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Sartre123

U.K. LLB vs. Low Tier Canadian JD

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55 minutes ago, Sartre123 said:

I actually have to disagree with your opinion. Though the notion of prestige within the university system is somewhat lesser in comparison to that of the UK and USA, the notion still exists. Theres a reason its harder to get into UofT than York or Ryerson, Brock or Lakehead. Having a degree from a school like UofT displays a form of personal academic pedigree which cannot be matched by most other Canadian universites.  

Attending U of T and doing well there may convey certain information, certainly, and perhaps some of that information could be termed "prestige." I think the term is a little silly and ridiculous, but whatever.

Leaving aside however hard it actually is to get into U of T as an undergrad (and it really isn't that hard), attending U of T and not doing well there really only indicates that you did well in high school.

You may think we're all big meanies for telling you things you don't want to hear. But trust me when I say this. You won't be able to get by for much longer in life hoping to be treated like you are obviously smart, special, and talented only because you did well in high school. You're really going to have to produce more recent accomplishments than that if you want other people to keep validating your high opinion of yourself.

Edited by Diplock
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No one's really mentioned cost? If you're not a "home student" you pay exorbitant costs for a UK education, and those prices are in pounds. As for prestige, no such system exists in Canada currently, but we might have something akin to it in a few decades with the ludicrous tuition increases at UofT law and other Ontario schools. I've lived in the Annex for short periods of time and enjoyed the night life and ball games at rogers centre, but who'd wanna pay sticker price for that?

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59 minutes ago, Sartre123 said:

I actually have to disagree with your opinion. Though the notion of prestige within the university system is somewhat lesser in comparison to that of the UK and USA, the notion still exists. Theres a reason its harder to get into UofT than York or Ryerson, Brock or Lakehead. Having a degree from a school like UofT displays a form of personal academic pedigree which cannot be matched by most other Canadian universites.  

Assuming you are talking about undergrad, I do not understand the blanket claim that it is harder to get into UofT than other schools, as it largely depends on the program you are applying to. Ex: For business, York's program is arguably more competitive than UofT's.   

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Going back to the original post -

OP, if mental health issues played a role, you might want to look into the access category at various schools,. For example, if you have been diagnosed with Depression and realised in your third year that this wasn't just fatigue or a general laziness but an actual condition and medication or therapy set you right, and your grades improved and you can show that this a problem that brought down grades which would otherwise have been much higher - there is an appropriate process to make an application including this info.

Schools want to know that you can handle the rigours of the program but they are also interested in making sure that things like mental or physical illness (the boundaries of which are pretty blurred), or life events like the sudden death of a spouse or homelessness or what have you, that these things don't prevent otherwise good candidates from being considered.

So take a look, be realistic, and see. Worth your time.

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2 hours ago, Mal said:

No, it doesn't. All it shows is that you did well in high school.

I'd even argue that going to a "higher ranked" school doesn't even show that, since there are still high-performing high school students who go to "lower ranked" schools for various personal reasons (ranging from preference to necessity), while likewise there are also low-performing high school students who manage to get into larger, 1000+ person general arts/science faculties at U of T or McMaster (might be overshooting with that number but I can't imagine it's far off).

All getting a degree from somewhere like U of T shows is that you got a degree like the rest of the applicants out there.

That's why adcomms, from what I've seen and heard, don't give weight to what school you went to before applying. 

Edited by navyblue11
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9 hours ago, Sartre123 said:

Having a degree from a school like UofT displays a form of personal academic pedigree which cannot be matched by most other Canadian universites.  

I don't think any law schools care in the slightest where you got your undergrad degree from (as long as its an accredited institution and not the University of American Samoa or something)

I loved doing my undergrad at UBC, but I've told a number of my younger relatives to forget about "prestige" and attend whichever school they feel they can thrive at. Often its smaller, local schools like KPU, UFV, BCIT (in BC).

OP, you might have a better shot at a Canadian law school if you put that ego aside and transfer out of U of T to a school with smaller class sizes and more hands-on teaching.

Edited by canuckfanatic

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9 hours ago, Sartre123 said:

I actually have to disagree with your opinion. Though the notion of prestige within the university system is somewhat lesser in comparison to that of the UK and USA, the notion still exists. Theres a reason its harder to get into UofT than York or Ryerson, Brock or Lakehead. Having a degree from a school like UofT displays a form of personal academic pedigree which cannot be matched by most other Canadian universites.  

Since this is one of the few posts here you responded to, I'm assuming that you are banking on this to help you down the line. Unfortunately, there is a difference in undergraduate admissions requirements across programs and the general public, employers, and law school admissions will view U of T engineering or mathematics very differently from arts or sciences. The former has pretty stringent admissions standards requiring low-mid 90s, while the latter requires low 80s and in the case of UTSC and UTM, you can get in with low-mid 70s.

