College of Law vs Kaplan vs BPP: law schools vie for top spot

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  • It's astonishing that BPP is trying to become the biggest provider of legal education considering it's absolutely hopeless.

    I studied one module with them and throughout the application process I made it abundantly clear that was all I was studying. Yet when it came to sending me an invoice it was for the full cost of the GDL and it took numerous phone calls and emails to even begin the process of rectifying that, even then it took them three tries to get it right. I wanted nothing to do with them ever again and I hadn't even started the course.

    I just hope the wheels fall off the BPP brand, although how they ever got there in the first place is beyond me.

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  • Baby Farks...the admin side of BPP is very poor, but the teaching is excellent

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  • I'm afraid I don't fully agree Anonymous 1. My experience of BPP over two years has been that they have a number of excellent tutors, but also many very poor ones (especially on the GDL). The lecturers are generally pretty good.
    The problem all these tutors and all students face, to my mind, is that BPP have created a method of teaching and assessment based heavily on rote learning of their own manuals/solutions. Lessons are rigidly structured and assessments are through repetition of in-lesson exercises. No credit is given for independent thinking or wider knowledge, even in academic contexts. The idea seems to be to make it all idiot proof, and perhaps more people pass as a result, but it is likely to significantly diminish a person's independent learning skills over time, and increase their cynical sense that it's all a game, not an education.
    I don't hope they fail now they've used these methods to grow so fast. I hope they transform what they are offering from mechanical to meaningful in a hurry. Right now, students are glad to have passed but few would say they have gained much of the 'value added' they could have done in another context, even if taught by one of the truly excellent teachers.

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  • 'BPP have created a method of teaching and assessment based heavily on rote learning of their own manuals/solutions. Lessons are rigidly structured and assessments are through repetition of in-lesson exercises. No credit is given for independent thinking or wider knowledge, even in academic contexts.'

    Strangely, that was more-or-less the same criticism I had of the College of Law's LPC...

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  • I found the focus on practice a breath of fresh air at the College of Law.

    The open book exams meant that I had to learn how to do things. It was great to do more than merely memorise loads of materials just to regurgitate it in the exam. As a commercial litigator in practice I didn't do any company law at all. Then a client needed me to run some company meetings and it all came flooding back with ease. Remarkable.

    In contrast, much of the material that I learned for closed book exams at uni went in for the exam and is now lost in the mists of time.

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  • Frankly, the standard of education from all these private providers are poor.
    The solution is the scrap them altogether, and offer a professional law degree within universities (similar to most other countries), followed by bar exams, and then on-the-job training.

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  • Definitely, universities law degree is always better but as for me, I have no choice to go to King's, for example, as I need GDL and have to join one of the private providers London offers. Extremely difficult choice as I see that quality and conveyor teaching may be disappointing. The City Law School may stand a bit separated, are you agree? still hesitating

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  • I can only speak from experience of BPP as I chose to complete the LPC there even despite not loving their 'rote learning' teaching methods in the GDL. I was in fact pleasantly surprised, I wonder whether your criticism about regurgitating material could have been because of the format of the GDL in my mind is literally about how well you can memorise material. To learn the law in 18 weeks, you need to have a good recall! The experience improves with the LPC as at least the exams are more practical and relevant to an actual career in law. Although some still criticise this course for being mundane.

    I do agree with the comments about tutors, yet wherever you learn, there are always going to be some shining stars, and others who you feel you're left to your own devices and struggle.

    However I resent some of the above comments. Spoon feeding only works if you're prepared to put in the hours. I would disagree with comments that BPP love handing out passes, I know many people who failed a few modules, or sturggled to get top marks. Perhaps the reason a lot of people pass is because the majority are very smart people, the kind of hard workers who you would expect to do well. The rest of us work our socks off, and achieve unimpressive results, but nevertheless made it through what is in all fairness a very intense course, wherever you take it. The regulatory bodies have - and rightly so - ensured that wherever you go you should expect much the same quality of education. And as an individual only ever (thank goodness) complete the course once, no one will ever really get a good idea of the real differences between providers after buildings, and snazzy advertising.

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  • Given that budding solicitors are (usually) wholly concerned with securing a training contract, then surely it works in their favour that BPP offers a focused, albeit narrow course where they are more likely to score high marks and could impress an employer, particularly as both institutions are equally reputable. When it comes to real legal practice though, does the academic and seemingly more rigorous outlook at CoL outweigh this advantage?

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  • I'll take your college of Law and raise you Westminster. Excellent establishment.

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