Deciding whether to do a master’s degree after undergrad can be a tough call. Between deciding if you want to commit to uni life for at least another year, sorting through the overwhelming opinions of family and friends as well as figuring out the student loans, it can be difficult to know if doing a master’s is the best next step. To help you make your decision, below are some questions to ask yourself if you’re unsure whether doing a master’s after undergrad is a good fit for you.
Is doing a master’s going to contribute to your happiness?
It might sound obvious, but this is a question that can be easily neglected by students. There might be a million reasons why you should do a master’s, but if ‘it will contribute to my happiness’ isn’t on that list, it just isn’t worth it. Your happiness and wellbeing are priceless. No matter your post-university goals, your mental health should always be at the front of your mind when deciding your next steps after undergrad.
Are you wanting to do a master’s just to press snooze on working life? (Don’t!)
If you’re looking for a way to procrastinate working life, it’s understandable that doing a master’s may be tempting. However, if you’re looking to delay post-uni life a little longer, there are plenty of ways to do that without putting yourself through the stress of a master’s degree!
Just because it isn’t a job doesn’t mean a master’s degree isn’t hard work. Eventually, deadline season will come. When you’re burning the midnight oil on an assignment, you need to be able to motivate yourself. If doing a master’s is based on avoidance of the fear of working life rather than a goal you want to achieve, you’ll struggle when things get hard. An easy way of saving yourself that potential trouble is by making sure your intentions are in the right place before committing to a master’s.
Will doing a master’s improve your employability?
According to a recent study, if you do a master’s degree you are more likely to have improved employability. Postgraduates are suggested to be 11% more likely to be in full-time employment than those with a bachelor’s degree. You’re also supposedly more likely to earn more over your lifetime if you do a master’s degree. So, if you’re looking for some extra job security, it might be a good idea to do a master’s. However, it’s important to mention that some sectors value experience as much as qualifications. Reading through job adverts in the field you want to break into and accessing what would be more valuable to a future employer can be a quick way of seeing what is worth your time.
Do you know what the workload is like?
Not all masters degrees are created equal. Some have a much higher workload than their associated undergrad degrees, which might be a big turn off if you felt you were pushed to the brink during undergrad. However, having an overwhelming workload isn’t always the case. You might find that the workload is much more manageable if you’re used to a super intense course. Or maybe a different university teaches modules in a way that better suits your learning style. The best way to figure out the intensity of the course and if it is right for you is to just to ask.
Have you researched your potential course and chosen university fully?
The best thing you can do if you decide to go ahead with a masters degree is research it extensively beforehand. Email course directors, go on open days, ask people currently on the course if that is an option. If you’re going to commit to a master’s, you want to make sure it is right for you. So ask questions, do some digging, and find out the key information. What’s a typical day like on the course? What are the university’s values? Where is the nearest Greggs to campus? All the important stuff. Whatever you do, just don’t commit to a master’s without first doing your homework!
Do you want to change career paths?
Switching to a brand-new subject can be a great way to change career paths if you didn’t enjoy undergrad. Lots of universities will take on students even if their degree isn’t directly relevant to the master’s program. So if you don’t mind putting yourself out there a little, this could be a great option to move your career in a different direction. Plus, it’s a much smarter decision to take a leap and try something new than stay stuck in a field you hate! So, if it’s a fresh start you’re after, doing a master’s could be a smart move.
Is it financially responsible?
Before deciding to do a master’s, it is important to consider the financial impact of continuing your university education. Like undergrad, master’s degrees contribute to additional student debt. This is an understandably off-putting factor for many students considering further education.
In terms of finances, there is a fair amount to consider prior to signing up for a master’s. You’ll need to research course fees across universities, how the loans work as well as any bursaries or scholarships you may be entitled to before applying. Some master’s courses will definitely leave you with more spare change than others! Although daunting (and let’s be honest, boring), it’s important to do the adding up before committing to a master’s to make sure it is a financially sound decision, especially if you’re living away from home.
Hopefully after reading this article and asking yourself these questions you will have a better idea if you should do a master’s after undergrad. But if you’re still struggling, just give yourself some time. Deciding to go ahead with a master’s is a very personal decision. Even if the answer isn’t obvious right now, trust you will make the right decision for you.
If you’d like some ideas about different options about what you could do after finishing your undergrad, then check out our article ‘What to do after you graduate university: 2022’ for some more inspiration.