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UofC vs UofA+money


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  • Law School Admit

I’m interested in working in Calgary, probably going into corporate law. If not in Calgary and if not in corporate law, then somewhere in the southern AB. I also have family reasons to prefer Calgary over Edmonton for the next three years, though Edmonton is a viable option. UofA's offer came with a $12,000 entrance scholarship. UofC won't tell me what I'm getting until a bit later, so there's uncertainty, though I think I have decent chances to get some $$$ from UofC. I'll be funding my JD mostly through loans. I have no AB connection. I think at this point I just want to rationalize accepting UofC’s offer, but I want to hold my horses and see if there are any major issues with picking UofC given my situation. 

So, suppose I don’t get any entrance scholarships from UofC. Given my goals, would going to UofC over UofA make any meaningful differences related to career prospects or the quality of life?  

I should add in case it's relevant, I have also been accepted at UofT and some senior partners at one of the big law firms on Bay St have told me that even that if I want to work in Calgary, I should strongly consider going to UofT because it would give me a meaningful edge. This being said, other lawyers from the Calgary market have suggested that their Bay St colleagues might be reading the Ontario school hierarchy into the Alberta market, and that it's unwarranted, advising me to consider a west coast school instead. Overall, I am not really considering UofT unless there are really significant advantages that I'd gain from attending there, so I'm just confining my choice to UofA and UofC.

Edited by GoatDuck
Correcting info about UofC's entrance scholarship info
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  • Law Student

Do you know if there’s a specific date U of C will let you know if you’ve gotten an entrance scholarship? If so, and it’s before the deadline to accept the U of A offer, then it’s just a matter of waiting to see what U of C throws at you.

If not, and you are still dealing with uncertainty, then it just comes down to whether you think $12,000 is worth the advantages U of C offers over U of A. It’s true U of C does place more grads in the Calgary market than U of A (although this is bound to be at least partly due to self-selection), and being in the city will likely allow you to make more connections within the Calgary legal community and more easily attend interviews for Calgary firms (although given the proliferation of virtual interviews since COVID this is probably a less significant factor now). That said, there are plenty of U of A grads who find jobs in Calgary and I doubt employers would discriminate between a U of A and U of C grad who performed similarly on the basis of the schools they attended.

I guess my ultimate answer to your question would be it might make a difference, but not a significant one. I think it ultimately comes down to whether being in Calgary three years earlier for those family reasons you mentioned, establishing a connection to Calgary and southern Alberta specifically (which might be important given you’re not from Alberta to begin with, but I think merely coming to Alberta for law school at all regardless of the school would show you’re willingness to relocate), and those “soft” factors such as making connections with the Calgary legal community and the students you’ll probably end up working alongside, are worth $12,000 to you.

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