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Questions for uAlberta Law students


lolotrix

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lolotrix
  • Applicant

Hi everyone, I’m an incoming 1L at uAlberta this year and I had a few questions for anyone at the law school right now. Any and all answers/additional tips are appreciated!

1) How’s the student life at the faculty? Is it friendly/competitive, are people living close to campus or is it a commuter school? 

2)What’s your biggest tip for 1L? From what I understand from other online forums, being able to practice previous exam q’s is one part of being able to do well. At uAlberta, do you get access to previous exams from professors to practice? 

3)How many students work part time in 1L would you say? I don’t plan on working for 1L but I was thinking maybe 2L or 3L — don’t want to rack up too much debt 

Also I’m going to speak to someone at the school about this but I would love to get another student perspective: 

4)What bank do you recommend for getting a LOC? How much should I expect for uAlberta?

5) I’m coming from out of province, so if you have any experience with this, I would love to know how you applied for provincial loans! 

Thank you again!

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lolotrix
  • Applicant

Also one last question because I'm a little confused about these metrics. I see that for some uni's like Windsor, they release class ranks? (I might have misunderstood haha). Or sometimes students will discuss being in the top 10% of their class, etc -- does uAlberta release rankings with your transcript/how does this work at uAlberta? Do these rankings hold any weight during oci's/during job hunting etc? 

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Whist
  • Law Student

1. It's friendly for the most part. Because law school generally can be cliquey, there might be gossip, but nothing that affected my time there. Some people commute further but enough people live close to campus so they can walk/take a short bus ride. Downtown/Oliver, Strathcona, Garneau are all popular student areas. Other areas along the LRT are also suitable but ideally avoid choosing to live near certain sketchy stations. 

2. My top tip is don't get swept up in the neuroticism about your grades. Yes, they're important for certain things, and address struggles you have with course content if they arise, but you will statistically be an average student and that's okay. I also agree that you should look at practice exams. You usually do get exams from previous profs, but on occasion you won't because the prof might be new. I assume the 1L profs this year are the same roster as always though.

3. Probably less than half the class, but not an insignificant amount. I think the general wisdom is save working part-time for 2L and 3L when you have a better idea of what you're doing. 

4. Scotiabank is a popular choice. Most/all of the big banks have the same deal with a $135k LOC at prime + 0% though. UAlberta of course has a bursary/scholarship program too. I can't tell you how much to expect from that without knowing your circumstances. 

5. You apply for student loans from your home province (assuming government loans), provided you meet the residency requirements there. Check the eligibility page for your provincial student loan organization.

6. There are no class ranks. Unless you make the Dean's list which sometimes gets circulated, or graduate a medalist, nobody will know what your grades are unless you show them. On your transcript, you will see the curve for that particular course and your own grade, but in my experience I haven't had anyone pay attention to anything other than the grade I individually got. Just as a heads up, the curve is lower in 1L than it is for upper years. 

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lolotrix
  • Applicant
Posted (edited)

@Whist thank you for your reply! helped ease the 0L anxiety i'm having haha

Edited by lolotrix
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  • 3 weeks later...
Ribbons
  • Law Student

So just flagging sole of @Whist’s information is a bit outdated/wrong. I am on my phone right now but I will provide a detailed response when I get home!

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Whist
  • Law Student

I assume (part of) my outdated info was the LOC. I just checked and it looks like they're more than $135k now (some say $150k, Scotia says up to $400k but I'm not sure if that's for a JD specifically). I hope prime + 0% is still the going deal with the increased borrowing amounts.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Ribbons
  • Law Student
On 4/11/2024 at 2:07 PM, Ribbons said:

So just flagging sole of @Whist’s information is a bit outdated/wrong. I am on my phone right now but I will provide a detailed response when I get home!

I am so sorry about the delay on this; life got insane the afternoon that I posted this, and I am finally getting back on track. 

1. I agree with Whist on this one. UofA is generally considered to be more friendly than other law schools, but 1L is generally rough. I wish this weren't the case, and I would love for the culture to change, but I find it can be gossipy, and overall mental health goes downhill in 1L, but then things get way better for collegiality in upper years. Things seem to be a bit better this year than in previous years but it's still not amazing. 

