Ultra Vires


The Co-Curricular Application Process Needs Improvement

Selecting co-curricular activities shouldn’t be this difficult

After the September application deadlines for PBSC, DLS, the IHRP and the Asper Centre had passed, October promised to be a less hectic month for 1Ls. However, the co-curricular applications process could have been less stressful to begin with, if all of the public-interest groups consolidated their processes by sending out offers simultaneously.

DLS and PBSC coordinated to send out their respective offers on September 17, while the IHRP and Asper Centre notified students that they were assigned to an IHRP or Asper Centre working group the week prior. Students interested in volunteering with the IHRP or the Asper Centre had to sign up at the information session on September 10. At the information session, students were told that if they were chosen for an IHRP or Asper Centre working group, then they were committed to that group. But, what if one were offered a placement at PBSC or DLS that better aligned with one’s personal goals after being selected for an IHRP/Asper Centre working group and only had time for one co-curricular activity? One would be faced with the dilemma of either reneging on one’s earlier commitment to the IHRP/Asper Centre, or turning down the PBSC/DLS placement that appealed more to one’s personal interests.

The selection process for each public-interest group should be considered in relation to selections made by the other groups, especially since offers for the IHRP, the Asper Centre, and DLS were solely based on lottery systems. Currently, there is limited coordination between the organizations in deciding which students receive offers. While the IHRP and the Asper Centre selected students based on a unified lottery system, the Asper Centre did not coordinate with DLS or PBSC in its selection process. DLS did not coordinate with any of the other public-interest groups in their selection process. The IHRP contacted the other public-interest organizations to try to accommodate students who were interested in volunteering for multiple organizations. 

Students are encouraged to get involved outside of the classroom and they are warned about the dangers of overcommitting. However, the application process for co-curricular activities does not help students navigate this balance. It would benefit both students and also the public-interest groups for offers to be made simultaneously. Students could more easily choose which organization to volunteer for based on their learning goals and schedules; organizations could produce higher quality work by engaging students who are truly passionate about their involvement.    

Fortunately, the SLS is actively looking at ways to work with the administration to improve the 1L clinic and journal application experience.* Hopefully this results in a simplified application process in future years. The start of September was already stressful enough for 1Ls getting settled into law school. Applying to volunteer with public-interest organizations should not contribute to this stress needlessly. 

*Editor’s Note: SLS representatives welcome students to share any thoughts and concerns about their experiences from September. The Student Affairs and Governance committee is specifically looking to address making information centralized in one place for ease of access, examining timing on deadlines, and deadlines for acceptance.

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