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NoHopeLeftLol

Access/Discretionary

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Hello,

To anyone who understands how discretionary works, I am wondering what the details of this category are and what schools I should apply to, as well as what the best wording to use in my letters.

 

I was diagnosed 2 years ago with severe mental illness. My GPA is terrible 2.60 however my last semester I got a 4.3 and I believe I can pull off another 2 before applying in November. If I can get a psychiatrist letter and score 170 plus on the LSAT, and write a compelling letter, both of which I believe are possible, do you think a full year of perfect grades along with an explanation of my poor GPA and a good LSAT would be enough to get into a more holistic school such as TRU or Lakehead, or even Dalhousie? Do you know if Dalhousie counts summer semesters in their "last 2 years" metric? 

 

Sorry for the rambling. Any knowledge is appreciated on this subject

 

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I can't really afford Windsor. But I'm desperate to get into law school. As we know these days an undergrad degree is by itself a worthless scrap of paper. I understand that York and Toronto are out of the question, but I don't need to work on Bay Street, I have a dream of being a criminal defense lawyer in any capacity, even legal aid. I hope by showing that when motivated I am capable of high 90's and 100's as well as a good LSAT that I can impress the review boards and get in. I am unfortunately a white male and I know that doesn't help my chances for access but my illness was severe and kept me from taking my studies seriously. Now that I am focused I am studying 10 hours a day and breezing through all my courses. But I understand that sometimes it's just too late. Do you think it would sound like a sob story? Or would a severe mental illness qualify as discretionary/access? Any responses appreciated :)

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My best 2 years was 3.02, but this endeavor may be a waste of time and I fully understand that I should have dropped out rather than half-ass it for 5 years. But I need to know if discretionary boards would consider high 90's and 100's in full course load on top of a good lsat as enough evidence to admit?

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Okay, there's a lot to unpack here. First, even if you were interested in work on Bay Street, you can get there from literally any law school in Ontario. It's a misconception to think that you need to go to Osgoode or UofT for that. Hell, there are people from Lakehead working on Bay St. Bay St also recruits from Queens, Western, and Ottawa. Ottawa is likely out for you because they are a big cGPA school. The other schools are all worth a try depending how well you do in your last year. Queens is a B2 school meaning they look at your best two years, UofT is a B3 meaning they look at your best 3 years, Western considers both cGPA and L2 meaning if your cGPA is awful they will consider your last two years, Lakehead and Windsor are both holistic, and Ryerson is a B20 school meaning they consider your best 20 credits. Ottawa and Osgoode are likely out since they are both cGPA schools. 

Mental illness can qualify you for access, but you will likely need to get a letter or something from your psychiatrist to verify what you say. 

It's difficult to say where you can get in with imaginary stats. If you want to speak hypotheticals, then yes if you get a perfect GPA in your last semester followed with a 170+ LSAT I reckon you'll get into at least a few schools, even with an awful cGPA. But I really need to emphasize that that is such a silly question because you don't have that perfect GPA in your last year followed by a 170+ LSAT. And so, so few people get a 170+ LSAT. Have you taken a diagnostic yet? For most people that is simply out of reach. 

Law school is not out of the question for you yet. Just do the best that you can in your following year, try to score the highest LSAT score you can (the idea that you need a 170+ is ridiculous, you could probably still get in somewhere with a 160+), and then come back here with real stats when you're ready to apply. 

Edited by 0Lawschool2020
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5 hours ago, NoHopeLeftLol said:

I am unfortunately a white male and I know that doesn't help my chances for access

I would leave this out of any further conversation you have on this subject. Access is 0% dependent on your race or gender, and it’s not a good look to think being a white male is going to be a disadvantage for you.

 

That said, as someone who applied Access/Discretionary/Mature across the board, you should be fine at some of the L2 or B2 schools if you do continue to get those stellar grades. As another poster said, as far as LSAT goes, everyone thinks they’ll get above 170 but statistically that is not possible, even if you’re getting that on your practice tests. So it’s impossible to make a predication there.

