You’ve decided that you want to study law at a university in the U.K, that’s great! All your doors have opened, light bulb is shining brightly and you’re feeling ecstatic! You’ve taken the first step towards what you want to do and, so far, all I can say is….congratulations!
Which law school have you chosen? Do I hear doors slammed shut, light bulbs flickering to a halt, are you now sitting alone in the dark? I hear you but, don’t worry, I’ll help you out. In fact, never worry, it’s a negative feeling and negativity won’t get you far in your legal career.
When it comes to applying to universities, it can lead to a great many difficulties and confusions in deciding which one would suit you best. However, that won’t be the case when you’ve got the best possible sources of information right by your side to assist you with your decision. There are plenty of sources out there but where does one start? The best possible way is by attending Open Days. Universities make a big deal out of Open Days and advertise them left, right and centre. Attending Open Days also gives you the opportunity to have a feel for the university. Attend each event asking yourself whether you can see yourself studying there and take the opportunity to get answers to all your questions.
Take a look at university guides, published in newspapers such as The Times and The Guardian. Each of these publications gives you a thorough analysis regarding the ranking of different universities. One word of advice: be careful when analysing each league table. As you will find, each league table is different and that can lead to confusion, taking you back to square one. The question here is: is it worth spending your valuable time stressing over university league tables?
A lot of students base their decision on how prestigious a university is. Obviously, there are people who don’t, which raises a question of what one should really base their university choice on. So many individuals get overly consumed in league tables; to the extent that it gives them a headache and they forget about the other advantages of going to a particular university. I’ve come across many individuals that forget the main reason they’re applying to university is to study their desired course.
Another great insight is looking at the course content. This factor should be one of the most important ones, if not the only one, when it comes to choosing a university for your LLB. Each university requires you to study seven core modules, but the way they go about it varies. Some law schools assess their LLB students purely with exams; whereas other universities provide the opportunity to complete pieces of coursework in order to boost your overall grade. So, depending on your preference, choose the university that best suits you.
So far, I’ve talked about law schools in England alone. What about law schools in Scotland? I’ve seen a number of threads about this in a few forums and some students do get confused on what types of law Scottish universities teach. Of course, to some it may be obvious. Scottish law schools would be equivalent to Scottish law, but confusion still exists. This would be crucial for international students who are vaguely new to the option of studying abroad. There are law schools in Scotland that provide the option of studying English law but, be aware of this fact; universities in England and Scotland teach different laws.
Another fact that I would also like to point out is the entrance examination. As you may or may not be aware, universities require applicants to sit an entrance exam for the courses that they offer. For law, this is known as the LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law). There’s a lot of information out there regarding the LNAT and, just to start you off, check out the official website in order to gain knowledge of what resources are out there to help you prepare and what the assessments are like. As already stated, if not too keen on exams, that makes the decision easier for you, as you could eliminate the universities that require you to sit the LNAT.
For those who have graduated with a degree and want to go on to a postgraduate law school, the same information applies. If you’ve been awarded with a first class degree or even a 2.1, you’ve got a fantastic chance of gaining a place on a postgraduate law degree.
What happens if you’ve been awarded with a 2.2 or equivalent, and if you’re an international student? Then again, research is key. There are universities that do accept applicants with a 2.2 degree, so don’t lose hope. Attend Open Days, law fairs and ask questions in order to gain a realistic opinion of your chances of acceptance. This applies whether you would like to study the LLM (Masters of Law), LLB course or even the original 3 year LLB course.
For international students, although I’m aware that a lot of effort is required to attend Open Days, it is worth the effort. You will gain the opportunity to talk to other international students already studying at the university, along with academics who deal with admitting international students. In fact, before doing so, have a good browse over the university website. There should be a section dedicated to international students, were universities post video blogs or an overview of their experience. If you feel slightly hesitant about studying abroad, although I’m not an international student, I can confidently say that they gain a lot from studying abroad and it’s one of the best experiences that they’ve been through. They go back home feeling a great sense of accomplishment and progress.
Before getting started on your law school hunt, you might have a slight indication of which law school you would like to go to, or a fantasy you have for a particular law school. That may change after physically going to see the university yourself.
After graduation, if you’ve chosen to pursue a legal career, either the LPC or BPTC should spring to mind. Just a quick reminder: potential students would need to enrol on to the LPC if they desire to become a solicitor or the BPTC if they want to become a barrister. If you’ve either secured a pupilage or a training contract, trainee solicitors in particular, some law firms specify which law school to attend in order to study the LPC. If that’s the case, you don’t really have much of a choice, and the hard work has been done for you. If not, BPP law school and the College of Law seem to be amongst the most popular.
As I have profoundly stated numerously, research, research and research! There’s only so much I can tell you, hoping that it’s been useful; but at the end of the day, choosing a law school is very much a personal choice. I understand that it can be confusing and exhausting, but everything falls into place in the end.