With 2020 just around the corner you may be looking at the option of taking an LLM abroad. I thought it could be helpful write down some quick tips to keep in mind before you apply.
Here goes …!
- Choose the right moment
Studying abroad can open many doors for those who want to work internationally. In some cases, it may lead to you making a move abroad and eventually getting qualified locally (e.g. through taking the New York Bar or QLTS in the UK). In other cases, it may simply help to develop the skills to work with foreign clients in Brazil. But, leaving Brazil to study abroad can also be really challenging if not carefully planned. Therefore make sure it is the right moment to pursue this option and that you have the required time and headspace to proceed.
- Start early
Building a strong application can take time. If possible, I recommend starting the application process about a year before the course commencement date. In addition to re-arranging you life, you will need to fill in application forms, prepare your CV, essays or personal statements. You will also need to get references and university transcripts, which can be tricky and time consuming. The very first thing to do is check the application deadlines for each course and aim to submit your application well before such deadline.
Before you start your application, you will need to choose your preferred courses. This should involve online research to find out about programs that best meet your personal and career goals. You should also get tips from people you trust in your chosen legal field and try find out more about the educational and personal requirements. Do not choose a university purely based on brand! Most importantly, give yourself a enough ‘back-up’ options, preferably across different countries and regions.
- Design your CV
For your CV, there is no standard format, font, margin widths, or length. This is an opportunity to get creative while ensuring your document is well structured, tidy, and free of any typos or errors. The CV must focus on academic achievements (e.g. published articles, class ranking, awards and distinctions) and any substantial work experience. Things like extra-curricular activities, interesting hobbies and languages are there to set you apart from other candidates. Your CV is a good place to start brainstorming and creating content which you will expand upon in your personal statement / essay. Try to stay within two pages.
Note, also make sure you know your online / social media image since anyone can find your online profiles.
- Write your story
In your personal statement / essay, you will need to demonstarte your accomplishments, motivation and future plans, individual strengths, leadership and decision-maker qualities, as well as your life experiences. Your story really needs to be sincere and perhaps this makes it the most difficult part of your application. You should carefully connect your past achievements to your future plans using a coherent narrative.
- The right reference
Try to choose referees who know you and who are able to provide a clear picture about you. It often makes sense to choose someone you have worked with closely over someone who is more high profile but does not really know you. It will show when someone cannot write in detail about you. It is also a good idea to meet before seeking a reference from them. If possible, talk them through what you need, remind them of your accomplishments and goals. Maybe even provide them with a bullet list of the points you would like them to mention.
I hope the above information was useful and welcome any additions or comments. Happy to arrange an online chat with anyone considering their options in studying abroad!
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