Should You Take a Masters?
Many people are drawn to the idea of taking a master’s degree. It can have many benefits over a standard degree including the opportunity to improve job prospects, as well as allowing you to choose a niche topic that truly interests you. That said, a master’s degree comes with challenges and you need to be sure that these will outweigh the benefits. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to take a master’s.
Are you passionate about continuing your education?
Taking a master’s is an opportunity to not just continue your education, but to put forward new exciting arguments and make new discoveries that other students could benefit from in the future. Having a passion for the topic you choose to study is important, otherwise you’ll find it very hard to motivate yourself to study.
Returning to education can be difficult for some people who may have taken a long break from being a student. You may want to spend some time recapping on things you’ve learnt in your degree or possibly getting some private tuition before getting back into the swing of being a student.
Could it help your career goals?
One of the most common reasons for taking a master’s is to help with job prospects. A master’s could help you to stand out against candidates with a regular degree. It could even help you to access jobs with higher salaries and could fast-track you into leadership positions.
Of course, this won’t be the case with all careers, so you need to research this in advance if this is your main motivation, otherwise it could all be for nothing.
Are you just delaying the inevitable?
If you’re about to graduate and don’t know what to do next, you should resist taking a master’s simply as a way of delaying the inevitable. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to enter the working world. A master’s is not the easy way out – it’s hard work and adds to your student debt, so you need to have a clear goal to it whether it’s genuinely wanting to improve career prospects or genuinely wanting to further your studies.
Can you afford it?
You’ll need to be able to afford the fees of studying a master’s. Whilst cheaper than a regular degree, it could add to already existing student debt, which means that it will take longer to pay off your debts.
Paying for tuition fees with your own savings or income could be an option, but you’ll need to budget ahead first. This guide at Master’s Avenue offer some advice on how to save up for a master’s degree.
Be wary that employer sponsored master’s do exist – this is when an employer pays for a student’s fees in exchange that they work for their company after completing their master’s. Such sponsored master’s are hard to come by and you may also involve completing a competitive interview process.
Have you got the time?
Most people have to dedicate more time to studying a master’s than a regular degree. As a result, it can be much harder to fit a job around studying. Some people are able to still take up a part-time job, but a full-time job is likely to be too much of a strain.
There may also be other responsibilities to consider for some people such as looking after kids or continuing social commitments such as clubs. The likes of the University of Maryland offer online masters’ which may be easier to fit around commitments – you can study these in your own time from home without having to travel to a campus. Scheduling your study time could still be important in order to help you stay on target with your studies.
Have you got the grades?
The requirements for a master’s can vary massively depending on the course and the university. Generally speaking, you need more than a third to be considered and most universities will be hesitant about accepting a 2:2. The majority of course will happily accept a 2:1 and a first will almost certainly secure you a position.
Sometimes it’s possible to be accepted for a master’s without a high-class degree if you’ve got enough professional experience. This is something you may want to discuss with the course organisers directly.
Disclaimer: This is a contributed post but I agree with it wholeheartedly.