Statement of Admission Policy
The Faculty of Law seeks to identify and select a student body of diverse interests and backgrounds that demonstrates unusual promise for distinguished performance at the law school, and, subsequently, in the legal profession and community.
The law school is enriched by and Canadian society benefites from a diverse student body made up of students from various ethnic, racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, from different regions of Canada, as well as a range of academic disciplines, careers, and community and extracurricular experiences.
The Admissions Committee, chaired by a faculty member and composed of the Assistant Dean, Students, faculty and third-year students, chooses those applicants whom it judges are likely to complete the program with the greatest intellectual return. The Faculty believes that the qualities of mind and personality necessary to satisfy its requirements are:
- high intelligence,
- sound judgment,
- the capacity and motivation for demanding intellectual effort,
- the capacity and motivation to engage in sophisticated legal reasoning, and
- an understanding of and sensitivity to human interaction.
As evidence of these qualities, the Admissions Committee looks to a number of factors. These include:
- academic achievement;
- Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score;
- nonacademic achievement;
- the response to disadvantage due to adverse personal or socio-economic circumstances or to barriers faced by cultural (including racial or ethnic) or linguistic minorities;
- motivation and involvement in academic and non-academic activities; and
- the impact of temporary or permanent physical disabilities
The Faculty seeks a diverse, stimulating and highly motivated student body. Thus, the Admissions Committee may also give weight to
- work experience,
- graduate study,
- outstanding accomplishment in a non-academic activity, and
- other special circumstances brought to its attention
While the Admissions Committee gives greatest weight to an applicant's cumulative undergraduate academic record and LSAT score, these other factors may, in some cases, play an important role in the admissions decision. For this reason, applicants are strongly encouraged to bring to the attention of the Committee the above mentioned factors in their personal statements. Such factors will only be considered to the extent that they assist the applicant.
Application of Admission Policy
Admission to the Faculty of Law is selective: approximately 2,000 applications are received for 195 first-year places. There are three categories of admission: general, mature and Aboriginal. Within each admissions group, an applicant's file is reviewed in its entirety and in comparison to the other candidates within the group seeking admission.
The Committee does not use a weighting formula, 'cut-offs', or an index rank. Accordingly, it is not possible to predict the probability of admission using numerical indices.
The Admissions Committee considers a host of academic, professional and personal factors in its attempt to evaluate each candidate's demonstrated potential for enriching the Faculty and, thereafter, for contributing meaningfully to the legal community and society at large. However, in view of the very large number of candidates whose applications disclose excellent academic records, very high LSAT scores, and worthy non-academic accomplishments, candidates without these characteristics are unlikely to be competitive for admission.
Because of the large number of applications, no formal interviews or in person meetings are conducted. The Admissions Office staff is available to answer questions in person, by telephone, or in writing. They are extremely knowledgeable about the admissions process and able to assist applicants on all matters regarding their applications.
Assessment of Academic Record
Consideration is given to all the features of the application including, where applicable, the choice of academic institution, academic program, and courses within the program. Competitive applicants come from a diversity of academic institutions (small and large, Canadian and international), as well as academic programs (including all areas of the arts, sciences, business, engineering and other professional programs).
The Faculty does not recommend particular graduate or undergraduate courses for those seeking admission. As noted above, many outstanding law students come to law school from undergraduate disciplines or other experiences seemingly unrelated to the study of law. It is suggested that students treat these experiences as ends in themselves rather than as preparation for law school.
In assessing academic records, the Admissions Committee considers carefully the difficulty and quality of the academic work as well as the grades received in relation to the average course grade. An academic record is reviewed in some detail and applicants are expected to explain any anomalies in their records including false starts, fewer than five full courses over two terms, introductory courses taken in the third or fourth years of a program, and the reasons therefor.
