Studying an LLB at LSE/KCL/UCL importance of ECs? Watch

Adriaan
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Hi,

As a Dutch high school student I have lately been considering to study law at a top school in London in 2015. The combination of ambition, a particular interest in law and the realisation that studying law in the Netherlands isn to wise led me to London.
The requirements for Dutch students are extremely high though, for KCL, LSE a 8,5 average out of 10 and for UCL 8,3.
These are very high requirements, so I was wondering if it is possible to be a bit under these requirements, say 8-8,2 and instead of that have loads of Extracurriculars, I have always been more of an extracurricular person, as I have difficulties with studying subjects I do not like at all such as biology and latin. I am highly involved in Model United Nations in the Netherlands and abroad and I will be going to participate in University MUN as a high school student. Besides that I'm politically active, I have founded a student council, I am in a board of my school with teachers and in the board of our schools debating society. I also did law courses online and I am maybe going to attend some university courses during high school. I really prefer spending my time on other things than, in my opinion, boring school subjects that have nothing to do with my real interests. I know that this will be different when studying law, as I do find that interesting.

What I do not know is how much emphasis the top London unis lay on doing things outside school and I hope that someone here can help me out, as it is quite difficult to find on their websites or on this forum.
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arrowhead
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Hey!

Take the following as blanket advice for top unis, particularly for oversubscribed courses like law, medicine, economics, engineering, etc.

In general, extracurriculars don't make much (or any) difference. The most important consideration is grades. If your aim is particularly universities like KCL/UCL/LSE for Law, you can expect that your application will be screened out at the first stage for not meeting the minimum criteria.

Your extracurriculars should be a small paragraph of maybe 3-4 sentences at most in your personal statement, present simply to demonstrate that you have a life outside of schoolwork. But that is where their importance starts and ends. If you apply with an 8,2 prediction despite the minimum requirement being 8,3/8,5 I would say that you have no chance because there are droves upon droves of students applying to these universities for Law who have similarly brilliant extracurriculars as yourself and also meet the minimum requirements.

Of course, never say never, maybe your 8,2 prediction with strong extracurriculars might get you an offer. But in my experience of helping students with applications, this has never happened (when applying to top unis for oversubscribed courses).

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

Arrowhead.
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Adriaan
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Hi,

Thanks for your quick and honest response. I think you are right, but the thing is that for Dutch averages I am really really active in extracurriculars. Maybe it is different in the UK, I don't know that, but I thought that because of being so much more into extracurriculars that it could make a substantial difference. The problem in the Netherlands is that we already have a selection after elementary school. In my high school I basically do 11 A levels and no GSCEs, it is how the Dutch system works. The average grade of graduation is around 6,5 out of 10 and if you manage to get an 8, you are graduated *** laude, which is deemed very impressive. Besides the problem that getting an 8,5 is extremely hard, you are also obliged to do subjects you don't even like because you cannot choose 3 or 4 as in the UK. I don't know if the universities in London realise this. I just do not agree with the policy of judging me on my grade for biology or physical geography for a bachelor study in law. I was wondering if I could maybe work out if I manage to get a 9 for history, economics and philosophy and a 7-7,5 for less important subjects, this would make my average 8-8,3, but I would also show that I can excel in subjects that are relevant for law.
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arrowhead
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(Original post by Adriaan)
Thanks for your quick and honest response. I think you are right, but the thing is that for Dutch averages I am really really active in extracurriculars. Maybe it is different in the UK, I don't know that, but I thought that because of being so much more into extracurriculars that it could make a substantial difference.
Maybe in the US, but in the UK, extracurriculars do not make "a substantial difference", no matter however impressive.

(Original post by Adriaan)
The problem in the Netherlands is that we already have a selection after elementary school. In my high school I basically do 11 A levels and no GSCEs, it is how the Dutch system works. The average grade of graduation is around 6,5 out of 10 and if you manage to get an 8, you are graduated *** laude, which is deemed very impressive. Besides the problem that getting an 8,5 is extremely hard, you are also obliged to do subjects you don't even like because you cannot choose 3 or 4 as in the UK. I don't know if the universities in London realise this. I just do not agree with the policy of judging me on my grade for biology or physical geography for a bachelor study in law. I was wondering if I could maybe work out if I manage to get a 9 for history, economics and philosophy and a 7-7,5 for less important subjects, this would make my average 8-8,3, but I would also show that I can excel in subjects that are relevant for law.
I sympathise with you, but the minimum requirements are minimum. These universities speak to various academic and educational consultants when determining the minimum requirements for their courses. From the information that these universities have gathered, they have decided that an 8,5/8,3 is the minimum score that a Dutch student needs in order to be prepared/able to handle a Law degree at such a university.

As for your disagreement with it, well there is little to nothing that you can do about it. I'm not saying that what these universities are asking for is reasonable, especially compared to their more reasonable A-Level or IB offers, but this is the situation you're in. They're not going to lower their requirements for you if you don't meet their minimum criteria, that sort of things doesn't happen at top unis like the ones you've listed.

The rest is up to you.
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Adriaan
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(Original post by arrowhead)
Maybe in the US, but in the UK, extracurriculars do not make "a substantial difference", no matter however impressive.



I sympathise with you, but the minimum requirements are minimum. These universities speak to various academic and educational consultants when determining the minimum requirements for their courses. From the information that these universities have gathered, they have decided that an 8,5/8,3 is the minimum score that a Dutch student needs in order to be prepared/able to handle a Law degree at such a university.

As for your disagreement with it, well there is little to nothing that you can do about it. I'm not saying that what these universities are asking for is reasonable, especially compared to their more reasonable A-Level or IB offers, but this is the situation you're in. They're not going to lower their requirements for you if you don't meet their minimum criteria, that sort of things doesn't happen at top unis like the ones you've listed.

