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 a 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 including the Assistant Dean, Students, several other faculty members and a number of third-year students, chooses those applicants 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;
- The standard Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score (or scores);
- non-academic 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 also gives weight to work experience, graduate study, outstanding accomplishment in a non-academic activity, and other special circumstances brought to its attention.
Application of Admission Policy
Admission to the Faculty of Law is selective. In each cycle, generally 2,000 applications are received for about 200 first-year places in the JD program, with fewer than 300 offers of admission. There are three categories of admission: general, mature and Aboriginal. Within each admissions group, an applicant's file is reviewed carefully in its entirety. The Committee reviews applications taking into account a wide array of considerations. Accordingly, it is not possible to predict the probability of admission using numerical indices.
The Admissions Committee's approach means that it gives a full reading to the materials submitted, and considers many 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. However, in view of the large number of candidates whose applications disclose excellent academic records, strong LSAT scores and worthy non-academic accomplishments, candidates without these characteristics are less 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
Our review of an applicant's undergraduate record is based on the principle that undergraduate records should be compared as fairly as possible across applicants. For this reason, we examine the pattern of the intensity of the course work taken across an applicant's undergraduate career (light versus heavy, full-time versus part-time, co-op versus regular, introductory versus upper-year courses, courses on exchange, courses during the summer term). We also examine the patterns of results the applicant achieved in that coursework (increasing trends, sustained periods of strong performance, short-term deviations, cumulative results, etc). Moreover, we take into account the nature of the program and the undergraduate institution (or institutions) at which an applicant has studied. Specifically, programs and institutions have varying grading practices, which we take into account in our assessment. In general, the Admissions Committee examines each applicant's academic record with a view to meaningful and fair comparisons of undergraduate performance.
The Faculty does not recommend particular graduate or undergraduate courses for those seeking admission. 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.
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. 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 (or scores) are considered together and in context. That is, an applicant with a superior academic record may be admitted with competitive LSAT results. Similarly, an applicant with superior LSAT results may be admitted with a less competitive academic record.
More information about how the academic record of currently-registered students is assessed can be found in the Application Procedure section.
Standards for Admission 2015-2016
The admissions assessment is based two-thirds on the academic record and LSAT, and one-third on personal information.
Performance of 2015-2016 incoming first-year JD class of 210 students
- Median (50th percentile) score of incoming class: 166 (93rd percentile of test takers)
- 25th percentile score of incoming class: 164 (90th percentile of test takers)
- 75th percentile score of incoming class: 169 (97th percentile of test takers)
- GPA - cumulative undergraduate academic average based on students' best three full-time undergraduate years
- Median (50th percentile) GPA of incoming class: 86.1%
- 25th percentile GPA of incoming class: 84.1%
- 75th percentile GPA of incoming class: 88.7%
For 2015-2016 admission, the algorithm that assigns the two-thirds weighting to the Academic Record and LSAT was adjusted in a way that grants more weight to the GPA, since new data reveals that the GPA merits relatively more weight in predicting performance in first year than other factors.
We encourage students with apparently less competitive LSAT scores and undergraduate records to apply, since every year we admit a significant number of students whose files when considered in proper context merit offers of admission.
More information about applying can be found in the Application Procedure section.
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To be considered for admission in 2016-2017, 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. As a result the Mature category has been virtually as competitive as the General category.
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 admissions, registration, academic programs, university-related student activities, activities of student societies, safety, financial assistance and awards, graduation and university advancement, and reporting to government.
In addition, the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities has asked that we notify you of the following: The University of Toronto is required to disclose personal information such as Ontario Education Numbers, student characteristics and educational outcomes to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities under s. 15 of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter M.19, as amended. The ministry collects this data for purposes such as planning, allocating and administering public funding to colleges, universities and other post-secondary educational and training institutions and to conduct research and analysis, including longitudinal studies, and statistical activities conducted by or on behalf of the ministry for purposes that relate to post-secondary education and training. Further information on how the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities uses this personal information is available on the ministry’s website.
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 McMurrich Building, room 104, 12 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8.
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