Student Profile: Laura Brookes
A Levels: Maths, Physics, English Literature, Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
What do you enjoy most about your course?
I love the academic challenge of the Oxford Law course and the opportunities it gives us to explore new ideas and arguments. We are encouraged to read the primary sources ourselves and then come to our own opinions on what the law is, why it is so and whether it should remain so. It is a great feeling when you can successfully defend your idea on the law against your course mates and your tutor, who is often a well-known and respected figure in the field! We often do not realise how much our daily lives are governed by the law and so it is really interesting to explore the law in detail and discover how deeply it affects our lives and society as a whole. The wide variety of modules offered during the three year course allows us to gain a broad knowledge of the law whilst also allowing us to learn many different skills which will be useful for legal practice after graduation.
How is your subject taught?
Law is heavily focused around independent study, which is great because it means you can structure your week in a way that suits you and your interests. The typical timetable is based around having 3 tutorials every 2 weeks, where each tutorial requires you to complete a reading list and then submit an essay or a response to a problem question. The Law Faculty also puts on a range of lectures each term for you to attend if they match up with what you are studying at the time or if they spark your interest. The relatively little amount of fixed contact time means that you are free to structure your work week in a way that suits you best, meaning there is plenty of time to pursue extracurricular interests!
How did you prepare for your interview?
The main way in which I prepared for my interview was by reading lots and lots of really varied material; it is the best way to practice engaging with a wide range of new ideas and arguments, which is just what you need to be able to do in the interview. The main thing is just to read things that spark your interest and that, whilst you are reading, you are thinking critically about the arguments made and about any counter-arguments you might raise in response. I mainly read The Economist and a variety of broadsheet newspapers, but I also watched a lot of TED talks which are great for introducing a wide range of new ideas and opinions. It is also helpful to talk about your ideas with someone else, whether that’s a parent, a teacher or even a pet; you need to be able to vocalise your arguments and be able to convince another person to agree with you, both of which get easier the more you practice them out loud!
What advice do you have for prospective students interested in studying your subject?
My main piece of advice to prospective students would be to make sure that you have a passion for learning about the law. The best way to nurture this passion is to read about the law and find areas of the subject which excite you! I started with introductory law books; there are loads of books especially written for sixth form students thinking about studying law at university which provide a really great, broad introduction to all the central areas of law. From there, I found some more specific areas of law that really interested me and which made me want to find out more; I then spent some time reading some more specialised books which really helped me to realise that I was interested in law (whilst also giving me lots of great material to put into my personal statement!).
What do you like the most about being an orielensis?
The best thing about being an Orielensis is definitely the great rowing club! I joined the college as a complete rowing novice and I have loved learning to row as part of the Oriel Boat Club. It is great to be a part of such a supportive boat club and the opportunities for novices in terms of coaches and equipment are brilliant. Taking part in Summer Eights this year was a particular highlight; rowing past the Boathouse to the sound of the famous ‘Oriel’ chant was such a good experience.