As you may have realised, there are many options when you decide to apply for universities, and so it is very important to search for a university that fits your needs. One should not look only at the world university rankings and decide on their postgraduate studies; this might not lead to the best choice for you.
Now, there are a range of factors that should be considered while deciding where to study, some of which are:
Rankings do matter to some extent, but even here, it is important to look at the specific rankings. You should not decide that you want to study at University “X” just because it ranked as the best university for law. Instead, you should find universities which are the best for your specific area of law.
With an interest in Asian Legal Studies for instance, it would not make sense to just go to the top-ranking university where there is no such specialization or courses.
Faculty & Courses on offer
It is important to research on the faculties and the courses that are offered to the students. If I have an interest in Environmental Law for example, I would want to study at a law school where there are experts in this area and also many courses which specialize in it too.
It is also important to identify the potential opportunities you can get while studying and also once you graduate. If you want to focus on research, then you would want to study at universities where there are research centres. Some universities provide graduate students with the opportunity to work as teaching assistants, while in some countries students can work part-time in law firms or think tanks.
It is also important to know what you want to do once you complete your studies. Some people want to work in the same country and so they do their postgraduate studies in that particular country.
For this, it is important to research on the visa details and whether it is possible to write the Bar examination of that particular country, and whether you are eligible to work in that country once you graduate.
Campus and Living Environment
It is very important to examine the living environment of the university you want to attend. Some people cannot live in particular areas or countries because of the harsh living conditions, the food (or lack of familiar food), the facilities present in that area.
For someone who had studied his/her bachelors in India with a mess to eat food, a person who came and collected clothes and washed, and ironed them, a dearth of Indian cuisine, and family members only a short distance away, it might be a little tough to adapt to an independent lifestyle with you doing everything on your own.
Finances are an important aspect while searching for universities. You should calculate the total expenses, including living and maintenance costs, and then also search for scholarships. Scholarships can be awarded by the university itself, or by external organizations.
Countries such as the United Kingdom, China, Japan, South Korea, etc. have several scholarships offered by external organizations or even the Governments themselves. Scholarships have different deadlines and so it is important to start this process as early as possible.
There is no doubt that selecting your university is an arduous task, but it is also an extremely rewarding one if you gain admission to your dream university.
So, I would suggest that you should start your search right away, and if you do need any help, then do not shy away from asking people. And remember that Amicus Partners is here to help you find the ideal programme for you.
(Harsh Mahaseth is an LL.M. consultant at Amicus Partners)