London is one of the largest cities in Europe and is home to several prestigious world-class universities. Its history, culture and tradition of academic excellence at institutions like King’s College London and London School of Economics (LSE) makes it a tempting option for prospective law students.
Living in London, you are amid a booming metropolis full of life and diversity but before you commit to studying in the City, it’s worth remembering that living in the capital is not without its challenges. I have fleshed out the pros and cons of London universities, to help law students to decide whether studying in London is the right choice for them.
Academic excellence and reputation
Whatever your location, you can gain a valued qualification from the University of London. This means when you graduate your prestigious UK degree will be valued globally and help you to pursue sought-after careers. The City of London achieves this by providing some of the world’s best academics, teaching facilities, world-class careers service and libraries for students. Whilst you’re studying, these fantastic facilities can be invaluable for your research and extra reading – your university goes the extra mile to arrange access to rare and special collections for individual use. The sheer concentration of academic resources in London is unrivalled in the UK and arguably in the world.
In the City of London are the headquarters of nearly every major UK business, organisation and institute, with many international ones as well. London law students are neighbours to magic circle law firms, the Big Four, the Royal Courts of Justice, Central Family Court, the Old Bailey, Four Inns of Courts and other legal landmarks. Students are in the perfect spot for internships and job opportunities, and London universities can facilitate networking events with potential city employers. Having student accommodation in London will also benefit those who want to do work experience or a placement year during their studies.
The City of London dates to Roman times so there's no shortage of historic attractions to visit. Every day, I learn something new about the city’s impressive past and present. One of the most iconic tourist attractions in London is the Tower of London; the 900-year-old castle and fortress have played a prominent role in English history. Just in front of the Tower of London is the Tower Bridge which has sat astride the River Thames since 1894 and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most famous buildings; designed just after the Great Fire of London, it has been the centre of numerous national events. The London Monument, one of the City’s best-loved attractions, is one of the best ways to enjoy the spectacular views of London – such fantastic 360-degree panoramic views from the top of London are not to be missed!
The heart of London
London is one of the greatest cities in the world – it’s easy to see why it’s Europe’s equivalent of New York. The appeal of living and studying in the heart of London can’t be denied. The location provides easy access to and from all parts of the city and beyond, such as a plethora of tourist attractions, ancient museums, art galleries, historic sights and green spaces such as Hyde Park and Regent’s Park.
On the social side, the city offers great nightlife; access to plenty of clubs, bars and restaurant venues is guaranteed to provide a great night out in the Capital. Most events in London are found through social media, word of mouth, university student’s unions or message boards.
Living in London is amazing, but the high cost of living cannot be denied. London is one of the 20 most expensive cities in the world. This does not mean you must be wealthy to live here; it just means you need to be mindful of your spending to avoid going broke before you’ve even started your university course. It is wise to budget sensibly when choosing accommodation and going food shopping.
The good thing is if you study in London, you are compensated with higher student loan allowance – and as a student, you are entitled to various discounted deals. Ergo, with discipline and moderation, it is demonstrably possible to live and have fun in London without overspending.
Due to London’s prestige of being one of the world’s most desirable destinations, entry to London universities can be competitive. London’s primary competitive advantage rests on the quality of students at universities as well as the facilities and research of departments hence the prestige of attending a London university. Therefore, ensure you have met the entry grade requirements via UCAS, obtain a good reference and write a strong personal statement to support your application – these are imperative to increasing your chances of studying here. But don’t let the competition put you off – it just takes determination and drive to make it in the big city, but once you do, I’m sure it will be worthwhile.
Transport for London (TfL)
Most universities in London are spread out across various campuses – this means they won’t always be within walking distance of each other. Therefore, you must take it upon yourself to get familiar with TfL, which can be a little confusing at first (it took me a while to master the London underground), not to mention pricey! However, the good thing is practice makes perfect – the more you use it, the more familiar you get (and you can purchase an 18+ student oyster card to reduce travel costs). Plus, you can always catch a train to Paris over the weekend, whenever you fancy escaping the hustle and bustle of the city life!
Enjoying London is a matter of preference; the city attracts aspiring lawyers but not everyone is cut out for big city life. Ultimately, the only way you can really make an informed decision about whether to study in London is to attend universities’ summer schools, open/applicant days, book campus and accommodation tours and get a feel of the universities in London in terms of atmosphere, environment, facilities and staff.
Your own personal circumstances and temperament will also have a role to play; you might fancy the quiet life in the countryside but if you’re anything like me – interested in meeting all kinds of people in different contexts and have always envisioned living in the city of dreams – then you know that nothing beats London.