U of T is also the largest university in Canada and has high enrollment numbers for their arts and science programs. Honestly speaking, no one is going to be impressed that you have a C to B average in a general arts or science program there. And you want to get out of this mentality quick as it can prevent you from moving forward. 

I've met quite a number of foreign graduates who've complained to me that the only reason they didn't get into law school in Canada is because they went to U of T, UBC, McGill, Waterloo, etc. The arguments are usually petty, bitter, irrational and just doesn't present a good look. Whatever school or program you attend, you need to demonstrate academic achievement. 

One of the best pieces of advice I got was from a lawyer I met at an undergraduate law event. I had gotten into law school then and told him the news. He gave me a simple "Congratulations" - almost shrugging his shoulders and said - Now don't stop. Don't rest on your laurels. You still have a lot to do. And boy was he right. I'm a lawyer now and I still have a lot to do. The grind doesn't stop. You need to keep climbing and achieving. 

This is my message to you - Congratulations on the U of T degree. Now don't stop. Don't rest on that laurel. You still have a lot to do. Focus on getting the best grades you can finishing your undergrad. Take an extra year or two to raise your GPA if you have to. Study hard for the LSAT and don't take the actual test until you are ready and your practice test scores are sitting where you need them to be. Just keep grinding it out. Don't let past failures stop you from achieving and don't rest on your laurels to stop moving forward either. All the best. 

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Oh look, another NCA thread! 

To build on some previous posts, I have hired multiple rounds of Canadian grads for student positions (both summer and articling) as an NCA grad myself.  Even I have a knee-jerk bias against NCA resumes. 

Don't go NCA unless it is your last option. And even then, if it is your last option, consider rewriting the LSAT. 

As to prestige - I don't really care where you went in Canada. I have found the best interviewees during OCIs are from Windsor, and I have hired students from there that turned out to be fantastic.  Your school only carries you so far. The rest is on you. 

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20 hours ago, Hegdis said:

Going back to the original post -

OP, if mental health issues played a role, you might want to look into the access category at various schools,. For example, if you have been diagnosed with Depression and realised in your third year that this wasn't just fatigue or a general laziness but an actual condition and medication or therapy set you right, and your grades improved and you can show that this a problem that brought down grades which would otherwise have been much higher - there is an appropriate process to make an application including this info.

Schools want to know that you can handle the rigours of the program but they are also interested in making sure that things like mental or physical illness (the boundaries of which are pretty blurred), or life events like the sudden death of a spouse or homelessness or what have you, that these things don't prevent otherwise good candidates from being considered.

So take a look, be realistic, and see. Worth your time.

I appreciate your advice, thank you!

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21 hours ago, Diplock said:

Attending U of T and doing well there may convey certain information, certainly, and perhaps some of that information could be termed "prestige." I think the term is a little silly and ridiculous, but whatever.

Leaving aside however hard it actually is to get into U of T as an undergrad (and it really isn't that hard), attending U of T and not doing well there really only indicates that you did well in high school.

You may think we're all big meanies for telling you things you don't want to hear. But trust me when I say this. You won't be able to get by for much longer in life hoping to be treated like you are obviously smart, special, and talented only because you did well in high school. You're really going to have to produce more recent accomplishments than that if you want other people to keep validating your high opinion of yourself.

Thank you for your continued thoughts on this matter. Though youve overlooked the essence of my question and the extenuating circumstance which lead me to underachieving in my firs two years, your comments are appreciated!

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13 hours ago, Shady said:

 In your situation, considering the overall debt you already carry from your undergraduate and in light of the personal circumstances you have already shared. I would highly advise you to exhaust all Canadian options before considering studying abroad, because failure to do so might cripple your legal career prospects before you can even start it. 

Thank you so much for your genuine interest in lending a helping hand. I appreciate your view and I will definitely explore my Canadian options prior to considering the abroad route. Very helpful! 

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12 hours ago, Deadpool said:

 

This is my message to you - Congratulations on the U of T degree. Now don't stop. Don't rest on that laurel. You still have a lot to do. Focus on getting the best grades you can finishing your undergrad. Take an extra year or two to raise your GPA if you have to. Study hard for the LSAT and don't take the actual test until you are ready and your practice test scores are sitting where you need them to be. Just keep grinding it out. Don't let past failures stop you from achieving and don't rest on your laurels to stop moving forward either. All the best. 

Thanks so much for this message. I genuinely appreciate you and others offering words of motivation and wisdom! The grind doesnt stop here, and I am on the up this year GPA wise. As well, I will be taking a 5th year in the hopes to offset my poor cGPA. Cheers

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58 minutes ago, Sartre123 said:

Thank you for your continued thoughts on this matter. Though youve overlooked the essence of my question and the extenuating circumstance which lead me to underachieving in my firs two years, your comments are appreciated!

