Friday, February 24, 2006

Law School Admissions: Deferring law school in Canada

Many prospective law students do not realize that there is often an opportunity to defer your studies for up to one year. Note that not all law schools offer this option. However, it may be a good option for you. Some examples of good reasons to defer law studies for a year are:

1. Finishing a graduate degree. I know of one classmate who attempted to finish a Master of Arts degree concurrently, without joint-degree status, and ended up spending both summers tackling the issue. Had he taken a year off before studying law, he might have circumvented the high stress he experienced. He also would have opened up his summers to potentially work in the legal field. Another student attempted the same with a Master of Science and ended up spending her first summer doing something that she did not feel would help directly with her law career. However, both of these individuals had made a commitment to finish their graduate degrees.

2. Getting an offer for a job that you just cannot refuse. I had a friend who received an offer to work for the Liberal Party in Ottawa – something he had always wanted to do. He managed to get a deferral from some of the schools that he had applied to and was able to try the government job. It was a great résumé booster, and a fantastic opportunity that he would have missed otherwise.

3. You need to save up for school. Now you can take up to a year to work full time, get prepared, and the pressure will be off, because you have already been accepted.

Be sure that you apply for deferral in plenty of time, and that you put forward a very strong case. Do not just assume that a school will hold a spot for you once you have received an offer. Also check into tuition fee hikes or differential fees that your faculty may have scheduled. If waiting an extra year will add thousands of dollars to your cost, you should consider this in your decision-making.


Anonymous said...


I am very interested in this topic. From your experience which are schools different reactions to requests for deferrals? Are some schools more likely to accept a reuqest to defer then others? I am seriously considering deferring either Osgoode or McGill, but I'm not sure how to go about it.


blueravine at

Adam Letourneau said...

I'm sorry blueravine - I don't have current deferral policies for all of the law schools right now. Does anyone else know the policy for any particular school? I do know that the University of Alberta did not allow my buddy to defer at that school, and he had to reapply, even though he had received deferrals from UBC, and U of C.