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Durham vs. Queen Mary for law?

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    I'm looking to decide on one particular place for my straight law application (2010) and I'm interested in one of these two.

    Due to UCAS constraints, I can't apply to both unless I drop another choice which I don't want to. So which do you prefer and why?

    Really, I'm just looking for some informed opinions to help me decide - TSR can be quite good for that!


    What I know so far:

    - QM is in London, part of the UoL and the only campus-based college, quite nice when I visited but I'm not raving about living in the East-End personally (unlike some there). Though London is more fun.

    - Durham seems to have a better reputation overall, though it was beaten in the Times list by 1 place by QM, which suggests that they're both relatively good / equal.

    - Durham is collegiate and it has its own old university-town feel, QM is diverse, culturally rich and otherwise more modern.
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    It would help to know where else you're thinking about applying. Durham's that little bit more difficult to get into and QM may be the "safer" option - it seems that you like both in pretty much equal measure so that's something tangible to consider. Otherwise, Durham probably has the edge in terms of employability. On a less relevant note and I know that you know this already; but take the tables with a pinch of salt, and especially The Times' one.
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    I'm looking to decide on one particular place for my straight law application (2010) and I'm interested in one of these two.

    Due to UCAS constraints, I can't apply to both unless I drop another choice which I don't want to. So which do you prefer and why?

    Really, I'm just looking for some informed opinions to help me decide - TSR can be quite good for that!


    What I know so far:

    - QM is in London, part of the UoL and the only campus-based college, quite nice when I visited but I'm not raving about living in the East-End personally (unlike some there). Though London is more fun.

    - Durham seems to have a better reputation overall, though it was beaten in the Times list by 1 place by QM, which suggests that they're both relatively good / equal.

    - Durham is collegiate and it has its own old university-town feel, QM is diverse, culturally rich and otherwise more modern.
    QM obviously has the advantage of being in London-the home of UK Law. However despite this, I imagine the university is 'upstaged' by the other, more prestigious london unis.

    Durham has a great repuation for Law.

    It really depends on where you want to go georgraphically. I would personally pick Durham. However if you already have 4 strong choices and no reserve, QM could be a sensible choice.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Mr_Deeds)
    It would help to know where else you're thinking about applying. Durham's that little bit more difficult to get into and QM may be the "safer" option - it seems that you like both in pretty much equal measure so that's something tangible to consider. Otherwise, Durham probably has the edge in terms of employability. On a less relevant note and I know that you know this already; but take the tables with a pinch of salt, and especially The Times' one.
    Thanks for that reply. I'm looking at 4 other quite highly regarded universities so I've been thinking about a safer insurance choice, though I've had mixed advice and some have told me not to bother, as it is likely (I bloody hope so at least!) that I will get at least 1 offer from 5 good universities.

    I always thought Durham might have the edge in terms of employability and regard but at QM, they kept emphasising that UoL degrees come third in the country. Though surely law firms differentiate LSE, UoL graduates from QM, UoL ones, right? :confused:

    And I agree about taking the league tables with a heavy dose of salt, but I couldn't help checking what the Times thought of the two. :p:
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    Thanks for that reply. I'm looking at 4 other quite highly regarded universities so I've been thinking about a safer insurance choice, though I've had mixed advice and some have told me not to bother, as it is likely (I bloody hope!) that I will get at least 1 offer from 5 good universities.

    I always thought Durham might have the edge in terms of employability and regard but at QM, they kept emphasising that UoL degrees come third in the country. Though surely law firms differentiate LSE, UoL graduates from QM, UoL ones, right? :confused:

    And I agree about taking the league tables with a heavy dose of salt, but I couldn't help checking what the Times thought of the two. :p:
    Yes firms distinguish between LSE/UCL/QM. Generally Durham is better regarded than QM, also, you're at no disadvantage by being at Durham because you aren't in London. Where the Times put them in league tables is neither here nor there because league tbales are ****.

    Your choice is contingent on what reputaiton you want your uni, and most significantly what environment you want to be educated in - London is massivley different to Durham.
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    always thought Durham might have the edge in terms of employability and regard but at QM, they kept emphasising that UoL degrees come third in the country. Though surely law firms differentiate LSE, UoL graduates from QM, UoL ones, right? :confused:
    Yes that's right - quite a number of the London universities are second only to Oxbridge but there is a general feeling amongst employers that LSE, UCL and King's are the better London law schools. Durham is generally considered to be on par with these universities and amongst the other excellent schools like Bristol, Nottingham, Warwick, etc.

    Durham trumps in terms of prestige and employability but they're also a more "risky" option and if you already have 4 top universities QM may be the safer bet. Durham also ask for the LNAT and so if you don't have many non-LNAT universities already QM may also be the more sensible option.
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    (Original post by Prudy)
    Yes firms distinguish between LSE/UCL/QM. Generally Durham is better regarded than QM, also, you're at no disadvantage by being at Durham because you aren't in London. Where the Times put them in league tables is neither here nor there because league tbales are ****.

