It is a tricky decision to make. Do you follow your gut and choose a university course that you are sure is something you are interested in and school has established you are good at it (therefore likely to succeed)? OR should you choose the degree offering you the direct route to the career you think you want straight out of school?
When I was faced with this UCAS dilemma the playing field was very different mainly because Brexit had not been conceived and university fees were a fraction of what they are today.
For me it was a no brainer, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer but also that history was a strong subject choice and one I was genuinely interested in. I applied to the University of Exeter to read history without a second glance. However, for many now this was and remains a harder choice to make. One work experience taught me a great deal and one moment stands out as a junior partner explained to me that law was competitive and only the most committed and passionate candidates succeeded to securing their training contracts. He went on to tell me that I needed to stand myself apart from the crowd and not be afraid to make unconventional choices if it ultimately would make me stand out at application stage. Furthermore, he went on to say it was not good enough in a post-financial crisis London to just be a good lawyer, I had to have something else “my very own x-factor” to be noticed, to get a training contract interview and to ultimately succeed in the legal profession. A simple suggestion was to study an arts degree or modern language and take the GDL route… this was the beginning of my exploration into the GDL.
Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption has publicly backed studying a non-law discipline over law at undergraduate degree level. Sumption’s advice to budding lawyers is to “personally enrich” and “intellectually satisfy” themselves by taking another degree discipline such as history, which he himself studied. Having a good grasp of “the dynamic of human societies through their history” makes him a better judge.
Do not let the extra year put you off, if you have a real passion for a subject. I would strongly urge you to pursue this and to choose the GDL route (add another feather to your bow). By the time it comes to choose either the BPTC or LPC an extra year will not make you feel “old”. The LPC and BPTC differ significantly from law degrees and the GDL, meaning it’s pretty much level pegging for all students whatever route they take to get there.
Overall, I can only paint a one-sided picture having chosen the GDL route (I its hard work but allowed me to pursue a subject I was passionate about and get a breadth of academia without restriction to one discipline). Everyone should go with the option that is best for them, lots of my friends who chose to study law straight away are very successfully reaping the benefits of this with brilliant jobs today. It is not necessarily a straight forward decision. Have a good think about how you learn best, what funding is available to you, and take it from there. It should be said there are champions for both camps- GDL and LLB; one really is not categorically better than the other.
Deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses –15 January 2017