Please note that all opinions expressed in this interview are the opinions of the lawyer interviewed. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of their institution or of Legally Engaged.
Please tell us what you are studying and where?
I will be commencing the Oxford BCL, which is the University of Oxford’s Masters in Law programme, in September 2017
What informed your decision to study this course?
The Oxford BCL has an unrivalled reputation in the world – variously described as the most prestigious masters-level course in the common law world. The BCL is characterized by intellectual rigour, outstanding academics, and intensive course content. This was a major motivation for me. I am confident that the BCL is the appropriate platform to further my legal knowledge – one that would enable me to explore various interactions within the law.
I am especially pleased by the distinct style of the BCL – which is highlighted by intensive tutorials, that will enable me participate in wide-ranging and deeply analytical discussions with world-renowned academics at the forefront of their fields. I am further impressed with the exceptional cohort of people on the BCL, which I will have the honour of learning from.
What kind of factors informed your decision to study in the UK?
I completed my undergraduate education in the UK at the University of Surrey, which has been the highlight of my academic journey so far, so it was only natural that I sought to pursue my post-graduate education in the UK.
The UK’s education system is characterized by an intense rigour in thought, and boasts of access to world-class research facilities. This has always been an attraction for me. Alongside benefiting from the academic tradition of some of the world’s best universities, the UK’s education system also provides the opportunity to actively engage with your tutors through lively tutorials, seminars, and discussions, which help to develop your critical thinking and analytical skills.
What kind of factors informed your decision to study at the University of Oxford?
The University of Oxford has always been regarded, as the epitome of academic achievement and scholarly refinement, and it has always been my dream to attend the University of Oxford, so it was only natural when applying for my Masters, that Oxford was at the top of my list. I did also secure admission into the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University College London (UCL), which are also top Universities, but I had built a preference for Oxford from the onset.
Asides from learning from academics that are at the forefront of their fields, I am particularly thrilled to interact with some of the finest minds from across the globe, in an inspiring setting with a long history of world leaders and scholars, which is a privilege in its own right.
What were the requirements and steps involved in applying for your program?
For the Oxford BCL application, you are required to provide three references (preferably academic) to give the assessors a good indication of your academic performance while you were at the university.
You are also required to provide (i) a 3000-word essay on any legal topic, (ii) an official academic transcript from your University, (iii) a personal statement indicating your motivations for wanting to do the programme and how the programme would propel you towards achieving your career goals and (iv) your CV.
What tips can you give us on the program application process?
The competition for any world-class university is naturally fierce- there are so many applicants and very limited spaces, so it is important to make your application stand out, bearing in mind that the selection panel is already inundated by a load of other applications.
While the Oxford BCL places a strong emphasis on academic excellence, which must be evident in your application, extra-curricular activities also play a major role in the application process. Things like leadership positions taken in the past, professional experiences, moots, debates or volunteer work also help to enhance the merit of your application, as the assessors are looking for well-rounded individuals that demonstrate a balanced set of academic and extra-curricular accomplishments.
With the Oxford BCL, I would say it is important to start your application on time because the application is quite lengthy.
It is also important to choose referees that know you well enough, to give the selection panel a clear indication of your academic performance at the undergraduate level.
It is useful to research the course properly so that your interest, knowledge and enthusiasm about the course are evident in your personal statement. The personal statement should also be kept as clear and focused as possible given that the word count is quite limited.
As for the legal essay, the assessors want to know how you write and whether you write at a level that matches the standard of Oxford, so this is an opportunity to make your application stand out by writing an impressive essay and making it worth their while!
Overall, it is vital that your application highlights the fact that you are an outstanding student and that the programme will play a major role in enabling you achieve your career goals.
What do you hope to take away from the course?
I am confident that the knowledge, skills and contacts I will gain on the course will go a long way in contributing to my personal development and professional advancement.
Tunrie Bisi-Afolabi is a Qualified Lawyer with a passion for academic excellence. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Law with First Class honors from the University of Surrey in the UK. In 2016, she was called to the Nigerian Bar. She was later offered a place on the Oxford BCL- the University of Oxford’s Masters in Law programme which commences in September 2017.
She has various law work experience. She is also the founder of www.twentytwocrowns.com- an online platform dedicated to empowering and encouraging University students working towards an academic degree in Law, as well as other university degrees. On her blog, she provides practical tips, advice and lessons for University students, especially law students, on how to excel in their chosen fields of study. Tunrie is passionate about helping young people discover, optimise and fulfill their potential.
Photo credit: University of Oxford