Student101A
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Ok so at GCSE ive got 55544 (extenuating circumstances) and am hoping for A*AA at A-level, i qualify for a contextual offer and am planning on applying for law at Bristol, Durham, Leeds, Manchester and Cambridge (extremely unlikely i know) and was wondering what can i do in year 12 to build a standout application to make up for my GCSES and give me a chance at receiving some offers
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jeccca
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I hope everything is okay regarding your extenuating circumstances. Firstly, those are fantastic A level predicted grades - anybody would be happy with those. Good luck with achieving them, I am sure you will be able to. I have just applied to do Law at five RGs and have received two offers (Exeter and Birmingham) and an interview (York) so far, no replies from the final two (Nottingham and Oxford) as of yet. A couple of tips to help you stand out, in my opinion, would be:
- Work experience (although difficult to get, it can make a standout PS, especially if you get a placement at a well-known firm)
- Clubs (start/join a club at school, such as a debating society)
- AS Levels (exams such as Critical Thinking / Thinking Skills can be beneficial)
- EPQ (a Law based EPQ could help boost your application, it gives an area of interest for interviews)
That's pretty much all I have, sorry I couldn't be more help. Best of luck with your application! One last thing would be a glowing reference - that's always a positive. I have heard that Bristol doesn't ask for any specific GCSE grades (or something like that), so that will be an excellent choice to apply to. Let me know how you get on!
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Student101A
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(Original post by jeccca)
I hope everything is okay regarding your extenuating circumstances. Firstly, those are fantastic A level predicted grades - anybody would be happy with those. Good luck with achieving them, I am sure you will be able to. I have just applied to do Law at five RGs and have received two offers (Exeter and Birmingham) and an interview (York) so far, no replies from the final two (Nottingham and Oxford) as of yet. A couple of tips to help you stand out, in my opinion, would be:
- Work experience (although difficult to get, it can make a standout PS, especially if you get a placement at a well-known firm)
- Clubs (start/join a club at school, such as a debating society)
- AS Levels (exams such as Critical Thinking / Thinking Skills can be beneficial)
- EPQ (a Law based EPQ could help boost your application, it gives an area of interest for interviews)
That's pretty much all I have, sorry I couldn't be more help. Best of luck with your application! One last thing would be a glowing reference - that's always a positive. I have heard that Bristol doesn't ask for any specific GCSE grades (or something like that), so that will be an excellent choice to apply to. Let me know how you get on!
thanks a lot for the response, im already doing a EPQ on if assisted suicide should be a human right which id count as a law based EPQ, currently looking for work experience but it is certainly hard, im going to some lectures at universities as part of a trip so hopefully i can put that on my application to show dedication and genuine interest in my studies
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J Papi
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(Original post by jeccca)
- Work experience (although difficult to get, it can make a standout PS, especially if you get a placement at a well-known firm)
- Clubs (start/join a club at school, such as a debating society)
- AS Levels (exams such as Critical Thinking / Thinking Skills can be beneficial)
These are all incorrect:

  1. Universities aren't assessing you on your skills as a lawyer, they're assessing you on your interest and aptitude in studying law. Even your work experience has to be tied back to the academic study of law. How one should go about doing this is very dependent on what they did during their work experience.
  2. Fake ECs like debating are very common - anyone can lie about going to debating club once a week. OP would ideally need a tangible, quantifiable achievement in a relevant extracurricular (e.g. winning something, ranking within the top X competitors at something, publishing something, etc.)
  3. Critical Thinking and the like are junk A-levels. This is why every half-decent uni excludes them from their typical 3 A-level offer. OP should focus their time and effort on the subjects that are actually difficult and matter.

