Admission to Law School

You should check the specific requirements of each law school to which you may be interested in applying. The following are some very general guidelines:

  1. Undergraduate degree (or completion of initial years of studies)
    • The most common requirement for entrance to law school is an undergraduate degree. While, some or all law schools in Canada may only require applicants to have completed the first 2 or 3 years of an undergraduate program, I believe most people accepted to law schools have bachelor degrees or an equivalent. There may be exceptions though. For example, some law schools provide special application status for mature students, indigenous students, and students with disabilities.
    • Excellent marks in undergraduate studies is very helpful, if not required (there may be exceptions for special applications). Excellent marks may also help with entrance scholarships.
    • Your undergraduate degree (or courses) may be generally be in any university program – there is no formal pre-law program that I know of in Canada at this point. But, the following types of courses may be helpful for background: Canadian History and/or Constitution, Canadian Politics, Logic (including arguments & fallacies), undergraduate law courses (such as VIU’s LAWW 326, CRIM 135 & 235, CSCI 300), and any courses that promote strong analytical, critical thinking and argumentation skills.
  2. Community and/or school involvement
    • Some law schools consider an applicant’s contribution to his/her community, such as volunteer work, student involvement in school governance and leadership, prior work experience, etc.
  3. LSAT (Law School Admission Test)
    • The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) administers the LSAT.
    • The LSAT is a standard admission test used by Canadian law schools.
    • It can be a challenging test, particularly in that it is long and very tightly timed.
    • You will likely want to look into writing the LSAT early, given that many law schools begin accepting applications (and awarding placements) quite early (e.g. shortly after beginning to accept applications).
    • You may want to prepare for a while before the test. There are study guides for the LSAT and you can also order previous exams from the LSAC). It can really help to become familiar with the types of questions.
    • The LSAC website provides a wealth of information, including test locations and times.
    • If you fail the first exam, take heart! You can write again. Some law schools take the highest score – BUT, as with everything to do with applying for law school, you need to check with your law school of choice to see how they deal with multiple test scores.
  4. Law School Application
    • Choosing the right law school is important. You may want to research this carefully. Some potential questions include: What is the school’s reputation? Does the school have a good selection of courses in an area of interest? What is the underlying philosophy of the law school? The schools websites may be a good resource. You could also ask the admissions office for help in getting you in touch with current students and alumni. Members of the Law Network have attended a variety of law schools. Dana Collete would be glad to speak with you about the law school she attended, UVic.
    • Each law school has its own application process and some may be part of a provincial system.
    • You should look as early as possible at the entrance requirements for the particular schools. Some schools begin accepting students on a rolling admission basis, beginning much earlier than their deadline for application.
    • NOTE: It is strongly recommend that you take care to ensure that your application is well written and grammatically sound. This is a good time to show that you can pay attention to detail.
  5. Getting accepted!
    • It’s pretty exciting – and sometimes daunting – when you receive your letter of acceptance. You may receive letters of acceptance from several schools. Each may have a different deadline for confirming that you will be attending. You may want to strategise carefully if your preferred school is not among the first to accept you (e.g. it may be helpful to call the admissions office to find out how your application is coming along before confirming with another law school).
    • If you are not accepted, take heart! Give the school a call and find out what you can do next time to increase your chances of being accepted.

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