BlogUniversityPros and Cons of a Bachelor of Laws at USYD

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Laws at USYD

Now that you know what it’s like studying a Bachelor of Laws at USYD, you’re probably looking for some honest opinions about the degree to see if it’s right for you.

To help you make that decision, we’ve talked to Steph, who’s currently in her third-year studying a Bachelor of Arts (English Literature)/Bachelor of Laws at USYD, about the pros and cons of the degree. We’ll also discuss the things she wishes she knew before she started, why you should study Law at USYD, potential career paths and more. 

Let’s jump right in!

Why should you study a Law degree at USYD?
Top 3 Pros of a Law Degree
Top 3 Cons of a Law Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting USYD Law
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying USYD Law
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study a Law degree at USYD?

USYD Law - Quote

While legal essays and theory-based research are still major components of the degree, a Bachelor of Laws at USYD will help you move beyond jurisprudence and more towards actual legal experience. 

You’ll also find yourself surrounded by like-minded students and passionate academic staff who all genuinely law as much as you do! 

USYD is also one of the best universities in Australia to study a Bachelor of Laws and currently ranks #3 in Australia and #14 internationally

Top 3 Pros of a Law degree

#1: It extends your desire to be challenged

One of the best things about studying at USYD Law School is that it always motivates you to challenge and push yourself. You’re going to be surrounded by peers who, like you, are looking to be challenged and by academic staff who want to help you push yourself and achieve your personal best. 

The content you learn also extends your desire to be challenged since it can get quite difficult some weeks. “It is something that does build perseverance. There are going to be weeks where you really dislike it but you have to push through for the ultimate benefit of finishing it,” explained Steph. 

#2: You’re developing incredible critical thinking skills

A Bachelor of Laws at USYD requires you to follow a series of logical steps whenever you’re completing legal essays or addressing problem questions. This means you’ll end up building amazing critical thinking skills!

I have never looked at things or ideas or problems in the way that I have in Law,” said Steph. 

She also recommends that “if you’re not a maths person or philosophy person, Law is a fantastic alternative to make sure that that part of your brain is always working”.

#3: You get to connect with passionate, like-minded peers and academic staff 

You come across a diversity of ideas and people, who are willing to be outspoken and who may not necessarily always agree on the same issues with you,” said Steph.

Whether it’s the people you meet in lectures and tutorials, extracurricular opportunities like mentoring programs, or clubs and societies such as the Sydney Uni Law Society, the community you’re surrounded by is like-minded, insightful and incredibly passionate. 

Not only are you connecting with like-minded peers, but also with amazing academic staff who bring diverse and valuable knowledge, experiences and insights to your classes. Steph talked about how insightful it is to learn from academics who are doing research in niche areas including law and mental health, environmental law and international law just to name a few! 

 

Top 3 Cons of a Law degree

#1: You have a lot of long and challenging readings

The readings you have to do throughout your degree are one of the worst aspects of studying at USYD Law School. “The readings are very long and if you fall behind on one week, then that piles up and it accumulates,” said Steph.

She explained that you can have over 100 pages of quite challenging readings a week so needless to say, it can become very overwhelming if you fall behind! 

#2: The exclusivity 

Another major con of studying a Bachelor of Laws at USYD is that “while there are attempts at being more diverse and inclusive, you still do often come across similar groups of people which often makes it hard to extend past particular social circles,” said Steph. 

It sets itself up to be this exclusive, prestigious, academically rigorous, and tricky degree to get into, and that’s what it wants to uphold… But it is also the thing that means people who are from low SES backgrounds or ethnically or culturally diverse backgrounds often may not feel as though they are welcome or comfortable in the degree,” she said.

Given this exclusivity, it can feel alienating if you’re not in the majority but the division does become less noticeable and less significant as you progress through the degree. 

Steph commented, If you want an environment that is more welcoming or more open to a diversity of ideas and more committed to a bustling cultural environment with progressive thought and diversity of ideas pushing the boundaries, USYD Law School is probably not your law school.” 

#3: Bell-curve marking

Another con of studying Law at USYD is that while most other degrees and units are marked through a process where if you deserve a mark, you get the mark, Law School at USYD isn’t.

Instead, it’s marked on a bell curve so even if you’re performing well, you’re only getting the mark that you’re scaled to receive rather than getting the mark you deserve. “Most universities offering Law have moved beyond the bell curve but not USYD,” said Steph. 

Any regrets? 

Steph told us she regrets not getting involved in activities earlier during her degree. “I did not launch myself into the vibrant activities and culture of Law School because I felt as though they weren’t necessarily for me,” she said. 

So, don’t be afraid to get involved in all the activities your degree has to offer! Keep an eye out for legal placements, Mooting competitions, USYD Law Society meet ups and activities, and much more because if you don’t, you might regret it later!

Steph also shares that “if you get in, know that you have earned your place there. It doesn’t matter if you’ve gotten in through a pathway… It is just as much your Law School as anyone else’s Law School”.

What do you wish you had known before starting USYD Law? 

#1: Don’t fall behind on readings and coursework

It’s really easy to start falling behind, especially with online school where it’s so tempting to just switch off a Zoom lecture! But Steph recommends staying on top of everything so that there are no knock on effects on your social life, mental health, part-time jobs, or extracurricular activities. 

#2: Get involved in extracurriculars and see it as more than just a degree 

While the studious and academically rigorous environment is one of the best parts of a Bachelor of Laws at USYD, remember it’s so much more than that!

The content you learn has an effect on the things you do beyond Law and can inform any extracurricular activities or part-time work you do. The critical thinking skills you develop are also going to be valuable across all areas of your life.

I wish I had stepped into Law School thinking that it was going to be this all encompassing immersive experience rather than just seeing it as a university degree,” she said. 

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

One of the most unique aspects of a Bachelor of Laws at USYD is that it combines traditional and progressive styles of teaching. “You’re heading into an institution that has been regarded as one of its best in Australia for many years, so if you study at USYD Law School, what makes it so different is the prestige, rigour and tradition,” said Steph.

But at the same time, you’re being taught by academics who often bring more contemporary and progressive insights to the traditional coursework.

What inspired you to choose USYD Law?

Steph was inspired to study Law as she had a passion for identifying injustices in our community, “I felt that it [law school] was a stepping stone towards giving me the skills that I needed to ensure that I could make some kind of tangible change”. 

Her decision to study at USYD was mostly influenced by her second degree. She wanted to study a major in English Literature and after looking at the coursework and the types of texts offered by different universities, she decided that the content she would get to study at USYD made it the best option!

What are the possible career paths?

USYD Law - Careers

Having graduated from a university as prestigious at USYD, you’ll be sure to have a competitive edge. As a law school graduate, you can work in diverse careers such as:

A Bachelor of Laws can be the starting point for a variety of career paths. You can find out more about the different potential careers you can have as a law school graduate here!


Maitreyi Kulkarni is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications (Public Relations and Social Media) at Macquarie University. She loves writing just about anything from articles to poetry, and has also had one of her articles published with the ABC. When she’s not writing up a storm, she can be found reading, bingeing sitcoms, or playing the guitar.

 

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