Whether you’re coming straight from undergrad or returning to education after a bit of time off. If you’re going down the same road as your previous degree or your post grad is on a completely different path, there will always be some questions you’ll want answered.
Some will pop up before you’ve started studying, some may only arise when you’re halfway through the course. Here are 10 questions it’s definitely ok to ask both pre and during the course.
Before The Course...
Where is the Best University For Me?
This will be one of the most important questions you’ll ask. While you may be happy to stay in the comfortable surroundings of your undergrad university, there may actually be a better place to carry out your post grad education. With a little research, you could find the perfect place to continue your education.
How Long Will I Be Studying For?
For most postgrad degrees, you’re going to be in the classroom for at least a year. Find out whether that’s a full year for classroom learning, or if your taught time will finish in June to make way for dissertation work.
Many PhD courses last even longer, with most finishing after three years of research. So be certain on how much time you’ll be studying for before you apply for the course.
How Will I Fund It?
As studying a postgrad can be a slightly stressful and intensive time for you that will demand much of your attention, time for working elsewhere might be very limited.
You’ll still need to eat though, so the big question is where will that money come from. Is your course going to be funded, and if so do you qualify for any of the grants available? Will you have enough money left over from working the year before you started? Will you have to return to your parents with your tail between your legs? Or, will you take out a loan from the bank? However you’ll fund it, make sure you have a plan.
How Much Free Time Will I Have?
A postgraduate degree of any kind will be a lot more strenuous than your bachelor’s degree. While most evenings then were happily composed of Fifa tournaments or coffee with your friends, your post grad will be a little more taxing.
But there will still be a need to shut down for an evening, and while the amount of free time you have may be quite scarce, you still need to take some time to yourself.
Will This Boost My Employability?
For some professions, further study is almost a must. For others, it’s just a further notch to your belt that can further your chances, but it’s not completely necessary.
Whatever the views on a postgraduate, most employers will look favourably on your dedication to your chosen field and your willingness to push yourself further for any job- which may be the clincher in an interview down the line.
Does the Course Offer a Work Placement?
Some postgraduate degrees offer a work placement over the duration of the degree, and it’s vital to use this time as best you can. Not only will you have a foot placed firmly in the door, but you’ll also make some very valuable contacts you can use throughout your career. It’s also the best opportunity to put your newly learned skills to real practice in the industry.
During The Course
Am I Looking After Myself Enough?
With all the mountains of work to get through, it can be incredibly easy to forget to do some of the most important things in the world- eat, sleep, and take care of your general and mental health.
Make sure you’re getting enough to eat- as much as coffee boosts your energy when finishing off that big assignment, nothing will do more for you than good home-cooked meal and a full eight hours of sleep. If you feel like the work is getting a bit much and you’re not coping, talk to someone- whether one of your friends, or a guidance counsellor in uni.
Am I Enjoying Myself?
Between work and socialising it’s difficult to wonder whether you’re really enjoying yourself, or if it’s a way to hide serious homesickness, stress or other worries. If you’re striving for times when you’re not alone, it might be that you’re not having as good a time socially as you thought you would.
Remember, while it’s a very intense time in your life it doesn’t have to be all work and no play. You can still join societies and sports clubs in the uni as a post grad, so why not make the most of your free time and get to know some new friends while having a great time too.
Does This Course Live Up to My Expectations?
When first hearing about your chosen postgraduate degree, it may have seemed like it was what dreams were made of. However, once the workload really starts to pile up those rose-tinted glasses can be shed very quickly.
It can be quite the shock to the system when deadlines and assignments are set, and the true magnitude of the course reveals itself. If you’re feeling snowed under, just remember how excited you were to begin when you first read the prospectus all that time ago.
Do I Want to Do More Studying After This?
You might have rigid plans to quit after this degree, or once your research is over you might be easily swayed to continue on.
If you decide to continue onto the next level, make sure you know what will be required from you before applying, what type of research you’d like to do, and how long you’ll have to carry it out. And don’t be afraid to ask the same questions all over again.
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