Not that this matters at the end of the day - the overwhelming majority of universities either don't care about the P.S. or don't have the luxury of rejecting people because of it.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Student101A)
thanks a lot for the response, im already doing a EPQ on if assisted suicide should be a human right which id count as a law based EPQ, currently looking for work experience but it is certainly hard, im going to some lectures at universities as part of a trip so hopefully i can put that on my application to show dedication and genuine interest in my studies
Yes your EPQ is relevant to law and it's good to attend lectures at unis/Law masterclasses/taster days which certain unis run. Don't worry too much if you can't find relevant work experience - it is not essential to have this and won't prevent you getting offers
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Student101A
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(Original post by J Papi)
These are all incorrect:

  1. Universities aren't assessing you on your skills as a lawyer, they're assessing you on your interest and aptitude in studying law. Even your work experience has to be tied back to the academic study of law. How one should go about doing this is very dependent on what they did during their work experience.
  2. Fake ECs like debating are very common - anyone can lie about going to debating club once a week. OP would ideally need a tangible, quantifiable achievement in a relevant extracurricular (e.g. winning something, ranking within the top X competitors at something, publishing something, etc.)
  3. Critical Thinking and the like are junk A-levels. This is why every half-decent uni excludes them from their typical 3 A-level offer. OP should focus their time and effort on the subjects that are actually difficult and matter.

Not that this matters at the end of the day - the overwhelming majority of universities either don't care about the P.S. or don't have the luxury of rejecting people because of it.
Would adding books ive read be helpful presuming they are relevant to law or my current studies?, haven't read any yet but id be happy to read 30 minutes a day or something.
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Student101A
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Yes your EPQ is relevant to law and it's good to attend lectures at unis/Law masterclasses/taster days which certain unis run. Don't worry too much if you can't find relevant work experience - it is not essential to have this and won't prevent you getting offers
sadly the lecture wont be law, im attending two separate lectures both of which i take at A-level, im hoping this shows interest/dedication in my studies which ive heard is what universities are looking for.
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J Papi
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(Original post by Student101A)
Would adding books ive read be helpful presuming they are relevant to law or my current studies?, haven't read any yet but id be happy to read 30 minutes a day or something.
If you can find a book that you enjoy + are capable of reflecting on, sure. Saying that you read a book isn't sufficient, you need to either tell us why the subject matter was interesting or engage with it in some way (e.g. by disagreeing with the book's argument).
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Student101A
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(Original post by J Papi)
If you can find a book that you enjoy + are capable of reflecting on, sure. Saying that you read a book isn't sufficient, you need to either tell us why the subject matter was interesting or engage with it in some way (e.g. by disagreeing with the book's argument).
alright thank you, just trying to find something to make me stand out so my poor GCSES are overlooked
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J Papi
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(Original post by Student101A)
alright thank you, just trying to find something to make me stand out so my poor GCSES are overlooked
If a uni is selective enough to care about the P.S., it's going to care about the GCSEs as well (see: Oxford, LSE)
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Student101A
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(Original post by J Papi)
If a uni is selective enough to care about the P.S., it's going to care about the GCSEs as well (see: Oxford, LSE)
aha fair enough
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jeccca
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(Original post by Student101A)
thanks a lot for the response, im already doing a EPQ on if assisted suicide should be a human right which id count as a law based EPQ, currently looking for work experience but it is certainly hard, im going to some lectures at universities as part of a trip so hopefully i can put that on my application to show dedication and genuine interest in my studies
No way! I did my EPQ on whether assisted suicide should be legalised in England. Best of luck!
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jeccca
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(Original post by J Papi)
These are all incorrect:

  1. Universities aren't assessing you on your skills as a lawyer, they're assessing you on your interest and aptitude in studying law. Even your work experience has to be tied back to the academic study of law. How one should go about doing this is very dependent on what they did during their work experience.
  2. Fake ECs like debating are very common - anyone can lie about going to debating club once a week. OP would ideally need a tangible, quantifiable achievement in a relevant extracurricular (e.g. winning something, ranking within the top X competitors at something, publishing something, etc.)
  3. Critical Thinking and the like are junk A-levels. This is why every half-decent uni excludes them from their typical 3 A-level offer. OP should focus their time and effort on the subjects that are actually difficult and matter.

Not that this matters at the end of the day - the overwhelming majority of universities either don't care about the P.S. or don't have the luxury of rejecting people because of it.
Well I did this and have already received two CCC offers from two incredibly good Russel Groups. Just trying to help.
I have organised and led the local Parliamentary debate the past three years against multiple other schools - that's not too bad. That gives numerical statistics I can use if any anybody was doubtful of my involvement.
Critical thinking isn't an A level, it's an AS level. It suggests the sort of skills you have, which are relevant to Law, such as argument based questions (paper 2).
I understand that universities aren't assessing my skills as a lawyer - I focused my PS around my interest in Law as a subject, not why I wanted to be a lawyer. I had two placements at top law firms - shallow, but name-dropping does wonders for your PS, as evident. I also made sure to link it back, as you suggested, to the academic study of Law.
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returnmigrant
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Bristol doesn't look at Personal Statements anymore - and by the time this person applies, other Unis may be doing the same. So, success may not rely on work-experience, or your hobbies or whatever.

