When we get to the end of our studies, many of us are at a loss as to the next steps in our careers and our lives. At this stage, it can be tempting to apply for a post-graduate degree.
After all, more time spent at college seems like fun!
But it is vital to go into post-graduate study for the right reasons. It is important to make measured decisions and not act on impulse or whim. At the end of the day, you will be investing a lot of time and—more importantly—money in the program. And some may question if a college degree is worth the effort.
Read on for useful tips to bear in mind when contemplating to apply for post-graduate study.
Don’t rush into it
First of all, you should think about whether heading straight back into studying is the right option for you. Maybe you should take a year out to relax and earn some cash before embarking on your next challenge.
Contrary to what you might think, many employers look favorably upon those who have removed themselves from their comfort zone to work and travel abroad. It demonstrates a certain quality of independence most employers will value.
Also, don’t simply go into post-graduate study because you want to stall your entrance into the ‘real world’. You should think carefully about whether the course you intend to enrol in is going to help you with your career down the line.
Rather than undertake a post-graduate degree because you’re unsure of the next step to take, you should ask yourself: will it be worth my time and money? Where will this course get me?
On that note, if you haven’t already, make some goals and objectives.
What are your goals with a post-graduate degree?
Before making any major life decision, it is always a good idea to set out some targets and goals.
In this case, some questions to get you started could include: what are you trying to achieve from your move into post-graduate study? What do you hope to get out of it? How will this course further your career ambitions—if at all?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to consider why you are thinking about a post-graduate degree. You should also reflect on whether you could achieve your career goals via other means.
Of course, some professions require a master’s degree or higher level of academic qualification. But others—such as journalism, business, finance and marketing—offer industry-standard qualifications at a fraction of the cost of a post-graduate degree. For this reason, think about how you can get better value for money.
Earn while you learn
Making money while studying is, for most of us, the only feasible way to fund a post-graduate degree. Therefore, it is crucial to consider if your chosen mode of study is compatible with part-time work. If not, you may struggle financially, making your degree more stressful than it needs to be.
Many post-graduate degrees offer the option of part-time study. Opting for this route will ensure you get the most out of your degree without compromising your ability to make ends meet.
Why not take a job in a café, bar or restaurant? Hospitality work can be a fun way to make new friends. You could even meet influential figures who might help you out.
Weigh up the rewards of a post-graduate degree
Think about what this course is going to do for you.
Will it help you obtain skills in employability? Or do you already possess those skills? Is the cost of the degree going to be outweighed by potential future earnings? Will you be able to pay back your loans?
All the above questions are vital when you consider a post-graduate degree. Think about their answers sensibly to avoid disappointment or a difficult financial situation later on.
Remember: be realistic about what post-graduate study is; it’s not a golden ticket to employment!
Be ready for a challenge
After you have deliberated on all of the above, if you still think a post-graduate degree is right for you, be ready to embrace a challenge.
Post-graduate study is much harder than undergraduate.
You will be expected to do more reading and researching than ever before. If you think this workload will be too tough, perhaps post-graduate study is not for you.
Think carefully about whether you are willing to devote a whole new year of your life to intense study. Post-grads are expected to explore their subjects in comprehensive depth and detail. Be prepared for this and bring your A game!
So, before you fill out that application form, consider the above tips to ensure you make an informed decision.