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Author Topic: McGill, GPA's and LSAT  (Read 20980 times)

FossilJ

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #30 on: August 20, 2006, 09:50:49 PM »
I can't believe I'm wasting more time on this, but I am.  *shrug*

I'm always amused when someone uses verbal and personal attacks on an anonymous message board towards an anonymous poster and then figures he or she is going to be taken seriously, especially in light of the fact that they’ve already made factual errors.

Heavy irony.  Let's move on.

1. So there are levels of being erroneous? By all mean, please clarify.

There are degrees of being right, and degrees of being wrong. 

The LSAT proceeds on the first point.  There is a BEST answer, which does not preclude all five answers from being RIGHT.  I'm sure you've written this test, so you'd know what I'm talking about.

By the same standard, answers can be LESS or MORE wrong.  For instance, saying that McGill is located in Ireland is clearly wrong.  Saying that the LSAT is required, however, is only partially correct -- the LSAT IS required, but ONLY IF it was written.  McGill does not require one to write the LSAT for admission, but if one has done it, it MUST be reported.

From the website (to which I directed the OP, which makes the rest of this thread entirely moot, and yet I'm still here arguing):

Quote
Applicants are not required to take the LSAT; however, if a candidate has taken or will be taking the LSAT, the score will be considered. Applicants must report the date(s) of sitting(s) and supply their LSAT identification number in the appropriate places on the application. Failure to do so will adversely affect chances of admission.

I'd love for you to tell your professor or a client, "well I was wrong, but I was close, so that should count for something." An error is an error. This isn’t grade 6 math - there are no points for being close.

What the @#!* does this have to do with professors or clients?  Again, your analogies stink.  Besides, even if they were good analogies, there would still be situations in which being partially correct was fine.  Especially when it comes to professors.

This isn't a debate about professions.  It's an online message forum.  Advice is often based on hearsay.  A client wouldn't come begging for advice here, either.  My claim about degrees of right and wrong is specifically part of an epistemological argument. 

2. I only really addressed two points that you made. Point one was that the LSAT is required at McGill. Pont two was that McGill is not on par with U of T. The latter is obviously subjective, so you can't be wrong per se.

But you challenged it all the same, so don't hide your head in the sand now.

You said:
Quote
That said, McGill is certainly on par with U of T law. Is U of T considered the toughest law school in Canada to get into? @#!* ya! But just as Harvard is still comparable to say NYU even if Harvard is tougher to get into (in general) and a little more prestigious, you can def. compare U of T to Mcgill - they're the two premier Canadian law schools.

So, you used an exaggerated ad hominem to make me look stupid, and then took issue with my new claim.  An analogy?  You called me a racist, and then took issue with a claim I made about Nigerian politics.

In any event, to say that "a single erroneous claim" does not "reduce one's credibility more than marginally" is ridiculous. Your error shows you aren't informed about one of the two schools you refer to, a school that bears the subject of this thread. Yet you expect people to take you seriously when you subjectively claim that U of T is leaps and bounds better than McGill. As if.

1.  Right.  Because all the information delivered on this board is based in years of study.

OR I made a claim, then went back and did some research on it when I was wrong.  In the process, I discovered that I was only partially wrong.  I also found some resources on which to base further claims.  See my next post.

2.  Don't put words in my mouth.  I said U of T is recognizably better than McGill, not "leaps and bounds".  I compared it to the difference between Harvard and a mid-range T14.  Would you argue that Harvard is "leaps and bounds" better than Michigan?  No.  Would you argue that it still is better?  Yes. 

3. You state that "Harvard has more than a 'slight' edge on NYU". Well, according to several reputable sources and rankings (See US News), the word ‘slight’ is fairly accurate.

Yeah, I did say that.  I also said that's immaterial.  I don't understand why you keep harping on it. 

I also said:

Quote
Harvard isn't comparable to NYU on many levels.  They're similar, but they're not close enough.

I stand by this.  See the next post.

