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What's the deal with school rankings?

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27 minutes ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

Spending all your summers studying for the LSAT is incredibly stupid. It implies that with unlimited time your score will 
continue to improve. It won’t. You will hit a ceiling due to your innate ability with respect to the skills the lsat tests. Further, people that dedicate all their time to LSAT study to the exclusion of everything else do not do well in general, with respect to their mental health and happiness. This, in turn, effects their performance. I’ve seen it happen many times.
 

Gaining some work experience is a much better use of that time. 

Well, there seems to be a false binary here. For my part, I spent my summer studying for the LSAT while doing a full time internship and taking a class in both the spring and summer terms. It’s not an either-or proposition.

Furthermore, I’m not sure it’s true that everyone will eventually hit a ceiling. Some certainly will. But some do not have that ceiling. For my part, I scored a 166 (92nd percentile) after only ~30 hours of study and while studying for the second test which I eventually didn’t take I was consistently PTing in the low 170s (top score was 174). That top score was only after ~10 more hours of study.

Now, given the distribution of the exam scores (i.e. only a handful of people score a 180, more score 179, even more score 178, and so on)  and the busyness of my summer, would it have been wise for me to have started studying earlier? Could I have obtained a higher score had I done so? I don’t know. But I think it’s a possibility. And I think insinuating someone is a moron for accounting for that possibility by wanting to study earlier and more often, or that they’re ignorant of their supposed “ceiling,” is out of line, because there’s no way you could possibly know that.

EDIT: Also, didn’t mean to make this a brag about my scores. And if you were able to score higher scores with less study time than me, then I humbly salute you as my intellectual superior.

Edited by Chazz
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46 minutes ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

Except of course if they end up not going to law school. 
 

Which is probably more often the case. I know a lot of lawyers. Very few of them had their sights set on a career in law when they were 17 years old. 
 

It might just be a cultural thing (my family is Indian). There's a lot of pressure to get post-grad/professional degrees. A lot of Indo-Canadian kids start undergrad with the idea it's only the first of at least 2 degrees.

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The simple answer is that there is no objective "best" law school. Rankings are subjective (as this entire thread has shown). Canada has a population of ~35 million spread out over a massive land area. This pretty much makes the Country a land of regions where an artificial tier system doesn't matter as much. Plus there are so few schools here anyways that there really isn't any meaningful way to differentiate between them.  

You should be more concerned with the Cost / Benefit of the school you apply to. Some schools will be better than other schools at certain things, but just because one school is better at one thing it doesn't mean that it's overall better than any other school. You should figure out whether a certain law school is best suited to getting you to where you want to go (I.e. the type of law and market you want to practise). Moreover, you should figure out whether you'll be happy studying there. What would be the point of Studying at U of T or Mcgill if everyday you went there you wanted to walk in front of traffic? I'd happily take TRU or Ryerson over those two if it meant that everyday I woke up, I'd be excited to study law and I looked forward to the day ahead. 

As an aside, I think it's also somewhat wrong to think that just because X school has the strictest admissions criteria it would somehow be "the best". High barriers to entry does not guarantee that those who pass them are "better" students or more effectual potential lawyers. When I did MUN at Uni, the Ivey kids I met were pompous and lazy. It was the state school kids who were the ones working the hardest and coming up with brilliant ideas. It was the same when I worked full time. Brilliant people are everywhere. Just because they weren't selected by an institution doesn't mean they're less intelligent than those that were. 

Edited by Ichigo

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40 minutes ago, Re7o said:

This is a weird assumption to make and honestly comes across as salty. Most people I know who are high achievers actually engage in a lot of extracurriculars and internships. I don’t get why there’s this assumption that majority of UofT admits are all people who didn’t do anything but study all summer and chose easy programs, that’s honestly ridiculous. In fact, If you check the 2020 class profile, the majority of those attending are from an engineering/math/science background. 
https://www.law.utoronto.ca/about/jd-first-year-class-profile 

 

Also choosing an undergrad based on how easy it is so that you could get into law school is a bad decision. At that stage you are likely not even sure if you want to go to law school. The smart decision is to pick an undergrad that you actually enjoy so that you have a solid backup plan in case you realize that you do not want to be a lawyer. 

 

 

This was not my point and it was not my intention to come across as salty; was more so trying to say that a lack of financial security can lead students to make program decisions that make them less competitive applicants in terms of GPA relative to the path they might have chosen if that security were present. This is not to say that any specific cohort is full of students with an easy undergrad, nor that people with that security all chose an easy path or did not work as hard. It is only to say that sometimes that security, and more notably its absence, can make all the difference.

