BPTC Providers, Application & Costs
Now you know what the Bar Professional Training Course is about, we’re going to look at actually getting onto it.
This isn’t an easy task; there are only 1800 places available every year so you need to put lots of effort into the whole application process.
You’re not guaranteed a pupillage if you pass either so it’s could be a financial risk if you don’t obtain employment soon after the course. But before we put you off completely let’s look at some of the key BPTC facts.
BPTC providers & fees
The institutions which provide the course are known as Bar Schools. They are a mixture of colleges and universities located throughout the United Kingdom.
- BPP Law School (London & Leeds) – £16,885 London / £13,785 Leeds
- The College of Law (London & Birmingham) – £16,485 London / £12,435 Birmingham
- Kaplan Law – £15,800
- Cardiff University – £12,180
- Nottingham Trent University – £11,850
- University of the West of England – £12,500
- City Law School – £16,500
- Manchester Metropolitan University – £11,850
- Northumbria University – £12,345
Please note that course fees may change yearly. Consult the course providers to be sure of the current fees.
An initial application should be made to www.barprofessionaltraining.org.uk. In the application you will be asked a series of general questions (like contact details), asked to list your qualifications & academics and need to answer a series of questions. The questions will ask you to describe relevant work experience, the reasons you want to be a barrister and a series of competency based questions.
These will ask you to describe a time you have displayed the key skills needed to be a barrister – so they focus heavily on communication, advocacy and quick thinking.
There is also a section on the application for references. A good reference can work wonders for your chances of being accepted onto the course. Try and get a reference from a tutor, senior lecturer or a barrister you did your pupillage with. You need to supply two references in total; make sure they’re recent and relevant – not from your mum (even if she’s a barrister)!
You will also need to state which one of the Inns of Court you have joined. It’s a good idea to do this before the application but not completely necessary. However, you must join an Inn before the start of the BPTC. There is a £40 application fee payable to the Bar Standards Board (BSB).
Although the initial application is made to the BSB, it is the institution you applied to who make the final decision about whether you’re accepted onto the course.
The course providers usually set the entry requirements. This will usually be a 2:2 degree but sometimes may be a 2:1. For international students a score of at least 7.5 is needed on the IELTS. Ideally a prospective barrister should have a 2:1 and good A level grades in order to have any chance of obtaining a pupillage. We don’t want to stop you applying if you don’t have a 2:1 but it will be VERY hard.
Last year there were only 19 pupil barristers who achieved less than a 2:1. Even if you have these grades you’re not guarenteed a place on the course. For example the following is the College of Law selection criteria:
- Academic profile and achievement
- Oral and written communication skills
- Demonstrated commitment to a career as a barrister
- Demonstrated commitment to studying with The College of Law
- Any special circumstances revealed in your application
- Academic or other references
So make sure you submit a great overall application. Spelling should obviously be perfect and your answers should be persuasive and provide some sort of coherent argument for your premise. In the future the BSB may be introducing aptitude tests. Watch this space.
The following information is taken from the BSB website:
- November – The system opens for applicants for September and January the following year is usually the closing date for the first round of applications.
- February – System reopens for new applications into the clearing round.
- March – Offers start to be released from first round applications.
- April – Acceptance deadline for first round offers.
The dates should generally be the same each year but consult the BSB website for current deadlines.