You also claim that "McGill doesn't have better reach to Europe -- it has better name recognition in Europe." Those two seem to go hand in hand, don't you think? A more recognizable name often opens more doors, which is how many people choose schools in the first place.

Most of the public would tell you that Harvard is the best law school in the country.  Almost all major ratings sources indicate that Yale is the best, and have done so for years.  Most people wouldn't even list Yale in their top three.

Name recognition means nothing.  Reach is backed up by statistics.  Do you have any?

Anyway, my point being is not that McGill is the better school (I’m not saying it isn’t either) - my point is that the "Harvard vs. T14" school theory does not hold much weight.

Yes, it does.  See my next post.

Again, I'd say an NYU or Yale vs. Harvard comparison is more appropriate, both top schools in their country.


No.  See my next post.

4. You’re fooling yourself if you think the gap is that large.

Bobo

Brilliant comeback.  I applaud thee.
Pish, J only wants to waste YOUR time.  Get wise.

farouk

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #31 on: August 20, 2006, 10:44:18 PM »
I know that I'm stating the obvious here, but you guys have to agree on criteria before you can compare the two schools.  You can compare student quality (numerical and holistic, though I personally believe "holistic" to be a bunch of horseshit), faculty in terms of quality and to student ratios, job placement, class choices, clerkships, layman prestige (though this is a moronic reason to choose a school), and more I'm sure.

Then there are those factors that you can't compare, like mcgill's dual degree program.  I believe that Toronto is a superior school, but I may (assuming I get accepted) choose mcgill because I can practice anywhere in Canada, or perhaps because I'm interested in Canadian comparative law.  It really depends on what I want to do.

So if you are arguing about Bay Street placeent, the winner is obvious.  Considering other criteria, it's not so clear. 

I do think that student quality at Toronto is numerically superior (same GPA, higher LSAT), but some people may put more weight on "well-rounded applicants".

FossilJ

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #32 on: August 20, 2006, 10:50:27 PM »
ON THE COMPARISON BETWEEN MCGILL AND U of T (both of which are great schools!):

Despite the fact that U of T has been on top of the MacLean's ratings for a while, I won't be using those, as a letter of intent to boycott those ratings was recently signed by 11 of the Canadian heavyweight universities, and, more importantly, I can't access them online - http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/08/14/macleans-universities.html .

The only two rankings that I'm left with are the following:

1.  The Top-Law-School Rankings, which I think is an amalgamation from a variety of different sources, although I can't be sure (and it must be noted that, from memory, it looks very similar to the last MacLean's ratings):

         1. University of Toronto
         2. University of British Columbia
         3. McGill University
         4. York University
         5. University of Ottawa
         6. University of Manitoba
         7. Dalhousie University
         8. University of Alberta
         9. Queen’s University
        10. University of Victoria

http://www.top-law-schools.com/canadian-law-school-rankings.html

2.  The Canadian Lawyer Magazine report card on law institutions in Canada, which surveys 500 recent graduates on their experience.  A different view, I'd say.

   1. Osgoode Hall (York University) B+ (#4, B)
   2. University of Toronto B+ (#2, B)
   3. University of Victoria B+ (#1, B+)
   4. University of Calgary (N/R)
   5. University of Windsor B (#11, B-)
   6. McGill University (N/R)
   7. Dalhousie University B- (#12, B-)
   8. University of New Brunswick B (#3, B)
   9. University of Western Ontario B- (#5, B)
  10. University of Alberta B (#6, B)
  11. Queen's University B- (#8, B)
  12. University of Saskatchewan B- (#7, B)
  13. University of Ottawa B- (#9, B-)
  14. University of Manitoba C+ (#10, B-)
  15. University of British Columbia C+ (#13, C+)

Interestingly enough, these rankings are completely different from the previous one (and the MacLean's one, which, IIRC, is very similar to the TLS ranking, if not completely the same).  A fascinating view from new associates.

