Right, so you’ve nearly done your undergraduate degree! You’ve almost ticked that box, but now you want more! Good work. You should definitely think about extending your academic studies. However, there are quite a lot of things that you need to consider before you take the plunge into postgraduate study.
It’s a big commitment! If you decide to do a postgrad degree for the wrong reasons or without doing enough research, the next big step can end up being a regrettable jump. Never fear though! We’ve detailed the key things that you need to consider below.
First things first, what is your motivation?
Want to boost your knowledge? Want to become a specialist in your subject? Want to improve your job prospects? Want to stay on for an extra year because a lot of your mates are in the year below?!
This bit is really important and it really depends on what you intend to do following the postgraduate course you are currently considering.
For example, if you’re looking to take a particular course to improve your job prospects, you should find out if it actually will do first. You’d be surprised how few people accurately assess this!
You’ve probably got an employer or two in mind that you would eventually like to apply to. Ask them. Drop them an email or give them a call and ask them whether the course will make you a more employable candidate. They will let you know, trust AllAboutCareers!
Where are you going to study? What course are you going to do?
You might not be able re-locate, you might not be able to manage the fees at a certain university, or an employer may have recommended a particular course and institution. Regardless of all this though, the most important thing to consider is that your postgraduate degree is beneficial to your future prospects?
Unfortunately, ladies and gents, there is no shortcut here either; it’s all down to good old fashioned research. What is the study mode? How many contact hours are there? Do the employers that you want to work for attend their careers fairs? Are they covering the modules that you want focus on? If you don’t already know the answers to these questions, it’s time to get back to the drawing board I’m afraid!
Ok, so you’ve found the course, you’re in it for the right reasons and you’re raring to go. Have you got the cash for it though?!
The cost of postgraduate study varies from institution to institution. If your mum and dad can help you out, then congratulations! However, if the bank of mum and dad is refusing to let you withdraw any more cash, you need to consider more options. After all, the student loan company won’t be around to help you out anymore!
Depending on the course you’re looking to take, a bank will back you with a postgraduate degree-specific loan. If not, they have other more commercial options that may be suitable.
Alternatively, you may wish to work for a year to save up, take the course part-time while you’re working in a part-time job, or you might even be able to twist the arm of a current or future employer.
Many companies will now pay for you to study ‘on the side’ or sometimes before you even start your job. Indeed, if you’re accepted onto certain graduate programmes, many employers will now sponsor your studies before you turn up.
Alternatively, you could apply for postgraduate funding from independent organisations which champion academic study or the specific academic institution you are applying to!