage [students] to take courses where you will have significant opportunities to research and write, as these are critical skills for legal study and practice"

 

7 hours ago, PlatoandSocrates said:

That seems counterintuitive to me. If I recall correctly, UT is one of the only schools which indicates some consideration of how difficult different undergrad programs are. I watched my sister do her BSN, and it seemed to be quite difficult. Certainly more so than my BA was. If there was any bias towards nursing school my guess would be that it would be in favour rather than against. 

I'm not familiar with nursing GPAs. But with the emphasis on diversity these days, I suspect candidates with professional degrees have an easier time getting into law school than they used to.  

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