The most competitive applicants are those with a consistent record of academic achievement over three or four years in a challenging undergraduate program, and, if applicable, in graduate work as well. However, in the absence of special circumstances, an inconsistent undergraduate record will normally be less competitive. In borderline cases, a very strong performance in a graduate program may overcome modest weaknesses in an undergraduate record, but will not usually overcome an undergraduate record which is otherwise uncompetitive. An applicant's academic record and LSAT score are considered in tandem. That is, an applicant with a superior academic record may be admitted with a less competitive LSAT score. Similarly, an applicant with a superior LSAT score may be admitted with a less competitive academic record. However, in each case, the threshold is quite high.
In reviewing application files, an admissions GPA is determined from the best three years of full-time undergraduate study. The highest LSAT score is also considered if more than one LSAT score is provided.
More information about how the academic record of currently-registered students is assessed can be found in the Application Procedure section.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT) Score and Academic Achievement
As a point of reference, the first-year class in 2012-2013 comprised of 195 students had a median LSAT score in the 95th percentile and a median cumulative undergraduate academic record (based on their best three full-time undergraduate years) of 86.5%. As with any median statistics, an equal number of these first-year students scored below and above these medians. Thus it is possible for applicants with LSAT scores below the 92nd percentile and cumulative undergraduate academic records below 81% but whose backgrounds, other qualifications, or personal accomplishments would, in the opinion of the Admissions Committee, contribute specially and significantly to the class, to be competitive for admission.
More information about the LSAT can be found in the Application Procedure section.
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There are three categories of admission: Regular, Mature and Aboriginal. Within each admission group, an applicant's file is reviewed in its entirety and in comparison to other applicants based on the admissions policy stated above.
To be considered for admission in 2013-2014, applicants must have successfully completed three years of an approved course leading to a degree at a recognized university (or equivalent), no later than the end of May in the year of entry. However, prospective applicants should be aware that almost all of our students have completed a four-year degree.
Required documents for regular applicants can be found in the Application Procedure section.
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Mature applicants are those who have or will have at least five complete years of non-academic experience by September of the year of entry. The years of non-academic experience need not be consecutive, but must have been undertaken independently of academic work. Such experience may consist of both remunerated work and unpaid labour, including the care and raising of children.
In addition to an applicant's academic record, the Committee will consider an applicant's ability to organize his or her life and work, ability to reason, analyze and engage in intellectual inquiry, and past experience. The Committee may place less emphasis on the applicant's academic record where there has been a significant lapse of time since its completion or where adverse personal or socio-economic circumstances, including linguistic and cultural barriers, have affected its development. For those mature applicants with fewer than two years of undergraduate university study, the Admissions Committee may give greater weight to other evidence of ability to study law successfully, such as experience or success in another field of endeavour. However, in view of the large number of qualified applicants who have at some time demonstrated their academic ability in a university program, those applicants with no university will find it virtually impossible to gain admission. Over the last decade no applicants have been admitted without some university background. There is no target or quota on the number of mature candidates admitted, but there has been a steady increase in both the number and the competitiveness of mature applicants. In recent years, approximately 300 applications have been received annually.
Required documents for mature applicants can be found in the Application Procedure section.
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See the Aboriginal Applicants web page.
See the Half-Time Program web page.
See the Combined Programs web page.
Deferral of Admissions
For the policy on Deferral of Admissions, see Application Procedure.
All applicants who have applied in previous admissions cycles must re-apply for admission through OLSAS. However, those who are re-applying only to the University of Toronto and who have previously applied within the last two admission cycles need not re-submit LSAT score reports, official transcripts or Personal Statements, included in past OLSAS application(s), except to provide up-to-date documents.
Applicant files are kept for two years after the initial application in the event that an applicant should re-apply. After two years, the file of applicants not admitted are shredded.
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Notice concerning Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
The University of Toronto respects your privacy. Personal information that you provide to the University is collected pursuant to section 2(14) of the University of Toronto Act, 1971. It is collected for the purpose of administering admission, registration, academic programs, university-related student activities, activities of student societies, financial assistance and awards, graduation and university advancement, and for the purpose of statistical reporting to government agencies. At all times it will be protected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. If you have questions, please refer to www.utoronto.ca/privacy or contact the University Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Coordinator at 416 946--‐7303, McMurrich Building,room 201, 12 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8.
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