For those without it, for example, your last point about picking "an undergrad you enjoy" often takes the backseat to picking an undergrad that will not leave you in financial shambles. So while I agree with your point about how picking an undergrad based upon ease is a bad decision for the reasons you gave, I'm not sure everyone is looking at the same options when that decision gets made. Some doors are necessarily closed without that security, and sometimes those doors would have provided a more optimal path to law school. 

Edited by lugubriousgame
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1 minute ago, Ichigo said:

As an aside, I think it's also somewhat wrong to think that just because X school has the strictest admissions criteria it would somehow be "the best".

Of course it doesn’t. But there is empirical data that shows that an average UofT student would have an easier time in the 2L recruit compared to an average Windsor student. Does that mean that the average student at UofT is smarter than the average Windsor student? Not necessarily, but it would likely mean that firms think so. Or else how would you explain the data? 

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1 hour ago, erinl2 said:

It's somewhat comforting to see that law students, and applicants, continue the discussions/arguments/rants about rankings and about whose undergrad is more difficult, every damn year. You guys never disappoint! 

Bill Murray Movie GIF by Hollywood Suite

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17 minutes ago, Re7o said:

This is a weird assumption to make and honestly comes across as salty. Most people I know who are high achievers actually engage in a lot of extracurriculars and internships. I don’t get why there’s this assumption that majority of UofT admits are all people who didn’t do anything but study all summer and chose easy programs, that’s honestly ridiculous. In fact, If you check the 2020 class profile, the majority of those attending are from an engineering/math/science background. 
https://www.law.utoronto.ca/about/jd-first-year-class-profile 

 

Also choosing an undergrad based on how easy it is so that you could get into law school is a bad decision. At that stage you are likely not even sure if you want to go to law school. The smart decision is to pick an undergrad that you actually enjoy so that you have a solid backup plan in case you realize that you do not want to be a lawyer. 

 

 

Since when is 21% a majority?

“The smart decision is to pick an undergrad that you actually enjoy so that you have a solid backup plan in case you realize that you do not want to be a lawyer.”

Tell that to my buddy who did a deathly major, has a 3.5 GPA and is now depressed because he can’t get into any good law schools without absolutely crushing the LSAT. Meanwhile, his friends from high school who failed grade 10 math are getting offers because they did a BA in nonsense at the University of Grade Inflation. 

Also, I never suggested that a majority of students at top law schools took this route. All I am saying is that for most people, this would probably be the “path of least resistance.”

If this was a flawed reasoning question on the LSAT, the answer would be:

a) Anonymous LS poster presents a weaker version of the opponents argument and attacks that weakened argument rather than the original argument.

Look, I’m more than willing to concede the point that there are some people who majored in something rigorous, like UT mechanical engineering, absolutely crushed it, and got into a top law school. I never contested that point.  But at the very least, you should be willing to concede the point that there are definitely some very smart people who were put at a disadvantage by their undergraduate major and this severely hampered their chances compared to someone in an objectively easier program. 

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42 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

Tell that to my buddy who did a deathly major, has a 3.5 GPA and is now depressed because he can’t get into any good law schools without absolutely crushing the LSAT. Meanwhile, his friends from high school who failed grade 10 math are getting offers because they did a BA in nonsense at the University of Grade Inflation. 

I mean I can just counter this argument by saying that I know someone who got into UofT law with an engineering degree from UofT, which by your standards would be one of the hardest programs in the province. Also this is irrelevant to my point. I was saying that you make your undergrad decision with the intention of a backup plan, not just how “easy” it seems for law/Med school. 

42 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

Also, I never suggested that a majority of students at top law schools took this route. All I am saying is that for most people, this would probably be the “path of least resistance.”

My reply regarding majority was not to you it was to lugubrious.
 

42 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

Since when is 21% a majority?

Yeah this was a mistake, I meant the majority within the clusters. 21% vs 18% etc. (As in the most represented program is engineering/math/sciences)

42 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

But at the very least, you should be willing to concede the point that there are definitely some very smart people who were put at a disadvantage by their undergraduate major and this severely hampered their chances compared to someone in an objectively easier program. 

I never disagreed with this point. You are attacking an argument that isn’t even there. Of course there are some people who were impacted by their undergraduate decision. 

Edited by Re7o
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24 minutes ago, Re7o said:

Of course it doesn’t. But there is empirical data that shows that an average UofT student would have an easier time in the 2L recruit compared to an average Windsor student. Does that mean that the average student at UofT is smarter than the average Windsor student? Not necessarily, but it would likely mean that firms think so. Or else how would you explain the data? 