For Bristol, the weighting is 20% GCSE, 40% A levels etc, 40% LNAT. Since the majority of RG Unis use LNAT, clearly that is something you need to concentrate on. There are practice papers online and being familiar with the format of the test will help you get a good grade - information on the LNAT website : https://lnat.ac.uk/
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J Papi
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(Original post by jeccca)
Well I did this and have already received two CCC offers from two incredibly good Russel Groups. Just trying to help.
I have organised and led the local Parliamentary debate the past three years against multiple other schools - that's not too bad. That gives numerical statistics I can use if any anybody was doubtful of my involvement.
Critical thinking isn't an A level, it's an AS level. It suggests the sort of skills you have, which are relevant to Law, such as argument based questions (paper 2).
I understand that universities aren't assessing my skills as a lawyer - I focused my PS around my interest in Law as a subject, not why I wanted to be a lawyer. I had two placements at top law firms - shallow, but name-dropping does wonders for your PS, as evident. I also made sure to link it back, as you suggested, to the academic study of Law.
Why do you think that I'm interested in your offers from two universities that seem to not be that academically selective? (If they were, they wouldn't have replied so soon, and wouldn't have given you a CCC aka unconditional offer)

More importantly, why do you think that your story proves anything when these universities may not check the P.S. in the first place, or may not be in a position to reject someone because of it even when they do?
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jeccca
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(Original post by J Papi)
Why do you think that I'm interested in your offers from two universities that seem to not be that academically selective? (If they were, they wouldn't have replied so soon, and wouldn't have given you a CCC aka unconditional offer)

More importantly, why do you think that your story proves anything when these universities may not check the P.S. in the first place, or may not be in a position to reject someone because of it even when they do?
Do you genuinely believe that neither Exeter or Birmingham are interested in personal statements? As well as York, who have invited to interview. There is no denying that these universities are all in positions where they have to consider your PS, as well as being in the position where they're able to reject.
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by J Papi)
If a uni is selective enough to care about the P.S., it's going to care about the GCSEs as well (see: Oxford, LSE)
If extenuating circumstances explain someone's GCSE performance, this is taken into account during the assessment process.

PS. 'Selective' does not = 'will always read PS'. Many RG Unis do not read PS for all courses - including for highly selective subjects like Economics, Medicine, Law etc.
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J Papi
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(Original post by jeccca)
Do you genuinely believe that neither Exeter or Birmingham are interested in personal statements? As well as York, who have invited to interview. There is no denying that these universities are all in positions where they have to consider your PS, as well as being in the position where they're able to reject.
Exeter has a 94% offer rate for law :rofl:
Birmingham is still in a position where it has to offer unconditionals because its yields are so low (more data on this soon). Its offer rate is 78%.
(source: https://university.which.co.uk)
So yes.

The fact that York pass people through a tick-box interview doesn't make that university more or less likely to look at the P.S.

More importantly, none of these universities fall among the 'incredibly good' (or indeed selective) RGs. If they did, what can we say of Oxbridge? LSE? UCL? Durham? How low would a university need to be for it to be 'not good' in your view? TSR law people really do have low standards these days...
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J Papi
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
If extenuating circumstances explain someone's GCSE performance, this is taken into account during the assessment process.
Agreed

PS. 'Selective' does not = 'will always read PS'. Many RG Unis do not read PS for all courses - including for highly selective subjects like Economics, Medicine, Law etc.
The selective universities for law do read the P.S. Oxford sticks a score onto it. LSE reads it. UCL reads it. KCL reads it. Not sure about Cambridge and Durham (cba to find out either way, this is something for the OP to look into).

Again, the fact that your university didn't bother with the P.S. doesn't mean that others don't, even if you would rather that this be the case.
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J Papi
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Edit: Cambridge forces you to submit the SAQ, which has room for an additional P.S., so chances are that they do at least flick through it. May send them an FOI request about this at some point.
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