The rest is up to you.
Mmm, but at some threads on the law page I read about people getting in with not that good A-levels or GSCE marks, doesn't that mean that it is possible to get in but that the chances are very small? I do not want to come across as naive, I know the level at these universities is extremely high and that there are a lot of very intelligent people applying and that even if I manage to get an 8,5, my chances of getting in are still small. Maybe I will try to convince my school to let me drop a subject in order to make the 8,5 more realistic.
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arrowhead
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(Original post by Adriaan)
Mmm, but at some threads on the law page I read about people getting in with not that good A-levels or GSCE marks, doesn't that mean that it is possible to get in but that the chances are very small? I do not want to come across as naive, I know the level at these universities is extremely high and that there are a lot of very intelligent people applying and that even if I manage to get an 8,5, my chances of getting in are still small. Maybe I will try to convince my school to let me drop a subject in order to make the 8,5 more realistic.
If that has happened:
(1) The students in question just met the minimum criteria, which is considered 'low' in comparison to the majority of students admitted who get much higher than the minimum.
(2) The students in question had extenuating circumstances.

But again, it's hard to tell. It also varies between universities. It's not at all uncommon to apply to a university asking for much higher, and get an offer even though you don't meet that minimum, but that is not likely to happen at LSE/UCL/KCL for Law.
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Adriaan
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Mm and how important would you deem work experience? In the Netherlands it is almost impossible to work as a high school student at a law firm or court. I read thus far though that many people in the UK did it before applying to top unis for law.

Are there besides grades any other factors that do play a more significant role in the application or would you say that the grades are by far the most
important?


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(Original post by Adriaan)
Mm and how important would you deem work experience? In the Netherlands it is almost impossible to work as a high school student at a law firm or court. I read thus far though that many people in the UK did it before applying to top unis for law.

Are there besides grades any other factors that do play a more significant role in the application or would you say that the grades are by far the most
important?
Work experience totally unimportant. Literally makes no difference at all from anything I've ever seen or heard. You will not be able to get any meaningful work experience before starting a degree anyway - no-one cares how good you are at making cups of tea for solicitors or tagging along pointlessly at a court.
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arguendo
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(Original post by Adriaan)
Mmm, but at some threads on the law page I read about people getting in with not that good A-levels or GSCE marks, doesn't that mean that it is possible to get in but that the chances are very small? I do not want to come across as naive, I know the level at these universities is extremely high and that there are a lot of very intelligent people applying and that even if I manage to get an 8,5, my chances of getting in are still small. Maybe I will try to convince my school to let me drop a subject in order to make the 8,5 more realistic.
for the universities you have named, it is, at the moment, at the very least highly uncommon for anyone to be accepted with below the minimum requirements at a level (which, iirc, are A*AA or thereabouts) because they are highly oversubscribed. universities that allow people in with 'not that good A-levels' tend to be those with less competition for the places - you have specified extremely oversubscribed and competitive university/course combos.

re: GCSEs - the minimum requirements for GCSEs are minimal, as they are lower qualifications than a levels and do not typically form part of the conditional offer for admission (courses will often state minimum gcse requirements for english/maths GCSE but otherwise they are not usually part of an admissions offer). some universities explicitly consider them, but for a candidate with the requisite a levels, they are rarely an issue. i got into KCL with below average GCSEs and full marks at a level - with the exception of certain universities that are known to include GCSEs, below average GCSEs are not an obstacle if you meet the entry requirements.

as explained by arrowhead, the exception for those with lower a levels than required would be where they had mitigating circumstances (which would be backed up by their referees/school)

edit: to clarify, when i said 'below average gcses', i mean compared to other students on my course - not below the national average.
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Adriaan
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Thank you for your response, wouldnt you say that getting below average GSCEs but adequate Alevel grades is the same as scoring under the 8,5 average on all the 11 subjects in the Dutch system, but getting a 9, which is far above the minimun requirements, on some subjects that have some connection with (the study of) law such as history, philosophy and economics? This would make the average below the 8,5, but probably above an 8. You do show however that you can excel in subjects that interest you.


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arguendo
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(Original post by Adriaan)
Thank you for your response, wouldnt you say that getting below average GSCEs but adequate Alevel grades is the same as scoring under the 8,5 average on all the 11 subjects in the Dutch system, but getting a 9, which is far above the minimun requirements, on some subjects that have some connection with (the study of) law such as history, philosophy and economics? This would make the average below the 8,5, but probably above an 8. You do show however that you can excel in subjects that interest you.


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no.

getting below average gcses but adequate a levels would be meeting the entry requirements, i.e. getting an 8,5+ in the dutch system as required. this is because the entry requirements in the uk are a levels, not gcses.
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Adriaan
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Okey, thanks


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Crumpet1
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It is an unfortunate fact that when you are applying from overseas, sometimes UK universities will have odd ideas about what is an equivalent standard to the grades they are expecting from A'level students. You cannot do much about that. What you can do, is research and apply to good universities which have set sensible grade expectations for Netherlands students. For example, Nottingham Uni has one of the best law schools in the UK and it asks for an 8.0. See here for some examples of well-respected UK universities for law:
http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...rankings?s=law
(In other words, don't obsess about London.)

You'll need to check whether taking the LNAT is required (both Kings and UCL require it) and take it in time: http://www.lnat.ac.uk/lnat-exam/admissions-law.aspx

You must meet the deadline for sitting the LNAT:
http://www.lnat.ac.uk/lnat-registrat...ions-test.aspx
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