The choice of which modules you’re going to study is a big one and it’s come around again. How do you go about making the right decision? Is there an objective best choice? Absolutely not! The right choice is a completely individual thing and here are my top tips on getting the right options for you!
Here in Warwick Law School we had a module fair this week, a great chance to talk to both tutors and students who have already studied the course. It’s useful to get the perspective of both. What do they say are the highlights? How is it taught? How does the assessment work? Does this fit well with your personal preferences? Are there any other facts you need?
Of course academics are proud of and enthusiastic about their courses and the students who support them at the module fair are likely to have had good experiences of the course
A good question to ask is:
“Were any of the students less enthusiastic about this course? What didn’t they like?
You might also want to seek out direct opinions from students who are less fierce advocates for the course. Their views will help you get a rounded picture. If you think you still need more information don’t be afraid to ask.
2, Think about what excites you
You’re going to be most successful doing the modules which excite and interest you. Sometimes I see students who wonder if they “ought” to do this or that module, and I can see from their faces that inspiration is entirely lacking. You’re going to have to spend a fair bit of time in lectures and seminars and you’ll have reading set. If you love your subjects you’re going to get much more of that reading done than if you simply don’t like them. The more you engage with the subject the better you’re likely to do in the assessments. It occurs to me that the expression “bore me stupid” could have come into common parlance to cover just this situation! How you do in your modules matters to your future, you’ll do best in the ones you like most. Choose the ones you’ll enjoy. Isn’t it great when someone tells you that the best thing to do is what you want to do?
3, Balance your workload
Mostly it will be much easier for you to be successful if you make sure that your workload will be balanced across terms one and two. Sometimes students talk to me about trying to minimise the work they do in one term or another because they think they will need to be spending more time on making job applications. I don’t think you should let this consideration affect you. Yes, making good job applications is very time consuming but you need to balance this with your studies. There’s no point in securing lots of job offers on the back of your stunning applications, only to discover that you don’t achieve the base level the employers wanted in your exams and they withdraw the offers. You can take time over the summer to get ahead with applications. More on that in a blog to come!
4, Is your subject choice telling you something about your career?
Students sometimes come to see me to ask whether their subject choices will impact their chance of getting a training contract in one firm or another. Typically the question arises when students tell me that they’re aspiring to become City commercial lawyers. They want to know if their chances of success will be impacted if they study subjects like Human Rights, Family and Medical law. They’re asking the wrong question. The right one is:
“If I am drawn to these modules and am excited by them what does this say about me as a person and what might make me happy in my future life?”
If you want to do the human rights courses because you studied law to help people and make a difference to individuals and to society, then explore careers which will allow you to do this. City commercial law is not going to align with your aspirations and may make you miserable.
If on the other hand you’re excited by some business courses but fancy broadening your degree and doing something “different” by choosing a couple of “non commercial” modules there’s probably no need to rethink your career future. Of course law firms will be interested to see that you have chosen to study some subjects outside the field of commercial law. Just make sure that you can also evidence that passion for the City and the work which goes on there.
5, Make your own decisions
I hope it follows from all that I have said that you need to make your own decision. Don’t do courses because your friends are doing them, or because you think you “ought to”. If you’re at Warwick remember that you can come to see me to talk about your choices.