What shall I do next? A regular question asked from students undertaking an undergrad degree.
It’s unlikely that in the last three years or so you’ve paused the partying to think about the next stage of your life seriously.
As with all major life decisions, there are pros and cons to consider. With further study comes even more fees. However, in a saturated jobs market, additional qualifications could be essential to even land a job in the first place. Ultimately, the best thing to start with is to do some research about what is best for you. So, in this article, we’ll try to make your life a little bit easier and will list the top reasons why you should choose to study a postgraduate degree course.
University research has found that there are more graduates choosing to study postgraduate than ever, which means that there are more rival candidates for you to outshine on your job application and in your interview.
Currently, the jobs market is an extremely competitive environment. It’s better to stay on in higher education so that you can develop your skills and even specialise in a particular area — around 9 per cent of students said that they studied postgraduate to meet the requirements of a current job. With rising expectations, employers can favour candidates who have committed to further study as it shows that they are willing to improve their skillset and are worth investing in.
According to research, the top paying salaries are the ones linked to postgraduate STEM courses. Architecture, medicine, veterinary science, maths, computer science and engineering related careers started at around £31,000 a year. Of course, these subjects can be quite specialist and might not be accessible to everyone for a number of reasons. However, BBC recently reported that on average, postgraduates earn £6,000 more a year than graduates. Even if you don’t start on a higher salary initially, it makes it more likely that in the long run you could be exposed to more opportunities and responsibilities leading to a pay rise.
In 2008, the average young graduate earned a yearly salary of £24,000. Ideally, this should’ve risen to £31,500 in 2018 to be in line with inflation. However, in 2018, the average salary only increased to £25,500, which shows that earnings have dropped. For this reason, and to overcome this disparity, it would make sense to undertake postgraduate study.
If you’ve recently graduated, it’s worth checking to see if your university offers any alumni discounts for continuing to study at their establishment. For example, if you previously studied at Northumbria, and you’re considering postgraduate study but are put off by the tuition fees, you’ll be pleased to know about their alumni discount scheme. As alumni you can get a generous 20 per cent discount, which knocks a significant amount off your fees. This can make university life a lot easier and leaves some of your loan left over for living purposes. Keep your eyes peeled for your university’s discounts.
If you find that you’re no longer interested in the subject you studied at undergraduate, or are losing interest in your current career, no, your degree wasn’t a waste of time. And yes, there’s still hope for you yet.
Postgraduate study is an excellent way to redirect your career path and prospects. And the brilliant news? You don’t always need to study a postgraduate course linked to your existing degree. For example, if you studied psychology at undergraduate, but decide that you want to be a solicitor, you can take a law conversion course. If you’re a psychology student who has just finished their degree and develops a sudden interest in marketing — go for it!
Many skills we learn at university are transferable no matter what you studied: time management, research, organisation, data handling, presentation skills. These are all desirable skills that would help you in the working world.
One of the most important things to remember is that additional education is never going to be a bad thing. At the end of the day, you’re bettering yourself and your chances of landing a job you’re interested in. In the grand scheme of things, a little bit more debt will be worthwhile in the long run. So why not invest in your future?