2. I also agree with Whist on this one. You should dissociate from your grades as much as possible. Everyone goes through a humbling period in 1L of realizing they are not the shit. I had like a 3.1 in 1L but went up to a 3.6 in 2L and I am on track for a 3.8 for my last year. So, all this to say, 1L is not the best indicator of who you are and what you are capable of. I went on to get a very competitive articling position and summer jobs so my 1L grades being perfectly average was absolutely all I needed. 

3. That is hard to know. I would say less than half of students work, and most work at most part-time. I did not work until second semester of 3L and instead focused on volunteer efforts and aimed for scholarship. I got over 30K in scholarship during law school so this paid basically as much as working part time. I think either approach is valid but working is definitely a more certain source of income. I would strongly suggest not working in 1L or, at the most, working in first semester and quitting for the winter as your course load goes up by 1.5 in winter. 

4-5 I don't have good answers to. 

6. So, this is where Whists' info was a little bit outdated! There is sort of a class ranking. The top 10% of students each year get on the Dean's List, and that list is publicly posted to the UofA Law webpage (I assume, in part, to allow firms and such to confirm a student didn't photoshop or fake their grades or something like that). So, basically, you know who is top 10% each year, but nothing more than that. If you're GPA is of a certain amount (because of the curve in law school, I think around the top 15-20% of folks would get this), you also get a designation on your transcript, but this list is not publicized. The top 3 students (based on cumulative GPA across all three years) get medals and a small scholarship. There are also some graduating scholarships for substantial community contributions.

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lolotrix
  • Applicant

@Ribbons wow, thank you for the detailed response, I really appreciate it! I'll definitely keep in mind the things I've been hearing about working in 1L as that's kind of my biggest worry at the moment. Based off of what I've heard it seems like holding off on part-time work until 2L seems like a better idea. 

Thank you again to you and everyone else for all your responses!

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Ribbons
  • Law Student
54 minutes ago, lolotrix said:

@Ribbons wow, thank you for the detailed response, I really appreciate it! I'll definitely keep in mind the things I've been hearing about working in 1L as that's kind of my biggest worry at the moment. Based off of what I've heard it seems like holding off on part-time work until 2L seems like a better idea. 

Thank you again to you and everyone else for all your responses!

I honestly think 2L is academically the hardest for most folks (as many people front load their upper year required courses in 2L). So, working in the summers and working in 3L is very doable, but working in the second semester of 1L and during 2L would be much more challenging. It all really depends on how you build you schedule and do your courses tho!

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Whist
  • Law Student
6 hours ago, Ribbons said:

I also agree with Whist on this one. You should dissociate from your grades as much as possible. Everyone goes through a humbling period in 1L of realizing they are not the shit. I had like a 3.1 in 1L but went up to a 3.6 in 2L and I am on track for a 3.8 for my last year. So, all this to say, 1L is not the best indicator of who you are and what you are capable of. I went on to get a very competitive articling position and summer jobs so my 1L grades being perfectly average was absolutely all I needed. 

I just want to add onto this. I finished 1L with a whopping 2.4 GPA. I worked harder after that and ended 2L with a 3.0 and will finish 3L somewhere between 3.2-3.5. I didn't magically become biglaw/hyper-competitive material, but I did get legal jobs every summer, some competitive clinics, and have articles lined up in my city of choice. While you should obviously try to avoid a repeat of my 1L year, as it did close certain doors for me, don't count yourself out of opportunities or give up because of setbacks. For any incoming 1Ls, you'll probably struggle less than I did at the beginning, but even if you do, you're not doomed.

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  • 2 weeks later...
wine for lunch
  • Law Student
On 3/19/2024 at 7:39 PM, lolotrix said:

1) How’s the student life at the faculty? Is it friendly/competitive, are people living close to campus or is it a commuter school? 

Very cliquey. Distinct groups crystallize as early as a few weeks in. I know it's a common complaint across all law schools but it's still true here even though people drum up the collegiality. 

 

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