What to consider when applying for a Postgrad course

I am currently making applications to masters courses in the UK. After a while of working 9-5 office jobs I have come to realise that my passion definitely lies in the ability to research and write about topics that interest me.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about embarking on a masters course:

Funding

In my opinion, funding is one of the most crucial things about deciding to do a masters or other postgrad course.

These are a few of the ways that I have considered funding myself through a postgrad course:

  • Government Student Loan

In the UK there is a new postgraduate student loan scheme. Although it’s definitely best to read up on the government website yourself and check eligibility at the time of writing it is possible to get up to £10,000 to cover your accommodation/course fees.

  • Private Student Loan

There are a lot of loans that you can get from banks that seem quite handy if you want to study a postgrad course that isn’t covered by the government scheme.

  • Scholarships

I am hoping that I can get some form of scholarship/funding from the universities that I apply to. Make sure to take a look at the scholarships and bursaries available when you look to apply for a postgrad course. They seem to range in value and can be based usually on merit or need.

Note: apply early if you want a scholarship/bursary as applications do seem to close early on!

  • Gap Year(s)/Part-time

If the above doesn’t help it might be a good idea to consider taking a gap year to earn some money that you can put towards your postgrad course. I think that time out also helps you to know what your interests are.

Alternatively, a lot of universities offer the chance to study part-time which means that you can supplement the cost of the course with the money that you earn through a job outside of your studies.

Location

Location has influenced my decision about where to apply.

One main reason I have had to consider location carefully is because location can impact on the price of tuition and living expenses. For example, living expenses in London are drastically different to living expenses in Leeds.

Another reason to think about location is because it is important to consider where you want to spend a year of your life. Do you want to stay in your university town? Do you want to move back home? Do you want to be near friends/partners?

Application Process

The application process can be long depending on your chosen course/university so be prepared!

I have found that the vast majority of applications require:

  • Proof of your previous attainment (exam certificates and transcripts)
  • References (usually academic if you have recently left education)
  • Personal statement (what are your motivations? how does the course link to your research or professional interests? what skills do you have?)
  • An application fee…

Your Ambitions

I believe that it is a good idea to choose a postgraduate course that aligns with your ambitions be that academic or professional. A postgraduate course should be a choice that allows you to choose a specific topic that you want to learn more about and to open up more opportunities for yourself.

Please let me know your thoughts!

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