Posted Oct. 9, 2017
Studying an LLM is an important decision and one that you have now made so you must be very excited to be starting your new LLM student life!
As you begin to prepare for the year you will realise that getting ahead of your fellow students and coursework will soon become something that you need to get used to.
You want your LLM year to be worth the effort you put in and any extra work that you put in can make a huge difference.
Here's a list of things we think you may find helpful to equip yourself before you fully kick start the year.
1. Settling in quickly
Settling into your LLM life doesn’t just mean settling into your new residential accommodation. Exciting as it may sound, you need to be quick to move beyond your room and start making new friends and exploring utilities around your area such as libraries, cafes, shops, ATMs and gyms. Before the LLM program starts it’s a good idea to make a day’s trip to your campus (don’t forget to print a map!) and check out all its facilities that you’ve already read about in the law school brochures such as libraries, reading rooms, gyms, cafes, etc. You can also pop into where your seminars are likely to be held so that you don’t waste time on the morning of your first day of class trying to find it. Keep a look out for campus tours where you can ask questions about campus facilities.
2. Gathering information
The first few weeks are the best time to gather basic information to help you advance through your LLM student life. Information on seminar venues, relevant library sections, key contacts within your program, course information, deadlines, etc. are all useful. You can also attend information sessions and events across your university, which will tell you more about student life on campus and using campus facilities. Signing up for library tours, students union events, career events, etc. Although you might wonder how to fit on all these activities into a packed semester, a smart way is to have a scheduled planner handy at all times.
3. Building on your networks
Speaking of making new friends, it will help to start thinking of building professional contacts early on. LLM programs usually attract students from a variety of backgrounds including legal professionals who are looking to specialize in a particular area of law and those interested in pursuing research aiming to join the academic profession. The first few days before seminars will be a good time to get introduced to your classmates and find out about their interests.
4. Planning your time
It might be too early for you to know at this stage on submission deadlines or coursework preparation, but it’s never too early to come up with a plan of how you will manage your time through the semester. You can have a look at the LLM planner which is usually up on the law school website to get an indication of important dates and get them all in your diary. You can also schedule your weekly routine in the early days by assigning time for activities such as library reading hours, meeting classmates to discuss LLM topics, attending information sessions, etc. This can also include planning time out with friends, attending networking sessions, going to the theatre, etc.
5. Familiarising yourself with coursework
It is essential that you have an idea of what modules you plan on studying through the LLM course and what dissertation topic you wish to focus on. You may think it’s still early but it’s never too early to make a start on your LLM program. The better prepared you are the easier your LLM journey will be!
Take a look at the LLM guidance handbook that the law school provides for information on the kind of assessments that each course involves. You can talk to alumni during information sessions to get an idea about seminars and what the module conveners expect from you.
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