Opinion

GETTING IN – A 0L GUIDE

08 0L Guide

Most of you reading this have worked hard in gaining your spot in the Faculty of Law, while some may have even lucked out. However your journey may have looked, it is behind you! But more likely than not, you will often get questions on your journey, and how exactly to get into law school. This piece is intended to serve as a general guide on how to answer these questions correctly.

The application deadline is November 1st of any given year. The current target for admission is 175 students per year, though this number can fluctuate slightly. On average, there are approximately 1200 applicants each year. Admission requirements are split into two main categories: Regular and Special.

Regular admission is where the majority of students are admitted. For the most part, it is a straightforward mathematical process. The application package requires a GPA score on the 4-point scale (calculated on the basis of the last 60 credits of post secondary marks) and an LSAT score (can be written as late as December of the application year). If the student has taken the LSAT more than once, the scores are averaged. The 0L’s GPA and LSAT will be combined in a fancy formula to form the Prediction Indicator (“PI”) which will then rank the applicants in a straightforward manner. The formula used to divine this PI is shrouded in mystery, but is said to weigh GPA and LSAT scores roughly equal. Other institutions may have a more defined lean towards one factor over the other.

There is some sample documentation available from the Student Services office in the Faculty building which provides guidance on what scores were for previous years. The average GPA of applicants is said to be 3.8, and the average LSAT score 161. This may look daunting to most, but a closer analysis shows that only 38 students were at or above these averages out of 158 admitted in the general category using these numbers – which is 24%. This means that 76% of applicants only met or exceeded one of these numbers, and in fact about 16% had scores lower than both! This is just a rough example looking at the preceding year.

When looking at PIs of applicants who are in close contention, the admission committee can (at its discretion) look at factors which may have affected certain grades or LSAT scores adversely, but are not likely to negatively affect ability to succeed in law school. This means if the 0L has an unlucky mark in a particular course which was a pre-requisite, or was perhaps unconnected with the majority of their main study area – it may be bumped up.

In the borderline cases, the admission committee may consider a broader range of factors to distinguish between 0Ls that have very similar or even identical PI scores. Once a large number of spots are accepted by 0Ls, the few spots that remain have a large number of near-identical 0Ls competing for them, and so invite closer scrutiny to distinguish them. Factors that may be considered include: difficulty and quality of previous coursework, employment experience, community involvement, physical and cultural factors, alongside possible economic disadvantages.

Special Admission may be granted to Aboriginal and Mature applicants. Their GPA and LSAT scores are still necessary, and these applicants will first be considered in the Regular category. The Special category also requires personal statements, resumes, and reference letters – soft factors which are not accepted in cases of regular applicants under the general category. To be considered in this category as a mature student, the applicant must be over 35 years old. Starting with the application for the 2015/2016 academic year, mature applicants are no longer included in the special category and will have to apply in the general category alongside everyone else.