    Your choice is contingent on what reputaiton you want your uni, and most significantly what environment you want to be educated in - London is massivley different to Durham.
    Thanks for the reply, honestly I like both environments in their own right. When I go to London I love the spirit and how close it is to where a lot of my friends are (and will be) studying and it's a shorter train ride home. Though the old university campus seems great too. I'm not somebody who thoroughly loves one and detests the other.

    I do want to go to a highly-regarded university as that's what I've always aimed at and worked hard for. Law is a subject where the quality of university matters!

    (Original post by Mr_Deeds)
    Durham trumps in terms of prestige and employability but they're also a more "risky" option and if you already have 4 top universities QM may be the safer bet. Durham also ask for the LNAT and so if you don't have many non-LNAT universities already QM may also be the more sensible option.
    If I go for Durham, I will be applying to 3 LNAT universities, otherwise with QM it will only be 2. I know QM is the more sensible option in terms of the chances of just getting an offer, thinking puritanically but maybe sometimes security should be risked for ambition to try and achieve an offer at a greater place?!

    I hate decisions. :o:
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    If I go for Durham, I will be applying to 3 LNAT universities, otherwise with QM it will only be 2. I know QM is the more sensible option in terms of the chances of just getting an offer, thinking puritanically but maybe sometimes security should be risked for ambition to try and achieve an offer at a greater place?!

    I hate decisions. :o:
    Three LNAT universities is fine; if I was in your position I'd probably give Durham a shot. I also applied to 5 AAA universities when I was applying and it worked for me. It's risky but if you have a strong application and a solid chance then sometimes you just have to speculate to accumulate. :yep:

    NB. It's still a very good idea to have an insurance though. :laugh:
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    (Original post by DJkG.1)
    Thanks for the reply, honestly I like both environments in their own right. When I go to London I love the spirit and how close it is to where a lot of my friends are (and will be) studying and it's a shorter train ride home. Though the old university campus seems great too. I'm not somebody who thoroughly loves one and detests the other.

    I do want to go to a highly-regarded university as that's what I've always aimed at and worked hard for. Law is a subject where the quality of university matters!



    If I go for Durham, I will be applying to 3 LNAT universities, otherwise with QM it will only be 2. I know QM is the more sensible option in terms of the chances of just getting an offer, thinking puritanically but maybe sometimes security should be risked for ambition to try and achieve an offer at a greater place?!

    I hate decisions. :o:
    I'd go for Durham (then again, I'm biased )
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    Durham is definitely better than QM, not to say QM is rubbish or anything.
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    (Original post by Prudy)
    Yes firms distinguish between LSE/UCL/QM. Generally Durham is better regarded than QM, also, you're at no disadvantage by being at Durham because you aren't in London. Where the Times put them in league tables is neither here nor there because league tbales are ****.

    Your choice is contingent on what reputaiton you want your uni, and most significantly what environment you want to be educated in - London is massivley different to Durham.
    I'd consider Durham to be on a par with LSE/UCL. I gave serious consideration to turning down LSE for Durham.
    QM doesn't have quite the same reputation. Only faily recently started making AAA offers. I think the important issue is working hard and getting a good degree wherever you go.
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    I seriously don't think the LNAT is that heavily weighted. My results put plenty of my fellow Cambridge applicants to shame. Didn't get me an offer ;(
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    Go for Durham, its the better regarded university. It has "snob value", i.e. it is very highly regarded by employers.
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    Thanks for all the replies. Will rep you guys (mostly) when I can, as an online token of appreciation.

    (Original post by sulpicia)
    I seriously don't think the LNAT is that heavily weighted. My results put plenty of my fellow Cambridge applicants to shame. Didn't get me an offer ;(
    I've always suspected that. People will very low LNAT scores get offers from even the highest LNAT-requiring universities (Oxford comes to mind) whilst a good number of high scorers get turned down. It seems like they weight the rest of your application far more heavily.
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    (Original post by sulpicia)
    I seriously don't think the LNAT is that heavily weighted. My results put plenty of my fellow Cambridge applicants to shame. Didn't get me an offer ;(
    Cambridge never really bought into the LNAT; hence this year they've replaced it with their own legal admissions test. Oxbridge also interview their applicants and a strong performance in that can arguably redeem a candidate who performs badly in the LNAT. A lot of universities still pay serious consideration to the LNAT and places like UCL, KCL and Nottingham have been known to reject candidates largerly, if not purely because they failed to achieve a certain mark in the test. It's certainly not as important a factor as it was when I applied a few years ago but it is still used to weed out potential applicants. :yep:
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    OP, my situation was quite a bit different to yours (I didn't do A levels, but did a Certificate of HE and applied as mature student), but anyhow that only made getting the offers less likely. However, I applied to 5 highly regarded universities (QM included) and ended up getting 3 rejections and 2 offers. I was accepted by Oxford and KCL, but rejected by QMUL. Therefore, I trust that it just goes to show that you shouldn't worry about applying to highly regarded universities and not having a back up choice as such Apply where you would be happy studying for the next three years. That's what matters the most.
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    I think applying as a mature student does have its advantages, the unis know you are not going to go out and get pissed every night because by the time you are 21, you have probably already had your first experience of independence, and even being two or three years older than the average fresher makes a whole lot of difference in how you apply yourself.

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Updated: September 18, 2009
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