Assessment of Applications

Admissions to the JD program are highly competitive. Interviews are not held for the program, admissions are based only on submitted materials. Deferrals are rarely available, generally only considered extraordinary circumstances. 

Average GPA of 3.67

in the first year class

LSAT Scores in the 86th percentile

at an average of 163

Average applicant age of 25 years old

Range of early 20s to mid 50s


Complete Applications

Your application will not be assessed until all of your supporting documents have been received. It is your responsibility to ensure your application is complete, which you can check in your Student Centre.

A form of rolling admissions is used, which means that some decisions are sent out before all the files have been read. Applications will start to be assessed after December 1 as they become complete. This is one reason to have your application submitted and supporting documents in as early as possible.

Due to the nature of the assessment process, there is no typical timeframe in which you will receive a decision after your application becomes complete. You may receive a decision very quickly, or you might receive a decision later in the admission cycle.

All applicants will receive an email with either an offer, regrets, or waitlist notification no later than the end of June. Most applications become complete between January and March.

If you are a current student when you apply, you must wait until January before sending the unofficial transcript for your current school. Sending it earlier may result in a delay in assessment, since we cannot assess an application with an incomplete transcript.

Assessment Process

Your application will be grouped with other applications that have similar statistical profiles for assessment. See below for more information about the LSAT and GPA.

The process for reviewing your application depends on your statistical profile. Your application will be reviewed either once or twice by members of the Admissions Committee, or by staff in the Student Services office. You will receive either an offer, regrets, or waitlist notification based on the score given to your application as a result of those review processes.

In any given year, the Admissions Committee may impose a minimum requirement for LSAT scores or GPA in order for applications to be considered further.

Admission Factors

When we assess your application, we will be looking for evidence that you are likely ready to succeed academically in law school and positively contribute to your community. To do this, we use a very comprehensive assessment process.

All aspects of the application will be taken into consideration, and there is no specific weighting assigned to any of the factors. Your work experience, extra-curricular activities, and community involvement are considered very important.

UCalgary Law encourages applications from persons who have been in the work force after university, or who have come to university after their work experience.

While a strength in one area of the application may help overcome a relative weakness in another, you should be realistic about your chances and be familiar with the average statistics from previous admission cycles, as seen below.

Applicant Responsibilities

Members of the Admissions Committee rely on the information provided in your application and all supporting documentation to assess the merits of your application. Each applicant is responsible for ensuring that the information they provide is truthful, complete and correct.

Withholding material information that could reasonably be expected to be relevant to the deliberations of the Admissions Committee or submitting information that is determined to be false, misleading or written by someone else may result in revocation of an offer of admission or registration from the law school.

The Law Society of Alberta requires a Student-at-Law (a person who has already completed law school and has applied to be a student-at-law with the Society) to be of good character and reputation and to provide a police/check criminal record check upon applying to be a Student-at-Law. Students are encouraged to speak with Angela Gallo Dewar, Assistant Dean, Student Services with any questions or concerns regarding these requirements at the time they are admitted to the law school.

Test Scores and Grades

LSAT

If you have written the LSAT more than once, we will use your highest score to group your file statistically; however, all of your scores from the past 5 years, your average score, and the number of times you have written the LSAT will be taken into account when reviewing your application.

We highly recommend that you prepare for the LSAT in advance and write the LSAT as few times as possible.

GPA

Your GPA will be based on the last 20 half-courses of your undergraduate studies, up to December 31 of the year you submit your application. When assessing your application, the Admissions Committee will also take into account your entire academic performance, in both undergraduate and graduate programs.

With the exception of undergraduate work completed in the US, GPAs will not be calculated for international bachelor’s degrees; grades will instead be viewed solely on your transcript.

The Student Services office will not fulfill requests to calculate and/or confirm your GPA.

NOTE: In response to the wide-spread variation in grading policy at academic institutions in response to COVID-19 in the Winter 2020 semester, we will discount any Credit/No Credit or grades of D+ or under in the GPA calculation based on an applicant’s last 20 half courses. This means the GPA calculation may be based on between 15 and 20 half courses depending on the individual applicant’s Winter 2020 transcript.

This change is intended to be as fair as possible to students who did receive grades to be able to use them towards their GPA calculation and those students who did not receive grades either by choice or institutional policy.


JD Admission Statistics

A five year comparison of admission statistics from the past five years.

