Fewer than 8 percent of applicants were accepted at the University of Ottawa law school in 2009, so if you want to get in, you need to adhere closely to the requirements. If you fill out the forms on time and effectively tout your strengths, you have a shot at studying law at this school in Canada’s capital city.
Applicants must fill out an online application by Nov. 1. Applicants must be at least in their third year of undergraduate study, although the university recommends they complete the full undergraduate program prior to starting law school. Applicants come from a variety of undergraduate majors, and no degree or undergraduate courses are required prerequisites. Students must take the Law School Admissions Test. There is no minimum LSAT score required for admission, but the university recommends you take the test by at least December of the year before you wish to enroll.
All About You
Applicants must provide a personal statement. In the statement, admissions evaluators will judge the applicant’s capacity for critical thinking, ability to communicate, commitment to ethics and evidence of ability to handle the workload of law school. The statement should touch on activities outside of school, employment experience, success in tackling challenges -- anything that demonstrates the candidate’s leadership and ability if selected. The personal statement is also an opportunity for applicants to explain how aspects of their upbringing or culture, financial hardships or disabilities have factored into their decisions to study law.
Bring in Your Boosters
The university requires two reference letters. At least one should come from a teacher, adviser or academic source, and the university recommends both come from such a source. Don’t ask for just a character reference. The letter should come from someone who knows how well you performed at your undergraduate university and how you can contribute to the law school. Older applicants who have been out of school for some time need to find a reference who can speak to the same qualities.
There is no minimum GPA required to apply, although admission is competitive. The school receives about 3,600 to 4,000 applications a year, about 700 more than any other Canadian law school. In 2009, according to the most recent data available, the average student accepted to the university had an 83 percent grade point average, which translates to about a B- in the United States. In addition to grades, the university considers achievements in clubs and community involvement when selecting enrollees.
You're Accepted, Now What?
Students can be accepted into the three-year English or French programs or the one-year national program. The curriculum for the English and French degrees is the same, except students in the French program must study 75 percent of their upper-level classes in French. Students take small-group courses in legal writing, research, computer skills and conflict resolution in the first year. Students can select courses to fit their area of concentration for the final two years, but must take Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law II. They must submit a major paper suitable for publication in a legal journal in order to graduate.
- University of Ottawa: Common Law Section, Prospective Students, How to Apply
- University of Ottawa: Common Law Section, Prospective Students, Admissions Criteria
- University of Ottawa: Common Law Section, Prospective Students, Writing the LSAT
- University of Ottawa: Common Law Section, Prospective Students, Writing Your Personal Statement
- University of Ottawa: Common Law Section, Prospective Students, Obtaining Letters of Reference
- University of Ottawa: Common Law Section, Programs, JD
Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.