Information for High School Students
Facts about Admission to Law School
Why study law?
Legal studies will:
- develop your critical perspective and analytical thinking
- sharpen your logical reasoning,
- enhance your ability to communicate persuasively
- improve your problem-solving skills,
- prepare you for a wide variety of careers: e.g. lawyer practising in a large or small law firm with a general or specialized practice; lawyer in a government legal department (municipal, provincial or federal); in-house legal counsel to a corporation; a legal advisor to a non-governmental international organization or to a public interest or charitable organization.
For more information, see our Career Development webpage.
What post-secondary education do i need to apply?
Queen’s Law offers the Juris Doctor (JD) degree program, the educational credential needed to practise law in all common-law jurisdictions in Canada and around the world. Queen’s JD graduates are eligible to register for American bar examinations in the states of New York and Massachusetts. The JD is pursued after completion of an undergraduate university degree, preferably a four-year degree.
By the time of admission, 68% of law students have completed a four-year honours undergraduate degree, about 18% have completed a three year general degree and 14% have completed a graduate degree.
Are there pre-law subjects that are best to take before law school?
Law students are not required to complete particular subjects in order to be eligible to apply to law school. This is different from applications for professional degrees in education, medicine or applied science, for which there are subject pre-requisites.
In the 2015 admission cycle, the pre-law academic disciplines studied by the first-year class prior to admission to Queen’s Law were:
- 54% of the class had earned a degree in the Social Sciences, such as Political Science and Economics, Sociology, Criminology, Psychology, or Interdisciplinary Programs, such as International Development Studies, Media and Communication Studies.
- 19% of the class had earned a degree in the Humanities, such as History, Philosophy, Classics, English Language and Literature, Fine Art and Art History, Modern Languages, Music or Religious Studies.
- 16% of the class had earned a degree in Commerce or Business Administration.
- 11% of the class had earned a degree in the pure Sciences, such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Life Sciences/Health Studies, or applied sciences such as Engineering or Computing Science.
How do I apply to law school?
In Ontario, an application can be made online to all the Ontario law schools through the Ontario Law Schools Application Service (OLSAS). In other provinces, apply online directly to the university.
Applications will require you to submit the following:
- Personal contact information, citizenship or visa status
- Official transcript from each university attended, including on exchange or study abroad
- Personal statement describing your interest in studying law
- Confidential academic and non-academic letters of reference
- Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score(s) (an aptitude test for law)
- Summary of employment history and extracurricular activities, with names of individuals who can verify your participation
- Your personal statement is a short essay which articulates your goals, experiences and reasons for applying to law school. This statement should be well-organized, demonstrate familiarity with what the study of law entails and the particular programs of interest at the law schools to which you are applying. Express insight about how your academic history and experiences have prepared you for the study of law. Obviously, the personal statement should be well-written, with flawless grammar and spelling.
- A maximum of three confidential reference letters may be submitted. Academic letters of reference should be from professors who can comment on your critical thinking, analytical reasoning, written and oral communication skills. Ensure that your referees have enough information about you to be able to write an ¬effective and positive recommendation.
- The LSAT test should be written before your application is submitted to OLSAS. It is possible to write the LSAT after applying in November, but you will not know how competitive your initial score is at the time of application. The LSAT test provides a standard measure of your reading comprehension, logical and ¬analytical reasoning skills. See lsac.org
Aim to excel
Your application should show the Admissions Committee that you have a strong aptitude for legal studies, that you have demonstrated your ability to succeed ¬academically and that you have good potential to succeed in the study of law.
Lawyers often assume leadership roles in their community, despite very busy working lives. Successful applicants demonstrate the ability to achieve academic excellence while managing other activities such as part-time employment, volunteer work, student government, sports, debating and other extra-curricular interests. Commit to excellence in these activities over the long term and let experience help you to progress to leadership positions. Mentors in these activities can provide a non-academic letter of reference and must be named in your application to verify the achievements in the activities listed in your application.
Plan ahead for financing
Law school tuition has been increasing and fees vary considerably between law schools. To obtain financial advice about funding your legal education, please see the Queen’s Student Awards website.
See the current information about tuition and the costs of attending Queen’s Law.