Considering applying for a postgrad this year? Here are some helpful tips and tricks for your application.
Choosing a postgrad
First of all, you should think seriously about the kind of programme you wish to undertake whether that be a taught or research Master’s, a postgraduate diploma, or a PhD. Research what courses are available in the area of study that is most of interest to you. Consider different colleges and pay attention to the career opportunities available to you after completing the postgrad.
A postgrad is your springboard into the working world and should indicate where you see yourself working in the future. Also look at the clubs and societies and other various activities that you could get involved in which would benefit your CV whilst undertaking a postgrad. This is important too and you can take advantage of the opportunities available to you by running for class rep, student council, becoming a committee member of a society etc.
Once you have settled on a small number of postgrads you wish to apply to it’s a fantastic idea to contact the course director and ideally speak to them on the phone or Zoom about the course and what it entails in detail. Not only will this provide you with more information and details on the careers available or academic progression, but it will also clearly indicate your interest and appreciation for the programme.
The course director will remember this when reviewing applications and if the postgrad you’re applying for involves an interview you feel more comfortable having spoken to the course director before. It’s also a great idea to contact past graduates and get a feel for the course from a student perspective.
Completing your application
When it comes to your applications the requirements and method of application will be available online. Make a plan and a draft application first. Usually, you will have to write an essay or a personal statement about why you wish to study the programme, why you are a suitable candidate and the skills you would have starting off and the impact that you expect it will have on your future career.
You may also have to include your CV so I would recommend seeking some assistance from the career’s service where you completed your undergrad and attending any workshops, they hold on completing your postgrad application. Use any resources available to you and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the course director. It’s also very beneficial to ask your friends or a family member to proofread all components of your application.
Make sure to establish a good professional relationship with your undergraduate lecturers and ask them for guidance and direction on your future academic progression too. They will be aware of all of your skills and point you in the right direction. It is important to have a good rapport with some of your lecturers so that you have no problem securing an excellent reference and maybe even an endorsement or recommendation on your LinkedIn page.
Include details of relevant experience for example if you’re applying for a Master’s in Journalism, Design or Marketing etc. send a brief portfolio of previous work or if applying for a postgrad in teaching include your previous work experience in a school.
If the postgrad you’re applying for requires an interview it would be wise to conduct practice interviews with a family member or friend or you could even video yourself and watch it back to see how you could improve. Write down some key points you wish to make and skills you have obtained in your undergrad or in previous work experience on flash cards. It is likely that your interview will take place on Zoom if you are applying for a postgrad in 2021 so it would be great practice to have your friend interview you over Zoom.
Think positively and enjoy the process of completing your application. Remember you will be studying what you love and this is what you should portray the most in your application. Best of luck!