Tips & Tricks blog
CAN YOU GET INTO LAW WITH BAD A-LEVELS?
If like me, you had a bad run of grades during your AS’s, you might be worried about failing to get a place at uni to train for your chosen career.
And while it’s true that getting the best grades at A-level is super-important, the dream isn’t over if you don’t get the grades you’re hoping for.
In fact, there are loads of practising legal professionals who didn’t get excellent A-Level grades. Just check out #LawyersWithRubbishALevels on Twitter, and you’ll discover that it’s still possible to achieve your dream of a career in law, even if you didn’t do so well in your exams.
It’s Your Degree That’s Important
While some of the big legal firms do look at an applicant’s A-level grades when considering them for a position, it’s becoming increasingly common for recruitment agents to examine the modules you studied during your degree and the grades you got for those.
So, if you’ve got bad A-Levels, you should use uni as an opportunity to show what you’re capable of. You might have to go through clearing with UCAS to get onto a course, but all is not lost.
Degrees Are More Relevant Than A-Levels
There’s a commonly held belief that A-levels show that you can work hard. The UK A-Level system is famously challenging – equivalent to degree level in the United States.
Sure, A-levels show that you can apply yourself and work hard, but your degree-level education demonstrates the ability to think critically and to form a reasoned argument, as well as your willingness to work super-hard.
Critical thinking and reasoning are the essential skills in a desirable individual in the legal profession.
So, if you did get bad grades, or you’ve been predicted lower grades than you were hoping for, you should focus on getting into university with the grades that you have got. You could try and persuade your teachers to improve your predicted grades, of course.
Do I need to have done A-Level Law to get onto a good Law course?
The simple answer to this is “no”; not for most universities. In fact, some law schools, such as LSE, like you to start from scratch; with A-level law as a non-preferred entry qualification.
Of course, some prefer you to have a grounding in law before you start, such as UCL.
The best advice we could give is to do your research and apply to the schools that recognise the qualifications you’ve achieved so far.
Get some work experience
If you have lousy A-level results, you might be able to demonstrate your aptitude for legal work by getting some work experience in a relevant legal firm. Every town has its legal professionals, so pick yourself up and get networking with your local solicitors or conveyancing company.
Relevant work experience and, more importantly, a great reference from an employer will always help compensate for dodgy A-levels.
Graduate Diploma In Law
My folks said to me, back when I was choosing a subject to study at university, that I should go for a subject that I’m good at and enjoy, rather than one that trains me for a specific job.
And, actually – in hindsight – it was great advice.
Degree-level study allows you to apply and develop your skills; challenging you in critical- and independent thought. So, you might choose to study something other than law for your undergrad degree.
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL for short) provides a pathway into the legal profession for people who have degrees in non-law-related subjects.
It’s a year-long post-grad course that qualifies you for a specific area of legal practice.
The GDL is often referred to as a “law conversion” course and crams 18-months of legal training into one year, so it’s pretty intense.
But it does mean that you’ll be able to study something else at degree level and qualify for law later on.
Whatever your A-Level results – don’t give up. University study is worth it – you just have to work hard to get there.
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