Over the coming month students across the UK will be begin to receive their undergraduate degree results and will start to consider what’s next… Do you go into a job, go travelling or do you decide on doing a Masters degree?
Last week I connected with Ari, Co-Founder of Brainy Blossoms who is on her journey to doing a Masters degree. She has taken the time to share her recommendations and steps you need to take in order to get into a Masters…
Considering a Masters and don’t know where to start from? Most people start thinking about what they want to do after their degree in the last few months of university, but in reality a Masters degree is something you would ideally start thinking about it at the beginning during the summer of your second year. This might sound stressful, but in reality preparing yourself early, with just a few simple steps, can really change the game and reduce your anxiety.
Second year: Explore your horizon
University is not only about lectures or partying, make the most of being part of societies or volunteering. It will give you experience and a clearer idea of what you value in a job. Can’t find anything that suits you? Don’t force yourself! Just create it. If you find enough students interested you can create a new society, or you can just make it your own side project! Another option to delve deeper into a wide range of subjects are study groups or knowledge platforms. I run a slack community called Brainy Babes for girls to learn from one another on a wide range of topics, but if you look it up there are so many other spaces out there for you to grow as a person.
August: Think about your future career
A lot of students at university are completely lost regarding their future career and overall life path, and that is totally normal. We are still really young and figuring ourselves out. However, the summer between second and third year is a great time to get a bit more clarity. In order to do so here are few prompts to get your reflection going:
- List your favourite subjects during your degree: why did they interest you?
- List your past jobs and work out what you liked and did not like about them. They do not have to be related to your degree at all, even a job as a cashier if you have an english degree can show you that you do not like having to speak all day and would rather work on your own in an office, thus you being a teacher wouldn’t be the best fit for you.
- Ask yourself this question: “if there was no financial and societal limitation what would I do as a job?”
- Then look at the skills you acquired during your degree and try to find which career would cover a bit of both.
- Try to find out more about your life meaning by exploring what the Japanese call the Ikigai.
- Ask yourself, if you had to summarise your goal as an employee in one sentence starting by “I will” what would it be? This will also be useful for your motivational letter.
September: Make a list of Masters you would like to apply for
Once you have a clearer idea about what kind of job you would like to go into, look up the qualifications needed and which universities offer them. If your subject area is broad you can refine your list based on three elements:
- Your interest in the modules
- Student feedback
- University rankings
It’s difficult to give an exact number of how many universities you should apply to but I would say, always have a number of backups while still keeping in mind that most universities make you pay for the application!
October: Get your documents ready
Masters application requires a number of documents that you do not always have at hand. Check the requirements of all the Masters you want to apply for and gather them.
I also recommend reaching out to professors for recommendation letters NOW. In a few months they will be swamped with emails, and that way you also give them so time to craft the perfect letter for you. There are a number of email templates available on the internet if doing so makes you anxious. I think it is also key to underline that you always think that teachers are not going to answer you or just tell you no, but in reality I have only added lovely responses.
Of course this step also includes writing your cover letter. Do not be shy and let others check it for you, may it be family but also tutors (Holly Gabrielle offers tutoring for personal statements that I found very useful).
November: Take part in the first round of applications
Take out a weekend in your calendar to batch apply to most of your masters. It is really easiest to apply to all of them in a short spam as it prevents you from having to think about it all the time.
All in all, believe in yourself and keep track of your application process, at the end it will all work out.
A bit about the author
Ari from @brainyblossomscommunity, just finished her Business degree and is soon starting a Masters in Marketing and Communication. She is also the co-founder of Brainy Blossoms, a free knowledge-sharing community for girls to learn from one another on a wide range of topics.