My best advice is to leave this forum for a while, concentrate on school, study this summer for the LSAT, and apply in the Fall knowing you have done your best. 

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3 hours ago, 0Lawschool2020 said:

Okay, there's a lot to unpack here. First, even if you were interested in work on Bay Street, you can get there from literally any law school in Ontario. It's a misconception to think that you need to go to Osgoode or UofT for that. Hell, there are people from Lakehead working on Bay St. Bay St also recruits from Queens, Western, and Ottawa. Ottawa is likely out for you because they are a big cGPA school. The other schools are all worth a try depending how well you do in your last year. Queens is a B2 school meaning they look at your best two years, UofT is a B3 meaning they look at your best 3 years, Western considers both cGPA and L2 meaning if your cGPA is awful they will consider your last two years, Lakehead and Windsor are both holistic, and Ryerson is a B20 school meaning they consider your best 20 credits. Ottawa and Osgoode are likely out since they are both cGPA schools. 

Mental illness can qualify you for access, but you will likely need to get a letter or something from your psychiatrist to verify what you say. 

It's difficult to say where you can get in with imaginary stats. If you want to speak hypotheticals, then yes if you get a perfect GPA in your last semester followed with a 170+ LSAT I reckon you'll get into at least a few schools, even with an awful cGPA. But I really need to emphasize that that is such a silly question because you don't have that perfect GPA in your last year followed by a 170+ LSAT. And so, so few people get a 170+ LSAT. Have you taken a diagnostic yet? For most people that is simply out of reach. 

Law school is not out of the question for you yet. Just do the best that you can in your following year, try to score the highest LSAT score you can (the idea that you need a 170+ is ridiculous, you could probably still get in somewhere with a 160+), and then come back here with real stats when you're ready to apply. 

Okay, thank you so much for your help

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2 hours ago, rebeccamtl said:

I would leave this out of any further conversation you have on this subject. Access is 0% dependent on your race or gender, and it’s not a good look to think being a white male is going to be a disadvantage for you.

 

That said, as someone who applied Access/Discretionary/Mature across the board, you should be fine at some of the L2 or B2 schools if you do continue to get those stellar grades. As another poster said, as far as LSAT goes, everyone thinks they’ll get above 170 but statistically that is not possible, even if you’re getting that on your practice tests. So it’s impossible to make a predication there.

My best advice is to leave this forum for a while, concentrate on school, study this summer for the LSAT, and apply in the Fall knowing you have done your best. 

I understand what you're saying. I figure if I give it my best shot, that's all I can do! I'm glad you believe that I may have a chance!

 

Also, that was part of my question. I wasn't sure if access was simply for minorities or if mental health could be included.

 

Thank you for your response!

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2 hours ago, NoHopeLeftLol said:

I understand what you're saying. I figure if I give it my best shot, that's all I can do! I'm glad you believe that I may have a chance!

 

Also, that was part of my question. I wasn't sure if access was simply for minorities or if mental health could be included.

 

Thank you for your response!

No worries! Each school will specify what qualifies for their particular categories on their admissions websites. We don’t have any URM considerations like they do in the USA, if that’s what you mean. As long as you can prove that your mental health affected your grades in a measurable way, and that since you’ve sought help your grades have improved, your claim is legitimate. When it’s time (not now, they are super busy with this cycles admissions), reach out to the admissions teams at the schools you’re interested in. They are very helpful! 

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On 1/22/2021 at 3:07 PM, rebeccamtl said:

No worries! Each school will specify what qualifies for their particular categories on their admissions websites. We don’t have any URM considerations like they do in the USA, if that’s what you mean. As long as you can prove that your mental health affected your grades in a measurable way, and that since you’ve sought help your grades have improved, your claim is legitimate. When it’s time (not now, they are super busy with this cycles admissions), reach out to the admissions teams at the schools you’re interested in. They are very helpful! 

Okay! Thanks for your help and encouragement! :)

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