The Personal Statement provides an opportunity to highlight any information that you feel the Admissions Committee requires to make an informed and thoughtful decision about your application. It will be considered together with the rest of your application documents.
The Personal Statement consists of a mandatory Part A and an optional Part B.
Part A (Mandatory) – Two Sections, 2,000 Characters Each
Part A of the Personal Statement asks you to discuss topics such as community leadership and involvement, academic leadership and involvement, advanced academic work and athletic activities. You are also asked to elaborate on your interest in legal education and how you may use your law degree in the future.
Part B (Optional) – 2,500 Characters
Part B of the Personal Statement is optional. It allows you to discuss one or more of the following, if they apply: equity factors, work/life experience, performance considerations and diversity factors.
Equity factors relate to systemic barriers to equal access to educational opportunities. Most often, barriers giving rise to equity concerns will take the form of substantial discrimination on grounds recognized in the Ontario Human Rights Code or Osgoode’s Equality Resolution (race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, political orientation, family status or disability). Economic disadvantage may also create a barrier to equal educational opportunities.
The admissions committee will assess how well you demonstrate that you overcame challenges, such as financial difficulty, illness, family conflict, social or cultural prejudice or language barriers. It is helpful to provide some insight into your character or understanding of your abilities. Examples:
- Growing up in family circumstances not conducive to educational achievement (for e.g. family size, level of parental education, quality of support).
- Growing up in a low-income community or household
- Living with physical, psychological, sensory or learning disabilities
- Working substantial hours in paid employment while a full-time student due to economic circumstances
- Facing discrimination or other barriers to higher education because of recent immigrant status
- Undertaking personal caregiving or other unpaid responsibilities due to family and/or economic circumstances.
For some applicants, work or life experience, rather than academic achievement, is the best indicator of their suitability and capacity for legal education. This would apply to candidates who did not pursue post-secondary education or have been out of an academic environment for years. Such candidates may wish to highlight how their experiences demonstrate they possess the necessary skills to succeed in the JD Program.
The admissions committee will assess how you demonstrate that your non-academic achievements and experience were demanding, important and led to skills or personal development, for example leadership, courage or confidence. Examples:
- Achieving leadership roles at work
- Managing the demands of full-time parenting
- Overcoming personal adversities
- Demonstrated commitment to life-long learning
- Significant contributions to work or community, paid or unpaid.
Circumstances or non-academic commitments that have negatively affected a portion of an applicant’s academic performance will be taken into consideration.
The admissions committee will assess explanations of anomalies in your academic record or LSAT performance. Examples:
- Significant involvement in student government or high-level sports
- Significant health issues
- Lack of accommodation for a disability that impeded LSAT performance
- Illness/death of a close family members
Osgoode aspires to admit an entering class that is enriched by perspectives and experiences that fully reflect the diversity of the Canadian population. Diversity factors may include, and extend beyond, equity factors. Particular attention will be paid to exceptional personal characteristics or experiences that are under-represented in the Osgoode student body, or the legal profession.
We look for explicit connections between your diversity and your intention to contribute meaningfully to Law School and the legal profession. You may note how you are culturally, socially or racially diverse and how these qualities have strengthened you. This is not meant for explaining how you support diversity theoretically.
Examples of diversity may include:
- Place of residence (e.g. where you lived as a child)
- Languages understood and spoken
- Cultural background
- Religious or conscientious beliefs
- Other special skills, talents or experiences that have produced a distinct intellectual perspective.
If you have cited circumstances which impacted your academic performance, or are otherwise relevant to your application, we encourage you, where possible, to provide corroborative documentation. This might include medical documentation, proof of economic circumstances or letters from individuals with knowledge of the cited circumstances. Such information is helpful to the Admissions Committee.
New or additional documentation in support of your application may not be considered if submitted after the application deadline unless it has been requested by the Admissions Committee or the Admissions Office.
Letters of reference must be confidential and submitted directly by the referee to OLSAS. Up to three letters of reference can be submitted to OLSAS.
You must provide the names and contact information of verifiers for the activities listed in your OLSAS application, Autobiographical Sketch.