Choosing to study law
Megan Jones, LLB Law student:
Choosing to study law at university is a daunting experience. Your choice will determine where you live for the next three years, will play a part in your academic success and can, depending on your university’s reputation, play a part in securing a training contract, pupilage, a place on a postgraduate course or future employment. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, what at first seems an insurmountable task – whittling well over a hundred universities down to one – is relatively easy if taken one step at a time.
4 August 2014
One of the first things to consider is where you want to live for three years. There is little point going to a university with a good reputation for law, if it is based in a city that you do not like. If you cannot envisage living in a city for three years without spending most of your student loan on train tickets home every weekend, it is probably not the place for you.
Another important consideration is the reputation of the university. Whilst you should not slavishly follow the league tables published in The Guardian and The Times, it is worth cross referencing as a way of creating a short list of possible options. After all, you do not want to work hard for three years, and spend a small fortune on fees, to discover at the end of your course, that the university’s reputation (or lack of) will make it difficult for you to secure future employment. Furthermore, the position of the university in the league tables can also affect the quality of teaching at that institution, for the best lecturers will want to work at the best universities.
The above are general considerations when choosing a university, but what about the more difficult task of deciding between those universities that have offered you a place?
When I had to make that decision, there were a number of reasons why I chose Queen Mary over the other universities that had offered me a place. I wanted to study law in London as there are so many more opportunities for work experience here, compared with other towns and cities. This left me with a choice between Queen Mary and one other London-based university. I chose Queen Mary because it was ranked slightly higher than my other option and had a larger, broader choice of optional modules in the second and third years. Most importantly, it is the only campus-based university in London, which means that everything (academic departments, social facilities and accommodation) is located in the same grounds.
I had previously spent a year studying at a different university in London where my accommodation was in a rather rough, unpleasant area and far removed from the university’s academic campus. I was not about to repeat that mistake. When making your decision ensure that you base it not only on location and reputation, but ultimately on what feels best for you.