No offense dude, you're not the only one who had to deal with "extenuating circumstance" during your undergrad. You may think it's a significant factor, but admission committees hear excuses for poor grades soo often that they just don't care. For record, this is coming from someone who also had extenuating circumstance during my undergrad that negatively impacted my grades. 

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To directly address OP's question, I once spoke to a recruiter for a national firm who said unless you go to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Oxford, or Cambridge, don't go international. Their mentality is that if you can go to one of those schools and get good marks, clearly you're smart enough to pick up Canadian law and do well here despite having the disadvantage of not going to school here, plus it looks impressive on their website because their clients will recognize those schools. Aside from those, it's just not worth their effort to try to train you in Canadian law and break outside of their normal recruitment patterns. 

That firm had a UNB grad articling at their Toronto office at the time, and I'm sure had students from so-called "lower tier" law schools at their other offices. Nearly every firm will gladly hire a good student from any law school in their province. I've met a lot of successful people from nearly any Canadian law school (except Ryerson for obvious reasons), and not many from international schools. As others have said, a good LSAT can go a long way, so I would focus your efforts there and try to get into any Canadian school.

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2 minutes ago, SadJaysFan said:

To directly address OP's question, I once spoke to a recruiter for a national firm who said unless you go to Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Oxford, or Cambridge, don't go international. Their mentality is that if you can go to one of those schools and get good marks, clearly you're smart enough to pick up Canadian law and do well here despite having the disadvantage of not going to school here, plus it looks impressive on their website because their clients will recognize those schools. Aside from those, it's just not worth their effort to try to train you in Canadian law and break outside of their normal recruitment patterns. 

Not to derail, but...

Columbia grads are smart enough to take a punt on, but not Stanford grads?

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4 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

Stanford grads?

I think the poster was just listing a few examples.

From my knowledge, among the Anglosphere schools, it's either the top schools or nothing (and this isn't just relevant to law, same thing happens in other fields). So effectively Tier-1 US+upper tier 2 (e.g., Vanderbilt), Oxbridge+LSE, Melbourne/Sydney.

That being said, I disagree with the notion that it's entirely a "couldn't get into a Canadian school" or "knowing Canadian law" thing for the corporate world. It's kind of disingenuous to put all Canadian law schools up on a pedestal when the average cohort at Michigan State is on par with Ryerson. You don't see many international graduates in Canada, simply because why would they come to Canada?

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1 hour ago, shawniebear said:

No offense dude, you're not the only one who had to deal with "extenuating circumstance" during your undergrad. You may think it's a significant factor, but admission committees hear excuses for poor grades soo often that they just don't care. For record, this is coming from someone who also had extenuating circumstance during my undergrad that negatively impacted my grades. 

Umm I never assumed that I was the only one who encountered extenuating circumstances. Thank you for your thoughts though!

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My only remaining caution would be to make sure you don’t confuse extenuating circumstances with, well, life. 

A bad breakup or parents getting divorced or picking the wrong degree and getting overwhelmed - leaving home for the first time and having no idea how to budget - having to move homes or work full or part time - catching the flu and spending three weeks recovering - I could go on. These things are just Life. 

This is why the access category often requires medical documentation. It’s a metric that removes the applicant’s subjective view of their own hardships.  Everyone goes through heartbreak and debt and having a job. Everyone gets the flu. Everyone fucks up in their first year by drinking too much or taking too much on or supporting a friend who is doing those things. It’s not easy but it’s also not different from any of the competition. @Diplock has called this the fallacy of the perfect life.

I am NOT suggesting this is at play here because I honestly don’t know. But I do know that applicants - particularly K-JD applicants with little life experience (as I was) - can have difficulty with this perspective. 
 

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On 2/7/2021 at 2:47 PM, Sartre123 said:

I actually have to disagree with your opinion. Though the notion of prestige within the university system is somewhat lesser in comparison to that of the UK and USA, the notion still exists. Theres a reason its harder to get into UofT than York or Ryerson, Brock or Lakehead. Having a degree from a school like UofT displays a form of personal academic pedigree which cannot be matched by most other Canadian universites.  

In addition to what everyone else has said, it's worth remembering that law obviously does vary between provinces and U of T is the most expensive law school in Canada. I didn't even apply to U of T because I didn't see the point of paying 2-3x more for a degree that would teach me the laws of a province I never intend to live in.

Similarly, someone who has a 4.0 GPA but wants to live in the Okanagan long term to be near their family and wants to practice criminal law would be a lot better off at TRU than they would wasting a bunch of money paying Toronto rent and U of T tuition, only to go into practice where they're not going to be making much money. 

Obviously people have plenty of reasons for attending other Canadian law schools, assuming they just couldn't get into law school at U of T is absurd. 

Edited by Starling
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