Seeking Academic Support
by Tiffany P. Monorom
Moving to a new country is a huge step for every international student and it can take you several attempts to successfully adjust to Australian tertiary studies.
With a large workload, heavily structured materials, and the competitive nature of law school, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed.
Whether you feel like you are struggling or you just need additional help to achieve your desired results, the ANU offers a wide range of academic support both within the College of Law and within the university.
ANU College of Law
Your course convenor should be your first point of contact if you have any issues with your courses. You can find out who your course convenor is by simply going into your course Wattle page. Send them an email or make a post in the course forum for questions relating to the content of the course, the assessments or extensions.
You can contact the ANU College of Law Sub-Dean, Anne Macduff if you have concerns regarding the program and course structure of your degree, or if you want to request for special examinations and appeals. To make an appointment with the Sub-Dean, call the college front desk at 02 6125 3483. If you have a direct question, email email@example.com.
Those of you who are international students with a language background other than English may be eligible to apply for special assessment arrangements within your first year. For law students specifically, you can enrol in LAWS4209 English in a Legal Context course on top of your other courses. There are no assessments for this course, it is simply there to help you learn how to read cases, write legal documents, and prepare for tutorial problems. Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a mark of CRS (course requirements satisfied). Plus, you may apply for final exam special arrangements for your other courses, providing you with additional 30 per cent reading and writing time.
Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) program aims to assist first-year students with their law studies by helping them learn and practice the foundational legal skills that are essential for the rest of their degree. Weekly study sessions are facilitated by experienced later year law students, allowing them to build relationships with fellow law students.
Come and Have a Talk (CHAT) is a mentoring program that teams first years up in groups with other first year students, later year student mentors and a staff member. Social gatherings and discussion sessions will take place within the enrolled group to provide support, resources and advice during your time as a law student.
ANU Law Library
If you want to save some extra cash and not purchase textbooks, the law library offers a two-hour loan and/or two-day loan for most law textbooks. However, there is a way for you to borrow the textbooks for more than two hours. On weekdays from Monday to Thursday, if a textbook is borrowed after 7pm, it can be returned the next morning when the library opens at 8:30am. If you borrow a textbook after 3pm on Friday, you can return it on Saturday afternoon at 1pm. You can also have access to a textbook after 3pm on Saturday and return it at 8:30am on Monday.
You can take advantage of other library services if you require further assistance on finding legal materials and using databases. Law library staff conducts classes for specific legal databases for all first and second year law students. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask our friendly staff at the library information desk.
Law Students’ Society (LSS)
The 2017 LSS Vice-President (Education), Eden Lim sits on the ANU College of Law Education Committee as well as the LLB and JD committee. She has the capacity to assist law students with general academic enquiries and other policy-based issues. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Education team runs the pre-exam tutorials which are intensive 90 minute tutorials for compulsory courses, focusing on providing you with a skilled guide to approaching the final exams. The tutorials are conducted by students who received impressive scores on their final exams for the respective courses, and those with tutoring experience. Watch out for these sessions on the LSS Facebook page.
I, Tiffany Monorom, am the 2017 LSS International Students Director. My duty is to promote the interests of international students by developing useful resources and organise social and educational events. If you have any academic concerns during your studies at the college, I will be able to direct you to the most relevant services and resources. Email me at email@example.com. You can also read my article on choosing between a single law degree and combined law degree here and my international student guide here.
The International Students team is in the process of organising the International Student Mentoring Program which focuses on helping international students to successfully transition to law school. To become a mentor or a mentee, you can complete this application form. Plus, there will be bLAWgs being posted onto our LSS website, consisting of a range of topics from academic supports to employment and mental health.
Academic Skills and Learning Centre
The academic skills and learning centre consists of experienced advisors who are able to help students with their academic skills and other learning strategies. Individual appointments, drop-in sessions, workshops and self-help resources such as the Turnitin Practice site are available services from the centre for students in all year levels. Find out more at: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/contacts/academic-skills-learning-centre.
No matter how tough a law degree can be, don’t sweat it! There are plenty of resources and services available both within the law school and the university to help you throughout your degree, so take advantage of them.
Good luck and take it easy!