This article is for students who were unfortunately not accepted into local law school this time around. The competition to get into law school is extremely intense, so nonetheless, good job for trying your best!
So, what’s the next step? What happens if you are unable to qualify for local law school?
You might have other options in mind that you are passionate about, so spend some time exploring those options too!
If law school is the only thing that you are passionate about, consider applying to overseas law schools! If not, take a gap year then reapply to your local law school again.
If your rank points can be increased by retaking an H1 examination, for example, H1 Economics, you can also consider retaking the subject, or the whole A levels examination.
All about applying overseas
Applying for overseas law school is competitive because there are limited spots available for international students. You also have to compete with applicants from all over the world.
Not to mention, the total school fee can amount to over S$100,000 for the whole course. However, unlike Singapore, which usually takes 4 years to complete, law school overseas usually only takes 3 years to complete.
On top of that, also consider whether you will be practising law in Singapore. If you are keen to practice in Singapore, you should apply to schools that are recognised by the Singapore Institute of Law. The list can be found here. A wise move would be to apply to the recognised schools even if you are planning to practice overseas, just in case you need to return to Singapore for personal reasons, or if you change your mind midway through.
UK Law Schools and UCAS applications
For those interested in applying for the UK law schools, the UCAS application deadline is in October and you can start filling up your application forms as early as 18 May 2022.
Check with your JC on whether they offer help to alumni for UCAS applications. If they are able to help, you will be able to apply together with your juniors when the application opens. If they are not able to help, you can ask an agent to help you with the UCAS applications.
Regardless of whether you are applying through UCAS with or without the help of your JC, you should still contact your Civics Tutor (CT) or General Paper/Knowledge and Inquiry teacher and ask them to write you a reference letter for your application. Make sure to prepare early and check with the teachers a good amount of time before the deadline as most teachers have very tight schedules and may not be able to help you on short notice.
When applying for UK law schools, you need to register for the LNAT by yourself and sit for those examinations. Make sure that you meet the English Language requirements. If you do not meet the requirements, the university will provide information about the ways to meet the requirement besides using your O levels/IP English or A level General Paper grade. Failure to do so will result in immediate rejection. On top of that, you will be required to write a personal statement.
Since there are a couple of months before the UCAS application cycle starts again, make good use of your time and commit yourself to intern in the legal industry, volunteering, reading up about law and understanding your motivations to do law better. All these will come into good use when you sit for the interviews.
Australian Law Schools
For those interested in applying for Australian law schools, you have to apply with your A level results. Different law schools have different application processes and deadlines, so it is advisable to seek an agent. Not to worry, there is no agent fee! International applicants will be selected solely based on their A level results. Make sure that you meet the English Language requirements. If you do not meet the requirements, the university will provide information about ways to meet the requirement besides using your O levels/IP English or A level General Paper grade. Extracurricular activities are not taken into consideration for the selection process. There is no need to write a personal statement or ask someone to write a recommendation letter for you.
US Law Schools
For those interested in applying for US law schools, note that there are no undergraduate law programmes offered in the US. This means that you will take an undergraduate degree of your choice before applying for graduate law school.
All about Juris Doctor (JD)
If you are not keen on studying law overseas and would prefer to do law after your bachelors in Singapore, NUS offers the Juris Doctor (JD) programme, which is a 3-year single graduate degree programme for candidates holding a non-law degree. You need to have at least a Cum Laude or Second Class Upper Honours degree or its equivalent. You also need to have two academic referees or recommendations from two employers if you have left school for a few years.
All applicants must also submit a personal statement and a one to two-page curriculum vitae, setting out their educational history and work experience (if any). Shortlisted applicants must also undergo a written test and interview. More information can be found here.
Taking a gap year to reapply into law school
Over the years, the notion of taking gap years has also become increasingly popular. It gives students a second chance at reapplying to their dream course, retaking their examinations or even spending time to explore future career options. Many prospective law students have taken gap years and eventually landed places in local law schools.
However, that being said, it all boils down to how you utilise your gap year. Staying productive is no guarantee that you will be accepted into local law school as competition is still intense, or even more intense, as gap year students will be expected to do something fruitful with their extra time.
Gap Year Activities
To increase your chances, here are some things that you can do while taking a gap year before reapplying to law school.
You can pursue an internship in a legal setting, volunteer at a pro-bono legal clinic, network with other lawyers, as well as consider your backup plans, just in case your reapplication is unsuccessful.
You can also retake an A level subject at H1 level to improve your rank points, or give the whole A levels examination another shot. This will require a lot of discipline and it is advisable that you spend time thinking about your abilities and mental capacity should you be taking A levels again.
Taking a gap year can be tough, and you might feel more alone as many of your friends start to move on to a different phase of their lives.
Spend more time learning about gap years and decide for yourself if you are ready to take up this challenge. If you need help, reach out to GapyearSG, a Singapore-based organisation providing assistance and opportunities to prospective and current gap year students.
With that, we wish you all the best with whatever decision you make. Find out more about applying to law school with our upcoming workshop, Career Pathfinder 2022, a University and Career Series for Young Adults (aged 15-19) which will help provide you with a better-informed decision-making process when selecting a degree and university. The workshop will take place online via Zoom on 12th March 2022 (Saturday) from 9 AM to 1 PM for $19.90.