TBH I'm too lazy to do my DD on the topic, but I'd hazard to guess that it's a combination of factors related to U of T's position within Canada. U of T is one of the oldest Universities in the Country that is close the largest centers of power. Those two things alone mean that the school would have a strong alumni network. Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but I reckon firms are more likely to simply just approach schools where their staff studied to interview applicants. 

Of course I suppose an inflated sense of "prestige" is a factor no doubt. But at that point it's more of a "chicken vs egg" scenario (I.E. which came first, the prestige or the network). 

Edited by Ichigo
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3 minutes ago, Ichigo said:

TBH I'm too lazy to do my DD on the topic, but I'd hazard to guess that it's a combination of factors related to U of T's position within Canada. U of T is one of the oldest Universities in the Country that is close the largest centers of power. Those two things alone mean that the school would have a strong alumni network. Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but I reckon firms are more likely to simply just approach schools where their staff studied to interview applicants. 

Of course I suppose an inflated sense of "prestige" is a factor no doubt. But at that point it's more of a "chicken vs egg" scenario (I.E. which came first, the prestige or the network). 

My point isn’t really concerning as to what reasons UofT performs better, as it could be due to a variety of factors that you mentioned (networking, prestige, student body etc). All I'm saying is that there is empirical data that shows that an average student at UofT will outperform an average student at X school in the 2L recruit. Whether that is attributed to perceived prestige or network, I am not sure of.

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Just now, Re7o said:

My point isn’t really concerning as to what reasons UofT performs better, as it could be due to a variety of factors that you mentioned (networking, prestige, student body etc). All I'm saying is that there is empirical data that shows that an average student at UofT will outperform an average student at X school in the 2L recruit. Whether that is attributed to perceived prestige or network, I am not sure of.

Ah okay I understand. 

It would be great if there were studies done so that we were given more insight regarding student performance in Canadian law schools. Until then we'll all be pretty much running off of hearsay and conjecture on this topic. 

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1 hour ago, chicolate said:

Not interested in arguing with you but your comments are manifestly wrong and misleading. My friends and I went from 160 to 172/173 on the LSAT after studying longer and harder for the exam. You won't hit a ceiling due to your innate ability...and those who dedicate more time to studying for the LSAT don't necessarily have to preclude themselves from other activities. I worked full time while studying for my exams. There's absolutely no need for you to use words like "stupid" on a forum that seeks to support prospective applicants and fellow law students.

No one has said that people won't improve with study. The fact that you and your friend increased your scores doesn't inexorably lead to the conclusion that everyone can increase their score an unlimited amount. It doesn't even establish that you and your friend could increase your score an unlimited amount.

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15 minutes ago, Re7o said:

Of course there are some people who were impacted by their undergraduate decision. 

On that note, we can now proceed amicably. Have a good weekend 🙂

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31 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

 

Tell that to my buddy who did a deathly major, has a 3.5 GPA and is now depressed because he can’t get into any good law schools without absolutely crushing the LSAT. 

 

How can your buddy have a 3.5 GPA and somehow also have to "crush the LSAT" in order to get into a good school? Sounds like a McGill or U of T bust mentality. Your friend has plenty of options with even a modest LSAT score (159+). If he's not getting into a good school it sure as hell has nothing to do with his GPA

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8 minutes ago, Leafs2021 said:

How can your buddy have a 3.5 GPA and somehow also have to "crush the LSAT" in order to get into a good school? Sounds like a McGill or U of T bust mentality. Your friend has plenty of options with even a modest LSAT score (159+). If he's not getting into a good school it sure as hell has nothing to do with his GPA

Ryerson doesn’t count. 

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To add an additional perspective (which this thread clearly needs /s)

I don't think it is wrong to say where one goes to law school matters, as clearly, this thread is perpetuated in part by the notion that it does; but it also would be disingenuous to claim it is a significant, make or break factor

Law school rankings matter in the sense that they exist, though in what way they matter will always ultimately depend on the beholder. At the end of the day, Canadian law students are generally a very talented bunch (across schools, academic and experience wise), and Canada has significantly fewer law schools than the US, so law school rankings will mean comparatively less here.

Edited by LabouriousCorvid
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6 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

Ryerson doesn’t count. 

Who mentioned Ryerson? I know someone at Osgoode with a lower GPA than your buddy and a low 160. 🤡

Edited by Leafs2021
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5 minutes ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

Ryerson doesn’t count. 

A 3.5 GPA paired with a 160 LSAT is likely sufficient for every Ontario law school other than UofT and maybe Osgoode.

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8 minutes ago, Leafs2021 said:

Who mentioned Ryerson? I know someone at Osgoode with a lower GPA than your buddy and a low 160. 🤡

Anomaly 

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