5 tips on applying for Postgraduate degrees

Laycie Beckon 12 January 2021
5 tips on applying for Postgraduate degrees

If you’re looking for master’s application advice, then look no further. These tips will help you nail that personal statement and secure that dream place.

After finishing your undergraduate degree, you may find yourself wondering what to do next. With a world of opportunities out there it’s a rare chance to assess your options.

Many people will take the plunge into the working world to start their professional career, whereas others might consider taking a gap year to unwind and decide where their degree will take them.

However, a lot of graduates will be looking to continue their education by applying for a postgraduate degree, either to expand their knowledge of their current field, or to broaden their horizons by learning an entirely new subject. In the current climate, with a worldwide recession looming, postgraduate study presents a great opportunity to upskill and give yourself a real edge in the job market.

If you’re considering a master’s degree this year, then here are our top five tips to remember when applying.

1. Don’t rush to choose a course

When choosing your next degree it is important to take your time. Use the time you have now to get a better understanding of what you want. As well as being the perfect opportunity to choose a course that suits your needs, this is also a great time to research some institutions.

If you already know what field you want to study, compare the course rating of your subject at different universities. While many students prefer to continue their studies at their current university, others choose to study at a new university altogether.

If you’ll be studying in the UK, the Student Hut university rankings will give you a good idea of what different institutions have to offer.

2. Attend an Open Day

Although attending a university Open Day in person might be difficult at the moment, most universities are now offering virtual alternatives.

Open Days allow prospective students the opportunity to speak to members of staff and former or current students about the course and institution you’re interested in.

Be sure to prepare some questions in advance to ensure you get the most out of your Open Day. Useful topics to ask about might include the modules or assessments that your course covers.

3. Have a back-up plan

Although you’ll only be studying one course, you can still apply for multiple programmes to give yourself more options. However, each application could take up a lot of time and effort, so we recommend that you apply for no more than five.

To hedge your bets, you can also repurpose your course-specific applications and send these out to any other institutions you are considering.

4. Apply in advance

Once you know which courses you want to apply for, you’ll need to start carefully planning your application.

Each course you apply for may require different things, such as a unique personal statement, or references from former tutors. You may even need to submit a piece of work to demonstrate your skills. 

It may take a while to receive references so contact your referees well ahead of your application deadline.

5. Triple-check your personal statement

Each personal statement should be specifically tailored to the course and university you’re applying for. Some courses may set a word or character limit, but 500 words are generally seen as the acceptable length. 

A personal statement is really important as it allows you to distinguish your application from the others. It is your chance to show off and explain why you think you’d be a good fit for that course.

A key thing to remember is not to be wasteful with your word count. Only talk about points relevant to that specific course and institution.

For more advice on writing a personal statement, check out these motivational tips.

What’s your advice for students considering a master’s degree? Join our panel today and let us know; you’ll receive a free £10 Amazon voucher when you sign up.

Laycie Beckon 12 January 2021