Don’t choose a master’s before taking these four steps
Most of the time I’m glad I decided to do a master’s, but there are some things I wish I’d given more thought – here are my top tips.
In the final term of university, with stress levels peaking, caffeine consumption reaching an all time high you need to decide whether you want to embark on a master’s or not. And, despite the relative stress, many will apply to stay at uni after the summer in a range of postgraduate courses.
I making that decision after graduating, opting for a year-long MA degree instead of joining the ranks of unemployed graduates. There are parts I wish I’d given more thought. Here’s what you need to consider before applying.
Don’t rush into it
First, decide if you should go into your course straight away or have a break from studying. Doing a course you may not enjoy for the sake of not leaving education can be a very expensive and inconvenient mistake, especially if you end up dropping out.
Part of the decision to stay at uni was based on the chance to spend an extra year figuring out what to do after education, and while this is no bad thing, make sure it’s not the only reason you’re opting to do your course.
Consider your mode of study
Completing studies more quickly and not having to focus on too much at once was the main reasons I chose to do the course full-time, but many students opt for part-time study as a way to balance work, study and other commitments. Part-time study can give you the option to spread the cost of your degree out and have more time to engage with your subject but be warned that it can also give a different experience of study to your full-time peers.
Be ready for a challenge
Thinking it would be slightly more difficult than the final year of a BA was a huge mistake . Don’t assume that your postgraduate experience will be a natural extension of your undergraduate course: it requires more self-motivation and will likely be more difficult as well, even if there are fewer contact hours.
Think carefully about whether you’re really interested enough to devote an extra year (or more) to exploring your subject at a more difficult and more detailed level than you have previously.
Weigh up the rewards
Be honest about what you could gain – like skills, knowledge and employability – but also what you could lose, like money, time and the summer you’ll spend writing up your dissertation.
Know that whatever course you choose you will be challenged more than you have before, but if the professional or personal gains seem worth it, postgraduate study can open-up your career options, surround you with interesting and like-minded people and truly show you what you’re capable of.