Congratulations on choosing to study law at Surrey and on becoming part of the vibrant learning, teaching and social community that is the School of Law.
We look forward to welcoming you in-person soon but in the meantime offer the following tips in preparation for your time with us. Preparing effectively will put you in the best position to succeed in your studies and your success (however you choose to define it) is our overriding aspiration.
What we recommend
Even before you arrive on Campus, you are already part of the School of Law. We pride ourselves on being a welcoming, accessible, relaxed, and caring community of staff and students. Whichever of our programmes/pathways you have chosen, the number one recommendation for success in your studies is early and sustained engagement with both the academic and social aspects of the School. This includes engagement with the overall subject of your studies: the law. The tips below are offered to help you maximise the early opportunities for achieving this.
1. Adopt an active and enquiring mindset
Recognise at this stage that success involves an active partnership between staff and students and seek out opportunities to optimise your part in that partnership. Degree level learning requires students to take responsibility for their studies and advance preparation is part of this. This having been said, we will give you all the teaching and direction that you need once you arrive – for now this advice is about putting yourself in the best position to embrace that opportunity when it arises.
2. Engage with University/School resources
Before you arrive (shortly after the University registers you as a student), you will be sent various account and log in details. As soon as you receive them engage with opportunities offered including the following:
- University email account: Important information will be sent to you on this account – you should get into the habit of checking at least once a day
- Surreylearn: this is the University’s virtual learning environment. This is where many of your teaching materials will eventually be found. While there will not be much there initially, do take time to have a look around and familiarise yourself with the structure and format of the environment
- Library: Take a tour of the Library and locate the Subject Resources section for law to find the various research resources/databases that are available to you
- Social media – follow us on Facebook, Twitter but in particular on Instagram.
3. Consider some advance reading to help contextualise your studies
This could be a guide for the study of law (such as The Successful Law Student ’An Insider’s Guide to Studying Law’, by Imogen Moore and Craig Newbury Jones, (OUP); or a guide for the skills that law students will require (such as Legal Skills, by Emily Finch (A member of School staff) and Stefan Fafinski (OUP)); or a guide that introduces the law and its component parts (such as What About Law? Studying Law at University, by Catherine Barnard, Janet O'Sullivan, and G J Virgo (Bloomsbury)); or a legal autobiography (such as Spider Woman – A Life by Lady Hale [former President of the UK Supreme Court] (Vintage)) Alongside this you should be watching and reading the news via good quality media outlets and seeking to identify the myriad ways in which the law is present in many of the items reported.
4. Make arrangements to attend Welcome Week
Welcome Week is no longer the social whirl that was once referred to as ‘Freshers’ Week’. While social opportunities still present themselves, the modern Welcome Week is now the formal introduction to University life. In particular, it provides a schedule of events during which the School and University will communicate key information that will be of use throughout your studies. It is the first opportunity for staff and students to engage in person and to foster that sense of community that we pride ourselves upon. As well as meeting staff, it is also the first chance to meet fellow students. It is not an exaggeration to say that long-term relationships will be made at this time. Attendance at Welcome Week is the simplest and most effective way to engage and make a successful start to your degree.
5. Don’t overdo it!
There will be plenty of time for sustained effort over the course of your degree. As well as considering these tips you should enjoy the time and space that you might currently have before you start. There will be times when you will be required to work hard and times when you will feel under some ‘healthy’ pressure to get things done, however, you should never feel overwhelmed, and now is certainly not the time for this. Now is as much about thinking (contemplation) as doing. Specifically, it is about expectation, optimism, and excitement for what the future holds.
We look forward to meeting you and your fellow undergraduate students very soon.