Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Admissions: The Importance of where you do your undergrad degree

I had a call from a reader today who was considering transferring from her local, traditional university program to a long-distance learning program offerred through Athabasca University. Her question was whether such a move would be detrimental to her application success rate at various law schools. This is a good question, and I was glad to receive it.

From what I have heard, most, if not all law schools will not base your acceptance upon which university you have graduated from. However, I could be wrong about that. I would really appreciate any insight from any of you out there.

I can only really speak from personal experience. I completed my first degree at the University of Calgary. I wasn't satisfied with my GPA, and found my degree to be less than useful, so I enrolled at Athabasca University (Alberta) and completed a second degree in my true passion, English. My GPA was excellent, and seemed to serve very well in helping me to gain admittance at a number of law schools across Canada.

I have never heard of undergrad prejudice amongst admissions committees, but again, I could be proven wrong. I would love to hear any stories that would counter my experience.


Anonymous said...

While there is no official above-board prejudice, might there be hidden ones within those reviewing applications? The issue might not be about the university you chose, but the method of learning you undertook. Distance learning is not the same as in-class learning, and may have an impact on how you are viewed as being capable to handle the "load" and "method" of learning in law school. The question, I suppose, would be, "why is she transferring?" The reason may very well make all the difference. That being said, I believe I heard somewhere that graduates from Queen's University in Kingston, ON, are seen as the most indispensable assets, and a rare, brilliant crop of minds. (I can't recall where that came from...) It's a good thing I'm from Queen's!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Canadian Law Schools do not have preferences as to where the degree is obtained, and certainly not University of Toronto Faculty of Law. All common law law schools (except for McGill) require a candidate to write the LSAT. The LSAT provides a 'common ground' so to speak for ranking candidates.

'WHY' you are transferring is not going to be a real issue. The admissions policies for each law school vary.

I can't imagine any school or type of learning (ie distance vs inclass) that could prepare someone for the 'load' at law school or even the method of learning there. This is especially since law is taught differently than almost any undergrad program I have ever heard of.

You need an excellent GPA and a good LSAT to get into law school. If Athabasca is where you will get it, go there with no fear of prejudice.