Know how’s for postgraduate applicants.
March is here and so is the spring…well kind of. This inevitably reminds us of how close graduation is. If you have decided that your next step in life will be a masters degree or yet another year of library all nighters here are some tips and personal tricks on how to approach and successfully complete the application process:
1. Choosing a degree and university. The best way to go about this first and maybe most important step is to first of all think about what you really want to do with your life. If you did an engineering course for example think about how you can expand your career prospects by maybe narrowing down your specialty or doing something slightly different. Or maybe you are a fellow humanities student. No despair if so, media, English language or sociology – they all hide their unique treasures. Really think about the modules you took during these three years. You liked advertising but are not sure whether these 20 credits in the first semester of second year are enough to show your passion on the personal statement? No worries, tell the institution how the rest of your modules influenced your passion about advertising, how you incorporated your knowledge about sociology, cultural studies and even linguistics in managing your work. When it comes to choosing the university, trust the ranking table but always look for the specific modules. Go on forums and the student chat room to see whether actual students are satisfied with the institution and always consider location. No matter how good the university is if your time there is ruined by the city or town you find yourself in you would not get the most of your very expensive degree.
2. Application forms and personal statement. Now that was a pickle for me. When writing my personal statement I had to go to all kinds of workshops in the career center and talk to tutors, lecturers and advisers in order to come up with my best work. Do that and do it as soon as possible. Asking questions is the best thing you can do. Be straightforward, forget about your Shakespearean affiliations and write real ! A personal statement ideally is no longer than a page and a half so all the work experience, the extracurricular activities and the course’s bits and bobs need to be fitted in that small space. Plus very clear reasons why you want to study this particular subject, what makes you a valuable candidate and why did you choose the particular institution. Be very clear and try to avoid long sentences. But most importantly be honest. The entry committee might not be able to see and talk to you but they will for sure recognize a fake incentive. So really just put your heart in it and be honest.
When filling out the application forms, no matter online or on paper, always read carefully and never ignore the regulations section. If not sure about something ask a lecturer or your tutor. Ask, ask ask! To be fully prepared make sure you have several passport-sized photos of yourself – most of the applications require at least one. Now for the not so fun part. Some unis will ask you to pay an entry fee which is around 25 quid normally. Most importantly, If you are not sure about something ALWAYS call the university because very rarely people will actually answer your emails. I personally sent one to one of my chosen unis a week ago and I am still waiting for a reply.
3. Supporting materials. Now this is something that most universities advice you to apply to your documents but take it from me support your application with anything good and relevant. What I mean by this is evidence of work you did in uni that will enhance your chances to get a place and will show the institution that you are indeed a valuable candidate. I am currently applying for a master’s degree in publishing and luckily enough I did a Magazine Publishing module last semester where I worked with a team on the creation of a magazine. Even though to print this magazine cost me 22 quid (you can print pretty much anything at the Splosh in the Student’s Union) I am sending it with the rest of my application with really high hopes. If you have anything relevant – projects, essays, portfolios, articles etc. , send away. But remember pick only the ones that are relevant and of course got you a god grade.
Well peeps, that is from me for now. Hope I was helpful and you manage to score that top degree and university you have on your wish list! Good luck to all of us on this very challenging and confusing quest! I’ll make sure to keep you posted on my progress with all the applications and you make sure you leave your comments, advice and experience. We can always learn something new from each other!