In the first case, U of T is on top, two spots ahead of McGill.  In the second, U of T is second, four places ahead of McGill.  After looking into this survey, it would appear that the reason McGill doesn't have an official grade is because there weren't enough responses for accurate comparison, but that its ranking was the result of the responses that the magazine did get.  Here's a link to 2005's survey for more information on the process:  http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/images/stories/pdfs/lawSchoolsResults.pdf .

A link to the magazine:  http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/
A link to the 2006 ratings which can't be procured from the magazine without a subscription (yet): http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2006/02/canadian_law_sc.html

You can find a discussion on the Canadian universities' decision to boycott MacLean's on Leiter's Blog.  Here's an apt and pertinent comment from the Blog (http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2006/08/11_canadian_uni.html):

Quote
I am glad to see some action on this question -- a sizeable number of my classmates at the University of Victoria school of law enrolled there because it had garnered first place in the Macleans law school rankings the previous year. The problem with this was that these same students had not considered the political character of the school, nor it's well-known focus on environmental and aboriginal law. They grumbled constantly about the lack of business and corporate-commercial upper year course offerings, and whined openly about the school's "political correctness." Without the Macleans ranking, perhaps they might have researched the school in detail before applying.

There is another Canadian magazine which also ranks law schools -- I believe it's Canadian Lawyer magazine. I heard (from a former dean of UVic Law) that although the methodology is supposedly more sound, it is primarily a ranking by graduates of their particular schools. It seems to me that, unless the interviewees graduated at least five years previous to the survey, the results would be questionable indeed (since law graduates from some schools are viewed more favourably than others, as a matter of expediency on the part of firms). Thus, the more reliable responses would also be the less current ones, and subsequently the value of the entire endeavour seems suspect. Assuming my information is correct.

This italicized comment may be true, but if so, it would indirectly indicate the level of prestige with which certain institutions are regarded -- a strange way of finding out how law firms rank the schools, but a way, nevertheless. 


From these rankings, it would appear that, within a small pool of major candidates, U of T is ranked considerably better, not only by "independent" sources (MacLean's ratings are notoriously "corrupt"), but also by recent graduates and, indirectly, law firms.  While McGill fluctuates in the middle of the upper half of these rankings (much like UMich), U of T stays on top (much like Harvard).


Now, to compare NYU and Harvard.  Here are the statistics for the two schools, taken from the USNews rankings we all love to hate:

(NAME - OVERALL SCORE - PEER ASSESSMENT - LAWYER/JUDGE SCORE - GPA - LSAT - ACCEPT RATE - ST/FAC RATIO - '04 GRADS EMPLOYED @ GRAD - EMPLOYED AFTER 9 MTHS - BAR PASS IN JURISD - OVERALL BAR PASS)

3. Harvard - 91 - 4.9 - 4.8 - 3.68-3.92 - 170-176 - 11.5% - 11.0 - 97.1% - 99.5% - 95.9% - 75%
4. NYU     - 86 - 4.6 - 4.5 - 3.60-3.89 - 168-172 - 21.0% - 11.1 - 96.3% - 99.4% - 97.1% - 75%

I don't even know why I'm doing this.  It's irrelevant, as I already stated twice.  The proper analogy is Harvard to mid-range T14.  But let's address this.

As expected, Harvard has more than a "slight" edge in numbers.  While the GPAs are close, the 25th percentile for Harvard is almost a full tenth of a grade point higher.  More importantly, while LSAT scores from the 97 percentile to the 99 percentile make up the 25/75 split at NYU, at Harvard the band is from the 98.2 percentile to the 99.7 percentile.  The Harvard acceptance rate is also much lower, but that's probably just because of the huge number of applications they get.  As expected from elite institutions, the rest of the figures are virtually the same across the board for the T14 (jobs secured and bar passage), except in California where the fiendish bar exam makes the numbers dip a bit.

