I started as a student at UTM a long time ago (in 2009 to be exact). I was on suspension a couple of times (2012 and 2014). I was going through a rough time in my life psychologically (mainly because of family and friend deaths that affected me emotionally) when I was younger and was also a somewhat lazy and unmotivated student that skipped a lot of classes. Originally I was in the sciences (Bio and Chem) and I didn’t like these subjects which is why I think it never really took off for me when I started at university. I battled through a lot of depression and worked for some time when I was suspended.
In 2017 I returned to UTM after my suspension and completed a Philosophy Specialist degree in two years (4 regular semesters and 2 summer semesters). I finished in August and am going to graduate in November. When I returned to school in 2017 I already had 6.5 credits completed (mostly low marks, but a couple of good ones) with some 4 credits failed.
From September 2017 to the end of August 2019 I completed 13.5 credits. All my philosophy courses were taken in that period (so none of my crappy grades from the past are in philosophy). Overall my GPA in these 13.5 credits was fairly high. Most of my marks were A’s (6.5 credits) with a couple of A+ (1.5 credits). 4 credits were A-‘s, and in 1.5 credits I got a B. I could have probably received even higher grades if my course load wasn’t always so high. In one of the semesters I took 5 philosophy courses and received a 4.0 in that semester with one A+. I also received an award from the philosophy department for outstanding performance in a 3rd year course. In general most of my courses in that period were 3rd year courses. I also did an independent research project with an excellent grade. I did take a lot of summer courses though, because I wanted to finish my degree as quickly as possible. I’m not young anymore so time for me was very crucial.
My question is basically two part.
1. I was wondering if in my case I can have any hope of pursuing a Master’s degree in philosophy. I have been looking at graduate programs for philosophy and most of them look at only your last two years (or I guess the last half of your credits which in U of T’s case is 10 credits). Will my academic history affect my chance of getting in to a Master’s Program at any Ontario University? Should I maybe include an explanatory letter about my past bad academic history or will they not even care about it? I am pretty certain that I would be able to secure really good recommendation letters and my writing samples should be pretty damn good considering that I have a numerous amount of papers that were A or A+ to choose from and improve on.
2. I was hoping to maybe go to Law School in the future, but I just don’t have the courage to apply with my academic history even if I do well on my LSAT. Would doing a Master’s in Philosophy help me in that respect, by prolonging a good track record of academic history (assuming I do well in grad school and focus on philosophy of law)? Should I just try to apply straight to law school if I get good LSAT scores?
Sorry for the long email, but if you can give any advice on this or perhaps know someone else who can advise let me know.
long email indeed but it’s aight, still highkey preferable to the large stack of readings i gotta power through this week.
the best advice i can give you, really, is to connect with the specific grad school/law school programs you’re interested in, and find out what their policies are. it’s really hard to make blanket statements about what all masters of philosophy or law admissions offices will consider, given that different institutions will place varying weight on different parts of an application, or have varying requirements. even knowing your whole academic history (lol) and being sympathetic to your circumstances, i don’t know that i’d be able to accurately gauge your chances, and am by no means an authority on grad school admissions.
when you apply, you can certainly include a letter explaining your circumstances– i doubt it would detract from your application, but can’t guarantee they’ll take it into consideration. again, that might be a good thing to ask admission offices.
if you’re available and interested, i can point you in the direction of fall campus day, which is happening this saturday, october 26, on campus. there should be info tables set up in the Fall Campus Day Tent to answer potential grad school applicants’ questions, and i believe they’re running sessions on “Myths & Realities” of law school admissions at Bahen 1130, at 11 and 2 pm,
you can also consider visiting your registrar, and have them talk you through your options in person.
best of luck!