Choosing whether or not to do a Bachelors degree after leaving sixth form seems like the biggest decision of your life… until you reach your final year and you’re presented with an even bigger dilemma. Should you stay at uni to do a Masters?
Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself before deciding whether or not to enrol.
Will I get a better job because I have a Masters?
“Better” means different things for different people: higher earning, more fun, or working for a more renowned company. It might be useful for you to write down a list of your biggest priorities when it comes to applying for jobs – what would make you pick one company over another? Then find out, through their website or any contacts you might have, whether having a Masters would make you more employable to your dream company.
This varies from position to position and company to company – for some employers, Masters are proof of self-discipline and self-motivation, whereas some prefer to see students who’ve prioritised getting work experience after uni.
Can I bear to study any longer?
If the thought of writing another essay makes you shrivel like a turtle in its shell, a Masters probably isn’t for you. Look into the course outline and see how much coursework and exam revision is involved.
Could I bear to work my way up?
On the other hand, the thought of pouring coffee and doing photocopying might horrify you. Look into the job descriptions of the entry-level jobs you’re qualified for and see if you’d be prepared to carry out these sometimes mundane tasks.
Am I on track?
Most masters courses require a 2:1 entry grade. Occasionally admissions teams make exceptions for those who got a 2:2 but have a CV full of relevant experience. All students should be prepared for an incredibly challenging amount of work, even harder than the final year of a Bachelor’s degree.
Can I afford it?
While the £9,000 a year tuition for an undergraduate degree is standard at every UK uni, Masters fees are a lot more complex and varied. Cheaper courses can be found at £2,000 for a year, while some of the most prestigious unis charge over £20,000. In general MScs are much more expensive than MAs.
Where will I be living?
It might seem like an unimportant factor, but weighing up the prospect of staying at home with your parents for company while you settle on your feet compared to the idea of another year in dingy student halls might sway your decision.
Do I have to decide now?
Pressure seems to build from all sides – your tutors, parents, friends and those pesky careers emails – to make your mind up about doing a masters, but there’s actually no rush. Lots of people take one year or even more years out to go travelling or gain work experience before continuing their education – the vast majority of those enrolled in Masters courses are over 25.