Most crucial, however, are the peer rankings and the lawyer/judge rankings.  These assessment scores give one an idea how others in the business view the school.  Out of 5, three tenths is a major difference.  In fact, here, the top three schools (which are only "slightly" different) are very similar, whereas there is a remarkable drop down to the fourth position.  Probably why we all know it as "HYS". 

The reason this analogy is irrelevant is because NYU doesn't fluctuate that much in the rankings, either.  It's been pretty steady near the top for a while.  A school that DOES fluctuate, however, is the University of Michigan, which at one time was at #3 (right behind Harvard), went back down to the teens (IIRC), and is now climbing back up to 8. 

Coincidentally, while its GPA and LSAT numbers are a little lower than NYU's, its peer assessment and lawyer/judge assessment scores are identical.  Maybe there is something to be said for your analogy, after all.  But you'd still be incorrect in considering it only a "slight" difference.  The real "slight" difference is between NYU and other mid-T14 schools, as indicated by the USNews rankings.


It would appear that Harvard and NYU are similar, but not in the same echelon.  NYU and UMich, on the other hand, are very similar.  Harvard, according not only to public opinion, but also to its peers and lawyers and judges, is recognizably better than both NYU and UMich.  Just like U of T, according to the rankings that are available, is recognizably better than McGill.
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Geo_Storm

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2006, 11:03:15 PM »
It's too hard to compare a program that teaches Civil and Common Law (McGill, Ottawa and others) vs one that teaches purely Civil(UdeMontreal) vs one that eches just Common (U of T, UBC, Osgoode etc).
Just go to the one where you think you'll get the most out of it.

In the end you aren't doing much wrong by choosing McGill over U of T or vice versa.
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bobotheclown

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2006, 11:16:06 PM »
I can’t believe I’m wasting my time with this, BUT…

Quote
There are degrees of being right, and degrees of being wrong. 

The LSAT proceeds on the first point.  There is a BEST answer, which does not preclude all five answers from being RIGHT.  I'm sure you've written this test, so you'd know what I'm talking about.

By the same standard, answers can be LESS or MORE wrong.  For instance, saying that McGill is located in Ireland is clearly wrong.  Saying that the LSAT is required, however, is only partially correct -- the LSAT IS required, but ONLY IF it was written.  McGill does not require one to write the LSAT for admission, but if one has done it, it MUST be reported.

Semantics my friend. Semantics.

Bottom line, if someone doesn’t bother to do full research about such a basic thing as whether the LSAT is required, I’m going to skeptical about what they say about that particular school.

Quote
So, you used an exaggerated ad hominem to make me look stupid, and then took issue with my new claim. 

I’m glad you can admit you look stupid.

Quote
Name recognition means nothing. 

I hope you’re kidding.

Name recognition means more than one can measure numerically. Aside from geography, and cost of tuition (which usually is moot as schools in certain countries tend to cost the same), recognition is what many people base their choices on. Recognition also affects other areas. 

Bobo

farouk

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2006, 11:20:00 PM »
"1.  The Top-Law-School Rankings, which I think is an amalgamation from a variety of different sources, although I can't be sure (and it must be noted that, from memory, it looks very similar to the last MacLean's ratings)"

I'm going to make a website called "really great law schools" and put up my own rankings without any background info.  Maybe you can quote my rankings as well.

"2.  The Canadian Lawyer Magazine report card on law institutions in Canada, which surveys 500 recent graduates on their experience.  A different view, I'd say."
 
This survey is useless:
1)self-selection
2)insufficient respondees
3)based completely on limited perceptions


bobotheclown

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2006, 11:25:53 PM »
ON THE COMPARISON BETWEEN MCGILL AND U of T (both of which are great schools!):

Despite the fact that U of T has been on top of the MacLean's ratings for a while, I won't be using those, as a letter of intent to boycott those ratings was recently signed by 11 of the Canadian heavyweight universities, and, more importantly, I can't access them online - http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2006/08/14/macleans-universities.html .

