Debunking myths about studying a postgrad course
Hi, I’m Ellen. In this blog I am going to be talking about the myths I was worried about and what I had heard other people say before starting my masters course.
If you have doubts about applying to do a master's course, I’m here to reassure you and tell you all about my true experiences at university, and I will do my best to debunk those myths we have all heard, at least at some point.
Myth 1: It’s much more difficult studying a master’s degree than undergraduate degree
Students are often put off going on to do further study because they think a master’s course is much harder than their undergraduate degree. Obviously there are differences between an undergraduate and postgraduate degree. However, if you are passionate about further study and you are willing to put in the time and effort, you will be able to achieve your goals.
All master courses are structured in a manageable format, you are given reasonable deadlines to complete work and you are provided with well-earned breaks. The most important aspect is managing your time effectively, this is to ensure you maintain a healthy work-life-study balance. It’s also important not to compare yourself to other students on the course, everyone is going at their own pace and everybody reaches the same goals at the end of the term. Try not to burn yourself out, rest is just as important as studying. As Robert Collier says, “success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
Myth 2: You have to study exactly the same subject as you did in your undergraduate degree
No way! My first degree was in Spanish and Linguistics and I went on to study MSc Speech and Language therapy. If you find a course you’re interested in, you can find more information about the course on the Leeds Beckett website, or, you can find contact details such as an email address or a phone number to ask for specific advice about your eligibility.
Your undergraduate course must relate to your postgraduate course in some way, for example, my link was studying linguistics. However, if there is no link between your undergraduate course and your postgraduate course, further guidance may be needed about how you can apply for that specific course. More information about applying to a postgraduate course can be found here.
Myth 3: You can’t afford to do a master’s course
This is not true. My postgraduate course has similar funding to my undergraduate degree, whereby I apply for student finance on Student Finance England each year and that loan pays for my course and I don’t have to worry about the payment instalments as they are released automatically. When I start work and I earn over a certain amount of money, I will then repay my loan each month. More information about funding a postgraduate course can be found here as there are different loans to choose from.
Myth 4: A master’s degree won’t make a difference
This could be the furthest from the truth. A master’s degree can transform your career! My master’s degree will qualify me to work as a health professional and will enable me to excel in my career in the NHS. Without this master’s course, I would NOT be able to apply for a health professional role.
Myth 5: You need a first-class undergraduate degree to do a master’s
Absolutely not! Once you find a postgraduate course you’re interested in, you can find out what degree classification is required to apply for the course, Leeds Beckett for example allowed 2:2 and above onto my course. Even if you don’t have the desired degree classification, you can still ask university what other options may be available to you.
Myth 6: You won’t have a social life
Life is all about balance and you are the master (pardon the pun) of your work schedule, therefore you can manage your studies however it suits you. It’s important to make time for your studies as well as spending time with your friends and family to ensure that you look after your mental wellbeing and don’t burn yourself out.
Myth 7: You won’t be able to work part-time
This is false. You will receive your timetable in advance therefore you can plan part-time work around your schedule. Many jobs are flexible for students, and if you can choose a part-time job or volunteer in a setting that compliments your course, that is a great opportunity to further enhance your experience, your confidence, and your CV.
Myth 8: The course I am applying for is too competitive, it’s not worth applying as I won’t get in
Master courses can be competitive, and it is important to make your application as strong as you can and be prepared for an interview. I'm sure Leeds Beckett would love to take everyone on board, but the reality is that there are limited spaces on certain courses. However, I think it is ALWAYS worth applying, no matter how many other people do, because even if you don’t get onto the course, the experience of the application process and going for an interview is so beneficial to learn from, if you decide to apply again.
I hope that I have managed to put you at ease when you come to deciding whether a postgraduate course is the right path for you. You will hear a lot of myths from people who have never even gone on to do further study, but I wanted to let you know that these myths are false. From my experience, a postgraduate degree was the best decision I have ever made as it has put me on the career path that I want to be on, and I will be so proud of all of my effort when I graduate. It may not be easy, but it’ll definitely be worth it.