When I was doing my BSc I knew I wanted to leave university at the end of the 3 years and get a ‘proper job’ (whatever one of those is). At the same time, I also knew that I wanted to go back to do my masters degree eventually. Ideally once I had more experience in an industry I was really interested in and doing something that would help me progress my career. Then just over a year ago, I decided that it was the right time for that challenge. I started trawling through the internet looking at the post-grad section on UCAS and different university websites trying to work out what I wanted to study and where. I finally made my decision, applied and now I am going into my third term. You can read all about how I was feeling just before I started the course here. This post is all about sharing the important things to consider during the application process.
Choosing the right course
It’s really important to pick something that you are interested in, something that will keep your attention and you won’t get bored of. The course itself can be a lot of work and requires quite a lot of effort. So, if you’re not interested things just get all sorts of complicated.
Fees & funding
Another thing to consider is the cost and how you are going to fund it. The prices for masters courses are definitely not cheap. The prices vary across the country, as does the funding. For example, in Wales I wasn’t eligible for funding, however if I lived England I would have been. Some companies offer sponsorships, you may be able to get a scholarship, or you may be self-funded. Either way you need to know where the money is going to come from before applying (they normally ask on the application).
Format & timing
I chose to do my course part time distance learning. This was mainly because I work full time and there were no other universities in the country that offered the course I wanted to do. I am lucky in that my course gives me a lot of freedom to pick and choose where I take the degree and what I get out of it. There are lots of options to consider though. Whether you do it full time or part time. Whether you attend university in the day or just at night or distance learning from the comfort of your own home. Along with subject area you will also need to consider whether you want to do a taught or research degree.
You may be better at making decisions than me, but it took me ages to narrow down my choices; let alone pick exactly what I was going to apply for. That being said, I applied for more than one course because I couldn’t decide. Although you may run into the issue of being accepted for both and then still struggling to pick.
This is normally the main form of application for a taught masters. It’s your one opportunity to sell yourself and all the amazing things you have done. Of course you don’t want to brag, but at the same time you want to show what sets you apart from the other hundreds of people applying. It’s a great opportunity to talk about what you studied at university, whether you have experience working in an industry and what you have learnt. What your interests are outside of uni or work. As well as talking about why you want to actually do the course and what you hope to get out of it. The personal statement can take quite a bit of time to get right, so don’t leave it to the last minute. Rope in family, friends and colleagues to read over it to make sure it’s just right and that you are 100% happy with it before you submit.
Timing is really important; I cannot recommend enough that you start the process early. Applications can open in December/January time and close in the spring ready to start in October. You also don’t want to leave your personal statement or application to the last minute or be rushed into making a choice on a course that you may not be settled on. I set aside some evenings and a few weekends to sit and read through all the information available on courses and to prepare my application before I submitted it and it made the process so much easier for me.
Although this post may not be applicable to all of my readers, I still thought it may help some people. I turned to other blogs at the start of my application just the get some advice and guidance on the process and I found it really helpful. If you have any questions at all you can leave them in the comments below or feel free to email me and I will try my best to help.