The Black Student Admissions Process (BSAP) was introduced for the Fall 2021 admissions cycle in collaboration with and in response to the UCalgary Chapter of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) Calls to Action released in June 2020. Specifically, in response to one of those Calls to Action calling for admission reform to encourage and increase the number of BIPOC applicants to the law school. UCalgary Law acknowledges the emotional labour the UCalgary Law BLSA has put in to the Calls to Action and is committed to working with our BLSA to address the existence and impact of systemic racism in the law school admission process and our larger society. The BSAP is one of the ways we as a Faculty will act to bring about meaningful change.
The BSAP is an optional opportunity for applicants who self identify as being of Black African descent, or multi-racial students identifying with their Black ancestry that provides space and visibility for Black applicants to speak about their lived experience and the barriers they have overcome. It is intended to address the under representation of Black students within our law school and the larger legal community and lessen the systemic barriers that exist that lead to the under-representation of Black law students and, consequently, Black lawyers.
We are obligated to meet the needs of the legal community which can only be achieved if our student body more closely reflects the diversity of our population and students are able to meet the legal needs of that diverse community. Moreover, we are committed to uphold principles of equity, diversity and inclusion in our admissions and other processes at the law school.
Applying for the BSAP
In the online application, all applicants are asked to indicate if they self-identify as Black. If you answer yes to that question, you are eligible for the BSAP review process. There are no additional supporting documents required to verify your Black identity under the BSAP. After you self identify, you will be invited to complete an optional personal essay of up to 1,000 words. The personal essay will not be given a specific weight but, instead, will be taken into account as part of your overall file review within our comprehensive admissions process. Examples of what you may choose to share in this space include your connection to Black culture (“culture” being understood not to be monolithic but personal to one’s experience, fluid and multi-faceted), and/or the impact of institutional, structural or personal racism on you and/or your family.
The BSAP Review Process
We start by considering your application using our regular competitive criteria. See more about JD admissions. If necessary, we’ll automatically provide you a second consideration if you’ve self-identified as Black in your application. This assessment will be completed by up to two members of the Black Students Admissions Process Sub committee which includes members of the BLSA, Black law faculty and Black members of the wider legal community.*
This second process is intended to ensure that those with a similar lived experience to Black applicants are involved in admission decisions and help applicants feel supported. The same competitive admissions criteria are taken into account in this second assessment. You will receive either an offer, regrets, or waitlist notification based on the highest scores given to your application between the two review processes.
*We currently have eleven members of the Black legal community who sit on this sub-committee as well as Black student and Black faculty representation on our Admissions Committee.
Funding for Black Students
- You are eligible for the Faculty of Law Undergraduate Award of Excellence for BIPOC students.
- You are eligible for all UCalgary Law awards, scholarships and bursaries.
- The Black Business and Professional Association has a national scholarship for students who meet the eligibility requirements.
- The Canadian Association of Black Lawyers has the Lucie and Thornton Blackburn Scholarship for students in their first or second year of study in a Canadian JD program.
Black Student Life
Black Law Students Association
BLSA Canada and its chapters at law schools nationwide are concerned by the challenges faced by the Black community in the legal profession. Promoting increased representation of Black students in law schools and law firms is our primary mission. BLSA Canada is proud to provide professional opportunities and resources for Black students, as well as a forum for formal and informal discussions about many subjects, including legal policy issues, effective career strategies, evolutions in substantive law, and access to justice for marginalized groups.
We have several members of our Student Ambassadors who are Black. If you are interested in talking to one of them about life as a law student and about UCalgary Law, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Black Student Admissions Process (BSAP) was introduced in collaboration with and in response to the UCalgary Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA) Calls to Action released in June 2020. Specifically, in response to the Call to Action on admissions reform to encourage and increase the number of BIPOC applicants. UCalgary Law is committed to working with our BLSA to address the existence and impact of systemic racism in the law school admission process and our larger society. The BSAP is one of the ways we as a faculty will act to bring about meaningful change.
The BSAP is meant to provide space for Black applicants to speak about their lived experience and the barriers they have overcome. It is intended to address the under-representation of Black students within our law school and the larger legal community, and to lessen the systemic barriers that lead to the under-representation of Black law students and, consequently, Black lawyers. If they are not admitted under the ordinary admissions process, students who self identify as Black will have their application automatically reviewed by up to two members of the Black Student Admission Process Sub-Committee which will be comprised of Black law students, Black faculty members and Black members of the wider legal community.
No. The criteria for admission under the BSAP will be exactly the same as for the ordinary admission process. The BSAP is not more or less competitive than the ordinary admissions process, and applicants will be assessed on the same admission criteria.
No, there are no quotas for students who participate in the BSAP although it is our goal to encourage and increase the number of BIPOC applicants we receive through establishing the BSAP.
No, the BSAP does not disadvantage applicants who apply through the ordinary application process. Black applicants are assessed on the same criteria as applicants who apply under the ordinary application process. All admissions decisions will be merit-based, taking into account all criteria that forms part of our assessment. It will not be harder or easier to be admitted through either process. For applicants who do not identify as Black or Indigenous (the two distinct admission streams we have, other than our ordinary admission process), but wish to share information related to equity, diversity, lived experience or life achievements, they may do so through the newly expanded Special Facts section to allow for any applicant to share personal information they consider important for the Admissions Committee to know in considering their application. This section is optional and open to all applicants.
No. The decision to self identify as a Black applicant and to use the space provided for a personal essay in the expanded Special Facts section is entirely optional.
No. Our intention is not to impose additional requirements or expectations on applicants under the BSAP. Our intention is to make space for Black applicants, recognizing they are an underrepresented within our law school and the larger legal community. Black applicants are invited to share their unique interests and experiences, whatever those might be, just like any other applicant.
No, there is no other criteria that must be satisfied other than self-identification. The personal essay is optional. All applicants must acknowledge that the information provided in their application is truthful, complete and correct and that submitting information that is determined to be false, misleading or written by someone else may result in revocation of an offer prior to submitting their application.