Deciding to apply for the GDL is a biggie. You’ll be investing a lot of time and money, which makes the time you apply pretty important.
Applying for the GDL after your undergraduate degree
The GDL is a postgraduate course. This means you will only be eligible to take it when you have completed your undergraduate degree.
If you’re still studying for your undergraduate course and would like to move straight onto the GDL following graduation, you should start conducting your course and provider research during your final year of university.
Choosing the best type of GDL for you
University law departments and UK law schools offer the GDL in different study modes: full-time, part-time and distance learning. The type of course you choose may affect when you will need to apply for the GDL.
Full-time GDL courses tend to begin in either September or January in the academic year.
Part-time and distance learning courses can begin at different points of year, depending on the provider. A distance learning GDL, for example, might have a compulsory induction course for its new intake in August before term and official study begins.
The GDL application process
Those applying who choose to apply for a full-time GDL course at an institution in England or Wales will have to submit an online application via the Central Applications Board (CAB).
The process is similar to that of UCAS, in that it lists all validated GDL and LPC providers in England and Wales and acts as a hub for your applications to any of these institutions.
There are no deadlines as such for the GDL via the CAB. The CAB states that it reviews applications on a weekly basis, and applications will be reviewed up until a few weeks before a course is due to begin.
For example, application views for a course set to start in September 2013 (the beginning of the academic year) will run into the summer of 2013.
Any part-time or distance learning course applications are handled by the provider themselves.
You can visit your prospective providers’ websites to find out their specific application deadlines for your chosen year.
The GDL is a very popular course; the sooner you can submit your application, the better!
Things to consider when applying for a GDL
It’s essential to be financially secure enough to take on the GDL. Do you have a reliable source to fund your tuition fees? And will you be able to cover your living costs for the year as well?
If either of these things are doubtful, it’s probably wise not to head into the course straight away. The added stress of money worries could be detrimental to your performance on the course, or even prevent you from studying altogether.
A note for international students and mature students: Prospective students with degrees from outside England and Wales will have to apply for a certificate of academic standing from the Solicitors Regulation Board (SRA) or the Bar Standards Board before they can apply for the GDL.
UK students who were awarded their degree over seven years ago and mature students with relevant vocational experience but no degree will also have to apply for one.