When choosing a Master’s programme, it is essential to consider several factors in order to make the best decision possible for the sake of securing an education that will allow the student to reach his or her potential. University life is not only an educational experience anymore but a means of preparing for the future and the challenges of the job market. Therefore, the most evident or the easiest choices are not practical anymore.
Students who wish to apply for a Master’s programme are already acquainted with the proceedings of the system of higher education, its expectations and limitations. The experience acquired at an institution however is now all-defining, it is possible to continue by studying something else, even at an entirely different university. The following criteria were selected to help you decide on how to proceed.
1) What is interesting to you.
This factor may seem evident but it still needs to be considered. What you study must interest you because it will motivate you more, resulting in better grades and possible recommendations from your teachers. However, it may be entirely possible that what you are studying, although interesting, will not contribure to securing a good job. Some disciplines are less profitable and you need to be aware of this. Is it possible to turn your interests into a hobby instead of your career. However, if your are completely set on a path, look for job opportunities, the sooner the better to ease the fears you might have. It is still better to choose a less lucrative path than fail at something you have absolutely no interest in.
2) Do you have the necessary prerequisites?
If you managed to gain a Bachelor’s degree at your university, it does not mean that you will be automatically accepted to their Master’s programme. Be aware of the prerequisites. Most institutions take into considerations the grade of your diploma, so be sure to put a lot of work and time into it. Some majors require entrance essays, others interviews, and there may even be a list of topics that you can be questioned on. Be sure to get enough information because it would be senseless to fail due to a technicality. It is also a good idea to ask other students who have already been accepted to share their experience with you. Also, make sure to arrive at the entrance exam prepared with all the necessary papers to make a good impression.
3) What can be useful for your future career?
If you have already chosen a career, or even if you already have a job, your current or future bosses may require the knowledge of specific disciplines. University is the best place to learn another language or acquire advanced computer skills. It is advisable to choose a Master’s that adds to the list of your talents and abilities and show your dedication to your chosen path. Some majors require their students to do an intership, which can also look good in a CV, not mentioning the chance it may provide for forming valuable professional relationships.
4) What can complement your Bachelor’s degree?
A Bachelor’s degree in itself is usually not enough, however if you complement it with a related major for your Master’s, it can be a very good basis. It is essential to check where your Bachelor’s degree is acceptable because moving between disciplines is not always possible. Again, it is essential to check the prerequisites. Being familiar with different branches of study can add to your value on the job market.
5) Language skills
Some majors require the knowledge of a foreign language, especially if the courses are held in one. It is impossible or at least very hard to finish for example, the English major with only a basic level exam. Be aware of your limitations. On the other hand, some majors provide courses in a foreign language, especially for reading foreign texts related to your discipline that will help you when conducting research later on. It is a good idea to make use of these opportunities to broaden your horizons. Do not forget that without foreign languages, you might not be able to advance as easily in the world.
6) Scholarship possibilities
Winning a scholarship, be it Eramus, Comenius, or any other, is a life-changing experience. Getting to know a different culture, perfecting language skills and forming international relationships is useful for the development of empathy, self-sufficiency and collaborational skills. Even though most students think of their semester abroad as a time of relaxation, it should be noted that it is also an opportunity for gathering sources for your thesis. Be sure to check what kind of partner universities your future major has contacts with.
7) Financial considerations
Students, dependent on their families, need to consider the question of finances very carefully. Those lucky to have state-financed education have a limited amount of semesters to finish their studies, which remains free to them if the continue at the same major as they received a Bachelor’s degree in. However, should these students change universities, or even faculties, this kind of help is lost to them. Be sure to check beforehand the cost of living in the university dormitories and any other costs that may arise. Books and accommodation are not always cheap, especially combined with the costs of food and transportation. Be aware of your limitations and look for information on scholarships and other aids for students.
8) Reputation of the university
It is obvious that choosing a prestigious university has its advantages. However, getting into one takes more effort and sometimes more money. A good school has good teachers, student organizations and successful alumni. Information about these factors can be usually found on the homepage of the university.
9) School resources
This factor is very important as you will be spending a lot of time at an institution, trying to meet its requirements. Gather information about the library the school has, the IT services and any other resources that you might need to conduct your studies successfully.
10) Will your qualification be transferable?
This might be one of the most important questions in the current state of affairs. Many former students decide to work abroad, and for this they need degrees that are acceptable in the European Union, or even outside of it. Check the possibilities you have so your efforts will not be in vain.
Hopefully, these criteria will help you decide on the best Master’s programme for you.