When you apply and receive your offer to attend law school a whole new world opens up. As a very successful student thus far you will have been one of the best but you will not be prepared for what law school will throw at you. Your academic work schedule will go through the roof but we have prepared some great tips and advice for you. If you read below you will not only fly through university but also enjoy your time there as well.
1. The First Year Is The Most Important
To set yourself up for success, the first year is the most important. Do the groundwork now for the easier remainder of your time at University. “Start as you mean to go on,” make sure to stand out as much as you can and the professors remember you – of course by the good habits and examples. A good and memorable first impression will stand you in good stead for the rest of your study life. Further, it is becoming increasingly popular for law firms to recruit law students very early in their career – so a good start out of the blocks enhances your chances of securing employment.
This is such an important aspect of being successful, not only now but for your future career prospects. We have touched upon getting to know your professors, but your fellow students should be included as well. Join study groups or start your own, enter competitions, Alumni are also worth getting to know - they have been there and done that and can help with tips and introductions. Networking can also offer support, study groups are a good example, they will help you focus on the topic and at the same time the students support each other through chatting and discussion. Professors will also offer study groups as a favourable option. This has a two-fold advantage, it shows you are keen and focussed on the professor and the group as a whole will support each other.
Have a planner so that you know when and where you should be each day. Missed classes are the best way to fail. Ensure that you do the preparation before each class, do the reading and know in advance what the class is all about. You can then participate in the class and raise your profile with the professor. Think of your time at University as a job - if you want to make it work, you’ll have to put in the hours. If you don’t have a class to do some preparation ahead, the class will be easier to understand and more enjoyable if you have done some reading about the subject. A quick last minute read through the notes provided is not the way to success.
4. Put The Work In
Don’t rely solely on the notes handed out - write your own. These notes will help with your revision for exams. Have a filing system that makes it easy to find everything, this will save you so much time later. Learn how to reference properly as this can make the difference between passing and failing exams. Attend any review and exam practice sessions offered, they can tell a lot about the professors way of thinking, don't forget they set the exams. Time management is essential to ensure that you are not panicking at the last minute.
5. Exam Preparation
Cramming before an exam is not the way to win top marks, find a way to revise in a manner that suits you best and stick to it. Study sessions are great for this, the collective can throw up great ideas, help, and support. Do practice exams with answer papers, see how you compare. Ask your professor to have a look at them and ask for advice on how to improve your marks. Obtain feedback from your professor when they’re handing your papers back, this will allow you to see your weak points and well as the strong ones. Read through your notes from the classes, you will be surprised how much you may have forgotten. The classes you attend are the basis of the exams set, professors will most likely emphasize on these areas.
6. Planning and Getting Help
Try to focus on what is important, it is easy to get your priorities wrong. You have an exam next week but your focus turns to something else which seems more important at the time. If you plan ahead you will not find yourself in a panic or stressed out because of the lack of time. If you are struggling with a subject get extra help, ask the professor or find a study programme. Get all the help you can, there are lots of ways to get it out there. Many students make top grades with the assistance of a good private a private tutor.
7. Self Discipline
This is a particular issue for first-year students, there is so much to do and get acquainted to the university life. It’s great to have fun as a fresher but don’t lose focus on why you are there. The best students get the best jobs. The focus should be on you, not your peer group. It’s fair to say that university is a competitive situation, unlike undergraduate education. You are all after the same top jobs so make a plan, get into a routine and be disciplined enough to stick to it. You are likely to meet up with all types of people ensure you befriend the ones who want to work not play. Remember a Law degree is considered to be one of the toughest degrees to obtain and promises great rewards.
8. Choosing Topics
So you have managed to get through your first year, you know which subjects you have done well in, and where your weakness lie. You now have choices to make, this should be done with a great deal of thought. In choosing which subjects to focus on for years two and three ensure that they are topics, you both enjoy and have done well in. If your worst subject was Intellectual Property, and you desperately want to be a Corporate Lawyer go for Copyright instead. Likewise, when it comes to your choice of dissertation, make it a subject you excel in and ensure your choice of professor is appropriate, choose a topic he will be able to assist you with and enjoy reading the results.
9. The Library
Learn to love the library it should be your best friend. It will have resources that can invaluable to you and your success. Once you are focusing on specific topics you will be able to use the library for planning and research. The internet is a wonderful tool but never overlook the resources that your University library offers for free. Attending the library also keeps you in touch with physical people.
10. Me Time
Never forget to have some downtime, stress can be very debilitating and having fun and exercise is the best way to prevent stress accumulation. Join a club, there are hundreds of them available at all universities. There is a great association, BUSA (British Universities Sports Association) and if you are competitive it can deliver you a British flag in your sport and sporting colours from your university. This could be the one thing on your resume that a competitor doesn’t have that you do, and that top job could be yours.
Once the excitement of your A levels results dies down and the realisation that you have attained the grades to enter the university of your choice hits home, this is just the beginning of the rest of your life. It is a momentous time but you will quickly learn that the pace of life and the expectations placed upon you have been upped significantly. There is a great deal of help out there you only need to look for it. Take all the help that you can get and look to make all the right choices moving forward.
About the author:
Chris Mallon is a law tutor and content writer for https://chrismallonlawtutor.com. He has taught law extensively at the university level and now enjoys teaching and producing content for law students.