How to Apply
Your Application Package
You must complete your application for admission to Law School on-line at the OLSAS (Ontario Law School Application Service) website. All documents must be submitted to OLSAS directly.
The following guidelines apply primarily to first-year applicants. If you have previously studied law and wish to attend uOttawa as a Transfer Student, for a Letter of Permission, as a Special Student, or to meet requirements set out by the NCA, you must apply as an Upper-Year Applicant, with the application deadline of May 1st, 2021. Upper-year application requirements may differ from the list below.
The Admissions Committee will only review complete applications. Your application will not be considered complete until OLSAS has received all of the following components:
- Completed on-line application form which includes:
- LSAT Reports (English program only);
- Letters of Reference (two letters are required);
- Official Transcripts for All Post-Secondary Studies.
You must also send an up-to-date resumé or curriculum vitae to OLSAS in addition to your personal statement if you are applying in the Mature or Indigenous category. Persons of indigenous ancestry (First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples) may apply as either general or Indigenous applicants.
All applications for admission are to be completed on-line at the OLSAS (Ontario Law School Application Service) website. Paper application kits may be obtained, for an additional fee, by communicating directly with OLSAS.
Each category has its own admission criteria, and some categories require additional supporting documentation. There are 5 applicant categories from which you may choose.
The personal statement that you must prepare is a critical part of the application, and should be thought of as an interview with the Admissions Committee. In reviewing personal statements, committee members assess you according to the following considerations:
- Capacity for critical, creative and original thinking
- Communication skills, including writing skills in the language of the program
- Evidence of capacity to manage work load and time
- Ability to make a meaningful contribution to the overall law school environment and to the profession and the public it serves as demonstrated by, among other things:
- A record of extracurricular activities and community involvement
- Career experiences and achievements
- Personal success in dealing with challenges
- Diverse social, economic, ethnic, or cultural experiences and perspectives
- Awareness of and interest in specializations and other strengths of the Faculty’s program of legal education
- Specific career aspirations
- Commitment to upholding ethical standards and to treating all university members with respect.
- For programs in French: a French-language academic history and reasons for wanting to study Common Law in French at the University of Ottawa.
The information contained in personal statements will be considered in a manner consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Please do not use the personal statement as a resumé. Instead, use the above evaluation criteria as a guide. The personal statement is similar to an interview: you should strive to explain your strengths, and describe why you are interested in studying law at the University of Ottawa.
Check out our Top 10 Tips for your Best Personal Statement.
Please do not use your personal statement to describe why you are applying in the Special Circumstances or Access categories. Dedicated forms are provided for this purpose in the application.
The maximum length of the personal statement is 8,000 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
The LSAT is required if you are applying to first year of English Common Law, without exception. The LSAT is not a requirement for application to French programs, as the test evaluates a candidate's capacities for logical reasoning and written comprehension in English. The LSAT is also not required for upper-year applicants. For test dates and registration, please visit the Law School Admission Council.
The school does not set a minimum LSAT score requirement, but most successful applicants have a 157 or higher. The weight given to the LSAT will vary according to the other elements in your file. If English is not your first language, the LSAT, while relevant, may carry less weight in the Admission Committee’s evaluation of the application.
When to take the test
We strongly recommend that you write the LSAT by November 2020. Results from an LSAT taken prior to June 2016 are not accepted.
If you have already written the LSAT and intend to write again in January 2021, please note that the Admissions Committee cannot guarantee holding your file until a January score is received.
The March LSAT will not be accepted, as these scores are released in mid-April. Applications that remain incomplete after April 1, 2021, will be cancelled without further notice.
If you decide to write the LSAT on a date other than the one indicated on your application, please amend your OLSAS application as soon as possible.
The LSAT consists of two portions: a Multiple Choice portion (scored) and a LSAT Writing (unscored). Both portions must be completed and processed by the LSAC for your score to be released to OLSAS.
If you are a first-time test taker, you should complete your LSAT Writing as early as possible.
If you are a prior test-taker with scores from June 2017 to November 2021, and will be re-writing the LSAT, you do not need to complete the LSAT Writing (although you may choose to do so).
Applicants must provide at least two letters of reference. At least one of these two reference letters must be from someone who knows you in an educational or academic context from a post-secondary institution (e.g. a professor, a teaching assistant, a research supervisor etc). While one academic reference letter is mandatory, it is preferable if both reference letters are academic. You will have the option to submit a third letter, if you wish to additionally provide a professional reference. Please note that high school teachers, elementary school teachers, and school principals are not considered academic referees.
Think carefully about who to choose for your referees. These individuals should be able to speak to your skills and abilities that pertain to your success as a future law student, such as your ability to write, think critically, conduct research, work in groups, manage your responsibilities, organize your time etc. If the person is someone who has taught you, this person should also indicate your performance relative to the rest of the group. Avoid asking someone who can only provide a character reference, such as a family member or close friend.
A Note for Mature Applicants
Given the time that has elapsed since you were last in school, we understand you might not be able to obtain an academic reference letter. Nonetheless, you should endeavour to find a professional referee who can speak to the skills listed above.
Apart from those in the Mature category, applicants must have completed at least three years of undergraduate studies (the equivalent of 90 credits or 30 half-courses) prior to beginning law school. Students are strongly encouraged to complete their undergraduate program of studies in full prior to beginning law school.
While a diploma from a college is not considered adequate preparation for our JD program, we invite applications from those who have completed an undergraduate degree granted by an accredited college. For a list of acceptable degrees offered by Ontario colleges, please click here.
Undergraduate academic performance is a significant numerical factor in the evaluation process. Most successful applicants have at least an A- or 80% average overall (CGPA). All courses that an applicant has taken at the undergraduate level will go into this calculation. Courses taken at the graduate level will not be included.
Official transcripts are required from each post-secondary institution you have attended. This includes courses taken on exchange, courses taken as a special student, and transfer credits.
If you have attended or are currently enrolled at an Ontario university you must use the appropriate online form in OLSAS.
If you studied outside of Ontario, you must contact the Registrar's Office of the universities where you studied to request that official transcripts be sent directly to OLSAS at the following address, and not to the Faculty of Law.
170 Research Lane
Please note that only official transcripts will be accepted by OLSAS.
Transcripts from outside North America are not converted by OLSAS. Applicants must ensure foreign credentials are the equivalent to a recognized Canadian degree before applying. An evaluation of foreign credentials from the World Education Service is required. This evaluation must be based on a course-by-course assessment and must specify Canadian degree, grade and credit hour equivalency. Universities in the United States are exempt from this requirement.