The only two rankings that I'm left with are the following:

1.  The Top-Law-School Rankings, which I think is an amalgamation from a variety of different sources, although I can't be sure (and it must be noted that, from memory, it looks very similar to the last MacLean's ratings):

         1. University of Toronto
         2. University of British Columbia
         3. McGill University
         4. York University
         5. University of Ottawa
         6. University of Manitoba
         7. Dalhousie University
         8. University of Alberta
         9. Queen’s University
        10. University of Victoria

http://www.top-law-schools.com/canadian-law-school-rankings.html

2.  The Canadian Lawyer Magazine report card on law institutions in Canada, which surveys 500 recent graduates on their experience.  A different view, I'd say.

   1. Osgoode Hall (York University) B+ (#4, B)
   2. University of Toronto B+ (#2, B)
   3. University of Victoria B+ (#1, B+)
   4. University of Calgary (N/R)
   5. University of Windsor B (#11, B-)
   6. McGill University (N/R)
   7. Dalhousie University B- (#12, B-)
   8. University of New Brunswick B (#3, B)
   9. University of Western Ontario B- (#5, B)
  10. University of Alberta B (#6, B)
  11. Queen's University B- (#8, B)
  12. University of Saskatchewan B- (#7, B)
  13. University of Ottawa B- (#9, B-)
  14. University of Manitoba C+ (#10, B-)
  15. University of British Columbia C+ (#13, C+)

Interestingly enough, these rankings are completely different from the previous one (and the MacLean's one, which, IIRC, is very similar to the TLS ranking, if not completely the same).  A fascinating view from new associates.

In the first case, U of T is on top, two spots ahead of McGill.  In the second, U of T is second, four places ahead of McGill.  After looking into this survey, it would appear that the reason McGill doesn't have an official grade is because there weren't enough responses for accurate comparison, but that its ranking was the result of the responses that the magazine did get.  Here's a link to 2005's survey for more information on the process:  http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/images/stories/pdfs/lawSchoolsResults.pdf .

A link to the magazine:  http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/
A link to the 2006 ratings which can't be procured from the magazine without a subscription (yet): http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2006/02/canadian_law_sc.html

You can find a discussion on the Canadian universities' decision to boycott MacLean's on Leiter's Blog.  Here's an apt and pertinent comment from the Blog (http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2006/08/11_canadian_uni.html):

Quote
I am glad to see some action on this question -- a sizeable number of my classmates at the University of Victoria school of law enrolled there because it had garnered first place in the Macleans law school rankings the previous year. The problem with this was that these same students had not considered the political character of the school, nor it's well-known focus on environmental and aboriginal law. They grumbled constantly about the lack of business and corporate-commercial upper year course offerings, and whined openly about the school's "political correctness." Without the Macleans ranking, perhaps they might have researched the school in detail before applying.

There is another Canadian magazine which also ranks law schools -- I believe it's Canadian Lawyer magazine. I heard (from a former dean of UVic Law) that although the methodology is supposedly more sound, it is primarily a ranking by graduates of their particular schools. It seems to me that, unless the interviewees graduated at least five years previous to the survey, the results would be questionable indeed (since law graduates from some schools are viewed more favourably than others, as a matter of expediency on the part of firms). Thus, the more reliable responses would also be the less current ones, and subsequently the value of the entire endeavour seems suspect. Assuming my information is correct.

This italicized comment may be true, but if so, it would indirectly indicate the level of prestige with which certain institutions are regarded -- a strange way of finding out how law firms rank the schools, but a way, nevertheless. 


From these rankings, it would appear that, within a small pool of major candidates, U of T is ranked considerably better, not only by "independent" sources (MacLean's ratings are notoriously "corrupt"), but also by recent graduates and, indirectly, law firms.  While McGill fluctuates in the middle of the upper half of these rankings (much like UMich), U of T stays on top (much like Harvard).


