If you’re about to complete an undergraduate degree, it might be tempting to go out into the workforce ASAP. However, depending on the type of career you want to have and the industry you plan to work in, it often pays to go straight into a postgraduate degree. It’s often easier to complete post-graduate studies when you’re younger and have fewer familial and financial commitments and when you are already in the frame of mind for studies.
It can be overwhelming to choose a master’s or postgraduate program with so many choices for specialties, plus both online and on-campus options. To help you make your decision wisely, read on for some important things to consider as you evaluate your choices.
Understand What Your Specific Goals Are
It’s vital to know what your goals are for entering advanced education. Is there a particular result you want to achieve after graduating from the program, such as landing a particular job or being more qualified for a promotion at work? Perhaps you’re interested in challenging yourself to learn new things or are keen to network or hone more practical skills?
Once you’re clear about the outcomes you hope to achieve, you can more effectively evaluate the different postgraduate programs on offer. This will help you to be sure that you’re picking a degree that suits your life plan rather than choosing something because someone else is urging you on.
Research and Compare Options Carefully
It’s important to allow yourself enough time to properly research types of post-grad studies. Master’s degrees, Ph.Ds. and the like are intensive, time-consuming and often expensive endeavors. You don’t want to rush into choosing one only find out part way through that you didn’t make the best decision.
Once you have a shortlist of possible degrees, compare them carefully. You should understand what each course will involve; how long you will have to finish it (particularly important if you can only study part-time); and how flexible each option will be. That is, can you choose exactly what you study or will you be limited in scope; and is the course offered online or only on campus?
Also ask which the faculty members you’d be working with and learning from and determine if they are as qualified and experienced in the industry as you’d like them to be. Be sure to find out if the courses you’re interested in are properly accredited and will suit your needs.
Don’t forget to examine each university, as well as the courses themselves. Look for educational institutions which have a good reputation. Look at not only how universities are regarded by past and current students but also how employers and other key industry members see them. Find out about the success of program graduates, and learn about what kind of career support will be available to you if you enroll.
As you’ll notice during your research, there can be a significant difference between both degrees and facilities. A Master’s in Mental Health Counseling that’s online and accredited in one state might be different to a degree of the same name in a different one, for instance. There can also be variations between online and on-campus options and between the facilities made available for each. Evaluate each one according to your top priorities and the specific job(s) you want to land once you’re done, and you’ll be able to make a much better decision for yourself.
Decide on the Best Mode of Study for You
Lastly, with so many wonderful online courses available these days, you have to decide which mode of study will suit you best. Some people prefer on-campus options because they want to get to talk with professors and other students face-to-face regularly as well as use certain on-site facilities and equipment.
Alternatively, other people want to choose online study because of the flexibility and convenience it offers. For example, if you want to continue working while you study, you may need to do your lessons at night or in between work projects. For this, online classes will be easier. This is the same if you have young children who you need to be home with. Online classes can also be a better option for people with special needs, or for those who want access to programs which are only offered in a far-away location.
For more great information on an assortment of College Topics, check out the other blogs on College Basics.