Alumni and current students take part in the Faculty of Law's annual outreach program that draws students from across the greater Toronto area (all photos by Taha Muharuma)
The Faculty of Law's annual See Yourself Here (SYH) open house had its largest turnout ever, with more than 170 attendees.
Students from high schools across the GTA, including the Peel and Durham school boards, in addition to undergraduate and mature students, filled the information and panel sessions on how to navigate the law school admission process, course offerings, financial aid options, experiential learning opportunities and the various legal careers available after graduation.
"I decided to come here [at SYH] to see what I might be doing in the future," said Alexander Clarke, a high school student from Scarlett Heights Entrepreneurial Academy in Etobicoke. "I really loved it. I got a lot of insight, learned about different pathways and got some experience in the mock trial which was really fun."
Clarke said he was unaware of the combined JD/MBA program, and "I'm kind of looking forward to studying that for my future."
The open house has grown over the last seven years to encourage high school, university and mature students from diverse economic and multicultural backgrounds -- many who are first generation Canadian or the first to attend university in their family -- to apply to law school.
Faculty, current students and alumni volunteered their time to participate in motivating speaker sessions, educational workshops and a networking reception with attendees. Many attendees said the mock trial (pictured at right) was one of their favorite sessions.
Rosalie Minassian, an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto Scarborough said she was always interested in law, but wanted to hear first-hand from current students about law school life and the admission process.
"I was already excited before I came here, but hearing their experiences has been very inspirational for me," said Minassian, who is studying political science and city studies. "To hear that some alumni came from different university backgrounds and from low income families has inspired me even more."
That's exactly why second-year law student, Ash-Leigh Lewandowski, volunteered for See Yourself Here. "It's a good opportunity to talk about the law school to prospective students, and give them insight to how diverse the trajectory to get here really is. It's good for them to know that law school can be an option for them."
See Yourself Here had special meaning to Cindy Yi because she attended the event as an undergraduate. She remembered all the questions she had about applying to law school yet didn't know whom to ask.
"I remember it all crystallized for me when I came to U of T law school and talked to law students. It became a dream for me to attend the Faculty of Law."
For Nadia Zaman, the significance of diversity in the law school extends beyond these campus walls.
"Diversity is very important as well in the legal profession, and I think it starts right here....To have people available to talk to and get a feel of what law school might be like, and receive encouragement to apply is very important."
Yi agreed. "It makes a big difference to see a person right where you want to be."
As for UTSC student Minassian, she's more than ready to start the application process. "110 percent!"
Lucianna Ciccocioppo is a writer with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto.