It is that time of year that most students are on the home stretch, looking on the horizon of their course to graduation, and to freedom! But, if you’re silly like me and want to prolong the torture, then you will be wanting to apply for a Post Grad.
To be honest, I do actually enjoy my course and some of the work involved (I’m a massive nerd if you couldn’t already tell), and wishing to pursue a career in Psychology means that further academic training is the path for me. I imagine a handful of people who may see this will also feel the same, in whatever field they are specialising. That is why I have decided to share my application experience with people, and to hopefully give some pointers for those considering a post grad degree.
First I would recommend having a good look around at all the courses on offer, to see what will suit you. Not only are there different subjects, but different types of courses that attain different levels of training. Some people go straight into a PhD, while the majority go into a Masters of some kind, whether that’s a MA, MSc, MPhil, MRes, MLitt, or a Postgraduate Certificate equivalent. Some post grads are negotiated, where you often to get to mould the course to your own interests (but you’re more responsible for your degree), or more structured where a variety of topics and disciplines are covered. You should also keep in mind whether this is the next step in a series of career goals. For example I wish to become a Health Psychologist, but to get there I need a Professional Doctorate, for which a MSc in Health Psychology is needed.
Once you choose the right course GO TO AN OPEN DAY. I cannot express how important it is to go to the place you want to study, to meet the lecturers on the course and see how the university feels to you. Not only to get a sense of what it might be like to study there for another 1-3 years, but to gain as much knowledge about the course as possible. Want to know if that one thing you’re interested in is definitely covered? Then would be your chance to ask and know for sure before applying.
All of this sounds pretty obvious, and there is no doubt you haven’t already done this for your Bachelors, but when it comes to the application process, things are slightly different. In most cases you have to apply to the universities directly, and each have their own selection process, which may change depending on what course you’re going on. For me it was a case of filling in an online application, writing a personal statement, and gaining a couple of references, and within a couple of weeks I got my conditional offer. For my housemate she had an interview process where she had to work with a group, answer questions, and practice her skills as a counsellor, and then was later contacted with her offer. Be prepared for what the university may ask of you to get onto the course.
At the end of the day, this is another step, and one you will be taking fairly independently. Think over carefully what you want to do with your degree and what you want to do in life, and finger’s crossed, you will succeed everything you plan to do. Good luck!