Student guest post by Melisande Shannon – One way or another… (postgraduate study)

As a 3rd year student with graduation looming in less than 6 months, postgraduate study is at the front of my mind. The prospect of leaving university life along with further demand for higher qualifications has left me questioning the possibility of doing a masters degree. But is it for everyone?

Firstly, it is important to consider whether it is necessary for you to stay in education. Does your career path ask for a further degree qualification? It is worth looking up what employers in your desired field are asking for with regards to entry requirements. It can be expensive and the extra year puts life in employment off for longer… after three years of student budgeting, we all want to start earning!

However, if job specifications are mentioning their preference for a postgraduate degree then you should go for it. Competition in the job market is forever increasing and we should take the opportunity to gain a competitive edge over other applicants. With students with degrees becoming not so rare, graduate school is the new ‘to-do’ if you want to widen job opportunities and invest in your future.

Perhaps your current degree doesn’t seem the obvious choice for the career path you want to follow. I am a History and Philosophy of Art student and I wish to pursue a career in journalism. My degree has provided me with unlimited writing skills, research skills and knowledge. These transferable skills are invaluable yet I lack a basic grounding surrounding the world of journalism. This change in career direction means it is essential for me to do further study.

Do you like learning? This may seem a strange question but you have to be comfortable in and enjoy education. Although you may have completed your undergraduate degree, like many others it could have been a struggle. Therefore, in choosing to do postgraduate study you should consider your own motivation. Often these courses are a lot less guided and the demands are higher. You don’t want to spent a year bored or uninspired.

If you do decide that it is for you then it’s time to be positive and look forward to a few things:

  • Enhanced employability and career options
  • Potentially better pay
  • Greater intelligence surrounding your subject
  • Become more qualified
  • Widen work experience and networking

But do be careful and consider if these benefits are enough to justify the time and cost. Now that I have made the decision, I have began to research funding, courses, benefits and everything surrounding postgraduate study to ensure I have the best possible experience and only benefit from this.

Don’t be scared off by the negatives. There is plenty of advice and information out there to make it an easy transition. Here are some useful events worth considering which may help you make your decision:

Some may seem a little far to travel from Canterbury so do not forget to look at individual institution’s postgraduate events.

Melisande Shannon – HPA Student

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