Dozens of students lose places at B.C. law school after ‘unprecedented’ number of applicants accept offers

Thompson Rivers University’s law school has backtracked on offers of acceptance for up to 26 students and placed them on a wait-list, after an uptick in applications and number of people who accepted offers from the school.

Law school dean Daleen Millard said this year has been “unprecedented” in terms of applications. 

“We have had unexpected and overwhelming demand because the TRU law program has more qualified applicants than seats,” she told CBC Daybreak Kamloops guest host Doug Herbert. 

The program has space for 124 students. This year, she said, they sent out 283 offers of admission, knowing that in the past students have turned the offer down to attend another school or pursue other interests — in 2020, they sent out 286 offers and ultimately only 122 seats were filled. 

A TRU spokesperson confirmed Monday that 26 students had been moved to the wait-list.

In a statement, the university said students on the wait-list can defer their acceptance to next year, meaning they will automatically be admitted in 2022. —

The university decided which students would lose their space based on who most recently accepted their offer, and when they paid their deposit.

“We sincerely apologize to the challenges that this places upon some students,” the statement reads.

Some students who were told they were accepted had begun the process of moving to Kamloops.

Siobhan Lehner, a mother of two, had started preparing to move her family there from Alberta.

“It’s significant,” she said. 

“I have things to look at, like doctors, and I have a speech therapist for my son. I have child care I need to figure out. And we were moving on this. I was getting organized.  … I don’t know where to go from here.”

Jordan Elenko said he had been looking at rental properties for his time at the school, but fortunately hadn’t signed a lease yet. 

“The other schools that I had applied to, I had removed myself from the waiting list based on the fact that I thought I had a spot guaranteed at Thompson Rivers,” he said. 

“It’s heartbreaking now to be put back on the same list when I’ve given up my spot at other schools.”

Millard said she’s been in contact with students to talk about their options. 

“It is very important that we understand what it is that made them apply in the first place and what it is that we can reasonably do for them going forward,” she said. 

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