Archive for January, 2013


Tier List

I’m not really sure if this is going to help me or if I’m just wasting my time. Nevertheless, I thought I’d lay out my thoughts about schools as they currently stand.

Obviously, ranking the schools from 1-11 is going to be impossible at such an early stage in the process. It may even prove impossible five months from now when decision time is at hand.  But here’s where I’m at right now:

At the top, things are pretty clear: Toronto is my top choice. As it stands, if I get in here, it will be very hard to say no.

At the bottom, things are equally clear. Leicester is #11. Unless I receive ten rejections, I won’t be going there.

But from #2-#10, things are a little murkier. Here’s what I know though:

  • Of the 6 Ontario schools, Windsor is #6. In addition, I would rather go to LSE or UCL than Windsor. Therefore, Windsor can be no higher than 8th on my list. 
  • At this point, I feel that if I’m going to go to the UK, it’s going to be either LSE or UCL. That would place Queen Mary and Durham 9th and 10th on my list.
  • Of the 6 Ontario schools, Ottawa is #5. Therefore, Ottawa can be no higher than 5th on my list, but no lower than 7th.

Putting this very small amount of information together, I can come up with a tier list. Note that within tiers, schools are listed in alphabetical order – not necessarily in order of preference:

S Tier (1)

University of Toronto

A Tier (2-7)

LSE
Osgoode
Ottawa
Queen’s
UCL
Western

B Tier (8-10)

Durham
Queen Mary
Windsor

C Tier (11)

Leicester

All of this is subject to change, of course. Schools can move up and down at any time, and nothing is set in stone. Even U of T could move down from its coveted #1 position. Right now I don’t foresee that happening, but there’s a lot that I don’t foresee.

The key for me will be sorting out that A tier. Odds are that I’ll get into at least half of those schools, and so the school that I go to next year will probably be one of those six. The vast majority of the research I do will be focused on trying to choose between those six schools.

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Let The Games Begin!

Here we go folks. For the next five months or so my life is going to be dominated by one single question: Where do I go next year?

If this sounds familiar, that’s probably because you knew me four years ago, when for 48 horrible days I grappled with the decision on where to start my university career. And after carefully examining my situation, doing some deep soul-searching, and analyzing every variable… I still got it wrong.

Well, it’s like that again. Only this time, the stakes are much higher. Instead of two schools, I have twelve to consider. And unlike last time, when I knew that I would be accepted to every school I applied to (except Harvard and Yale, where realistically my chances were almost nil), this time there are no real guarantees one way or the other. So there’s the additional element of waiting. Schools tend to make rolling offers of acceptance, so I could potentially hear back from schools at any time between now and August – though I anticipate the majority will make decisions in mid-to-late March.

As it happens, I’ve heard back from two schools this week. Let’s check The Big Board, shall we?

Unknown Waitlisted Rejected

Accepted

University of Toronto (1) McGill University (12) University of Leicester (11)
Queen’s University
Western University
Osgoode Hall
University of Ottawa
University of Windsor
Queen Mary
Durham University
London School of Economics
University College London

Perhaps fittingly, the two schools I heard from first were my bottom two choices. McGill turned me down, while Leicester accepted me.

It might strike you as odd that McGill – one of the top law schools in this country – should be my last choice. To be frank, I never should have applied to McGill in the first place. The day before applications were due, I panicked and decided to quickly assemble a McGill application in order to give myself one more option. I didn’t do enough research on the school – all I did was check that you didn’t have to be bilingual. Well, I did some research later, and discovered that while being bilingual isn’t necessary, some of the required course readings are in French. And while I can read and write French at a basic level – perhaps even at an intermediate level – reading legal texts is a whole other story. Reading those in English is hard enough. So that’s why McGill is at the bottom of my preferences.

I’m not concerned at all about the McGill rejection. I wasn’t rejected based on any kind of academic grounds. Apparently I just didn’t fill in the application correctly and left out a key element. That’s what happens when you try to fill out a law school application in an hour.  Once I learned of McGill’s French requirements I just didn’t bother checking to see if I needed to send the school anything else. So, no big deal. The fact that I got into Leicester means that I wouldn’t have been going to McGill anyhow.

The Leicester acceptance is interesting in that it came so soon. I only submitted the application on the 7th – ten days ago. To be fair, this was the main reason I applied to Leicester – it was the closest thing to a sure bet as I had. The requirements were low enough that unless I screwed up my application, I should be in rather easily. Plus, the law school there has a surprisingly large Canadian contingent – enough so that there’s actually an office at the school specifically to support Canadian students. That’s pretty cool. Still, the fact is that Leicester isn’t all that great a school. Plus, this little blurb is written on the Canadian Applicants section of the school’s website:

“Neither ice hockey nor Tim Hortons have reached Leicester yet. However, there is a rink and team in Nottingham (just a 30 minute train ride away) and with an ever-increasing number of Canadians in Leicester, a petition to Mr Horton may be required!”

…Never mind the fact that Tim Horton has been dead for nearly 40 years now.

So yeah, that’s where we stand at the present. Two schools in, and ten to go. The fun has only just begun.

Let The Gods Decide

Yesterday I wrote the LNAT – the younger and less intimidating brother to the LSAT. I think it went reasonably well. If anything, I might have made the mistake of over-thinking a few questions. Unlike the LSAT, which is primarily written by students in the last least of their undergraduate careers, the LNAT is written primarily by students in their last year of high school. For some reason, this didn’t occur to me until after I finished the test, and so I may have put a little too much effort into seeking out trick questions and reading too deeply into things. When writing the LSAT, every single word is important, and seemingly insignificant differences in wording can make a whole world of difference. I got the sense that the LNAT was a lot less strict with its language, and I fear that this may have fooled me a few times.

But nevertheless, what’s done is done. And now, having received my grades for this term (which were excellent) and my second LSAT score (another 162), there’s little else I can do to increase or decrease my odds of getting in to law school at this point.

My second term grades will still be important, but these won’t be revealed until May and most of the schools I’ve applied to should have already made a decision on me well before then.

Then there’s the option of taking the LSAT a third time. Having taken the test twice and scored 162 both times, I have a pretty good indication of what I would score on a third go-around. With that said, I’m leaning towards taking it again. With two 162s already in the bag, I can’t really hurt myself.

But, aside from that, I’ve already done everything I can do. So now I shall sit back and let the gods decide my fate.