Now, to compare NYU and Harvard.  Here are the statistics for the two schools, taken from the USNews rankings we all love to hate:

(NAME - OVERALL SCORE - PEER ASSESSMENT - LAWYER/JUDGE SCORE - GPA - LSAT - ACCEPT RATE - ST/FAC RATIO - '04 GRADS EMPLOYED @ GRAD - EMPLOYED AFTER 9 MTHS - BAR PASS IN JURISD - OVERALL BAR PASS)

3. Harvard - 91 - 4.9 - 4.8 - 3.68-3.92 - 170-176 - 11.5% - 11.0 - 97.1% - 99.5% - 95.9% - 75%
4. NYU     - 86 - 4.6 - 4.5 - 3.60-3.89 - 168-172 - 21.0% - 11.1 - 96.3% - 99.4% - 97.1% - 75%

I don't even know why I'm doing this.  It's irrelevant, as I already stated twice.  The proper analogy is Harvard to mid-range T14.  But let's address this.

As expected, Harvard has more than a "slight" edge in numbers.  While the GPAs are close, the 25th percentile for Harvard is almost a full tenth of a grade point higher.  More importantly, while LSAT scores from the 97 percentile to the 99 percentile make up the 25/75 split at NYU, at Harvard the band is from the 98.2 percentile to the 99.7 percentile.  The Harvard acceptance rate is also much lower, but that's probably just because of the huge number of applications they get.  As expected from elite institutions, the rest of the figures are virtually the same across the board for the T14 (jobs secured and bar passage), except in California where the fiendish bar exam makes the numbers dip a bit.

Most crucial, however, are the peer rankings and the lawyer/judge rankings.  These assessment scores give one an idea how others in the business view the school.  Out of 5, three tenths is a major difference.  In fact, here, the top three schools (which are only "slightly" different) are very similar, whereas there is a remarkable drop down to the fourth position.  Probably why we all know it as "HYS". 

The reason this analogy is irrelevant is because NYU doesn't fluctuate that much in the rankings, either.  It's been pretty steady near the top for a while.  A school that DOES fluctuate, however, is the University of Michigan, which at one time was at #3 (right behind Harvard), went back down to the teens (IIRC), and is now climbing back up to 8. 

Coincidentally, while its GPA and LSAT numbers are a little lower than NYU's, its peer assessment and lawyer/judge assessment scores are identical.  Maybe there is something to be said for your analogy, after all.  But you'd still be incorrect in considering it only a "slight" difference.  The real "slight" difference is between NYU and other mid-T14 schools, as indicated by the USNews rankings.


It would appear that Harvard and NYU are similar, but not in the same echelon.  NYU and UMich, on the other hand, are very similar.  Harvard, according not only to public opinion, but also to its peers and lawyers and judges, is recognizably better than both NYU and UMich.  Just like U of T, according to the rankings that are available, is recognizably better than McGill.


Recognizable in Canada maybe. I'm not so sure about elsewhere. So, like many others have mentioned, if I were to choose between the two schools I'd make my choice based on where I wanted to study (among other factors such as where my family's located, price, friends, etc.)

Bobo


farouk

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2006, 05:32:37 PM »
"McGill rides on a decades-old and utterly inexplicable reputation"

That was my impression as well, though I can't really support it.

bobotheclown

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #38 on: August 21, 2006, 07:02:11 PM »
Quote
Still, neither school has any significant wow-factor south of the border. If anything, they have a "huh?" factor.

I tend to agree with you there.

bobotheclown

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Re: McGill, GPA's and LSAT
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2006, 07:03:33 PM »
"McGill rides on a decades-old and utterly inexplicable reputation"

That was my impression as well, though I can't really support it.

No one can. The people who go there -- and McGill apologists, of course -- will generally try to rationalize it away, but I have as close as one can come to a controlled experiment: two brothers who went to these two schools one year apart, frequently compared notes, and actually agreed that UT >> McGill and that McGill's rep is ancient.

For whatever reason though, McGill remains, oftentimes, the only Canadian school many Americans have heard of.

Wow, I see you should be teaching research methods.