Assessing if you are ready to study a Master of Laws program is tricky.
Here is a selection of considerations to bear in mind to help you work out if you are ready to study an LLM:
1. Do you have the funding?
Most law schools and universities, like the University of Edinburgh, have a large range of scholarships, grants and bursaries available for LLM students. Applications are often competitive or on a first come first served basis, so get those forms filled in quickly. There are also private funding companies like Prodigy Finance that offer tailor-made funding for LLM students. Prodigy Finance has a unique credit assessment model, enabling it to offer collateral-free, no-cosigner education loans to lawyers attending the world’s best LLM programs. There are also some banks that specialise in loans for postgraduate study, especially in the US, and these can be at a great competitive rate.
2. Do you have time?
This is an important point. LLMs are often undertaken on a full-time basis, so you will need to take time away from your career and possibly spend time away from home. But even a part-time or distance learning LLM will take up plenty of your time. If your current personal situation makes this difficult, then maybe this year isn't the one for starting an LLM.
3. Why are you considering doing an LLM?
Think carefully about why you want to study an LLM program. If it's to improve your chances of a job after university, develop your knowledge of a career path you're just starting on or to consolidate your specialist understanding of a topic, then these are all fabulous reasons. If it's following friends or wanting to stay put at university instead of heading off into the big wide world, then maybe it's time to reconsider.
4. Will it help your career?
This is the biggie. Will gaining an LLM actually improve your knowledge and increase your chances of getting the right job? Talk with colleagues or people working in positions you would like to see yourself in. What do they think? Apparently asking for advice from colleagues will make them think more highly of you. If you get a positive response from someone who has already done what you are about to embark on, then go for it.
5. Are you hard working and intelligent enough?
Be honest with yourself – do you still have the drive to do the work because it's going to be hard and you don't want to burn out? Undertaking an LLM straight after a tough couple of years at work or fresh from completing your final undergrad exams might not be what is best for you. Only you can know if you're hard working enough. Of course, you're clever enough for an LLM, you made it this far didn't you? If you know you're up for the hard work, then what are you waiting for?
6. Can you fit it around your other commitments?
Young children, changing family circumstances and your life outside of study and work are all important. Give careful thought to the free time you have in your home life. Studying full time or part time will take up a great deal of your life, but you may well be able to handle it. Remember if you get accepted onto the course of your dreams, then you could be on the way to the future career of your dreams.
Please note that the information here does not constitute financial advice. Prodigy Finance is one of many potential funding options for international LLM students. Other student funding options are available and LLMstudy.com advises you to research all your options thoroughly before making such a commitment. LLMstudy.com accepts no responsibility for your choice of loan and does not endorse or support Prodigy Finance. Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and entered on the Financial Services Register under firm registration number 612713.