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Number of applications received 1184 1050 1058 1186 1603
Enrolment 130 129 128 135 133
Average age 25 25 25 26 25
Average undergraduate GPA (4 point scale) 3.66 3.66 3.63 3.66 3.67
Average LSAT score 161 161 161 161 163
Average LSAT percentile 82 82 81 82 85
Percentage of female Students 41% 53% 49% 49% 60%
Percentage of non-binary students - - - 1% 1%
Percentage of students from out of province 29% 29% 31% 30% 34%
Provinces and territories represented 8 7 6 7 8
Percentage of students without a degree 2% 0% 2% 2% 2%
Percentage of students with a bachelor's degree 98% 100% 98% 98% 98%
Percentage of students with a masters/PhD 9% 9% 12% 11% 8%
Tuition and general fees per year (approx.) $13,600 $13,600 $13,700 $14,600 $15,400
Cost of books per year (approx.) $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000

 


Self-Assessment of Unsuccessful Applications

The Admissions Office is unable to provide individual feedback for candidates who received regrets. This year we received more than 1,600 applications for 130 seats in the first-year class. This represents a 35% increase in applications from last year. Unfortunately, many strong applicants received regrets. We have provided some common reasons below to provide insight into possible factors regarding why you did not receive an offer of admission, as well as provide guidance to improving your application should you choose to re-apply.

The average GPA for this intake cycle was 3.66 on the 4.0 scale.

  • Was your GPA significantly below this average? If so, you may wish to consider taking additional undergraduate courses to boost your GPA should you wish to reapply.
  • Does your GPA demonstrate a positive academic trajectory (i.e., it has improved year over year)? If not, did you provide any insight in your application as to why?
  • Are there any unexplained gaps or patterns of poor performance in your academic record that you failed to explain in the Special Facts section of the application?

The average LSAT score for this intake cycle was approximately the 86th percentile, or 163.

  • Was your LSAT score significantly below this average? If so, you may want to rewrite the LSAT for a better score prior to reapplying.
  • Did you write the LSAT multiple times? If so, did you provide some insight into why that was necessary?
  • Did your LSAT score go down? If so, did you provide some insight in your application as to why?
  • Some free LSAT resources to consider if you plan to rewrite the LSAT for a better score:

https://www.khanacademy.org/prep/lsat

https://www.lsac.org/sites/default/files/media/2020-2021-lsac-canadian-fee-waiver-instructionsapplication_accessible.pdf

UCalgary Law provides a free LSAT Prep Program every spring/summer for low income applicants. The applications will open mid-February for spring of 2022.

Did you include work experience in your application?

If no, or you have less than 2 years of work experience, this may have been a factor.

If yes, did you emphasize in your application how your work experience is relevant to your application? Examples include, but are not limited to, lengthy career, relevant experience, strong work ethic, and working while in school to support yourself and others, leadership opportunities, growth opportunities.

Please note we are not looking for a specific kind of work experience, but we are looking for how that work experience has prepared you for law school, contributed to your interest in law school, or the unique contributions your work experience might make to the legal community.

Did you include any community involvement or extra curricular activities in your application?

If no, did you explain any extenuating circumstances in the Special Facts section, i.e., need to work while in school, significant family obligations, economic or other barriers to participation, illness, etc.

If yes, please know that we are not looking for specific experience or involvement in particular activities, including law related activities. We are looking to see what your interests and involvement in your community are outside of academics, and how those personal interests and experiences have prepared you for, and contributed to, your interest in law school, and the unique contributions you might make to the legal community.

This section allows all applicants to provide additional information about themselves that provides context and perspective to their application with respect to diversity, equity and lived experience. It is a difficult thing to provide any general feedback on the contents of this section as it is a highly individual part of the application.  

If you chose to use this optional section, did you use it appropriately for providing context and perspective regarding the contents of your application, or did you treat it as additional space to use as an extension of your Statement of Interest?  

  • Did you answer all three questions posed?
  • Was the Statement of Interest well-written?
  • Were there typos or grammatical errors?
  • Did you explain why you were interested in attending UCalgary Law specifically or was your Statement generic enough that it could have been provided to multiple institutions?  

Given the high number of applications received this year and the fact that we assess applicants on a rolling basis (when a file becomes complete) you may have missed out on an offer by writing the last available LSAT in January, or failing to providing your LSAT writing sample or transcripts on a timely basis. If any of these supplemental materials were left until the deadline, it may have been a factor in our ability to extend an offer.

We hope the above checklist is helpful to you. It is not intended to be exhaustive and it cannot take into account individual strengths and weaknesses that are noted in an application during assessment. It is intended to cover some of the common reasons why an application may have been denied.