28 Mar 2022

So You Want to Get a Master’s: A Guide to Postgraduate Applications

After completing a Bachelor’s, the logical next step is postgraduate education. Perhaps you feel your current knowledge base is insufficient, or your company has offered to sponsor further education for your continued growth.
Whatever the case is, you confidently open up a tab and set to apply. At this point, you run into obstacle after obstacle, be it unclear deadlines or shifting course fees. It is difficult to compare offerings when every university has its own format and writing style, and you hardly have the time to visit each Graduate Admissions Office to get your questions answered.
Having experienced this frustration ourselves, we have compiled these tips to help. They will untangle your postgraduate education search and give you the confidence to decide and apply. Read on!
Tip 1: Research and compare
Unless you are in a highly specialised field, multiple universities will offer your programme. Which one to choose?
Use a database like Jobscentral Learning to quickly find relevant courses and compare them. (A quick search shows more than ten IT programmes on Jobscentral Learning alone!) Then, make sure you attend information sessions and sign up for their mailing lists to get the latest developments! This will help with the second tip on this list…
Tip 2: Ensure you have the time
Applications typically take around three months from submission to results. The majority of graduate programmes will admit students twice a year, in August and January, each intake having a specific deadline for application.
When submitting, keep in mind that this may extend even longer if re-submissions or special documents are required. Hence, while it is a good idea to have everything prepared before submission, be prepared for sudden requests. For example, some universities only accept references from employers, or may require proof of English competency such as an IELTS score.
Tip 3: Prepare for the application process
Also, most universities will require you to answer some questions and go for an interview as part of your application. Questions normally concern why you are applying, what you expect to get out of the programme, as well as questions on funding and long-term goals. Expect to put aside some time to answer these questions and research interview answers. Do submit your answers no later than a week after receiving the quiz (or whatever deadline the university gives).
Tip 4: Get in contact
Even if you have no questions, it is a good idea to get in contact with someone from the university. Applications can be a tricky process, and you want to be sure you are doing everything right!
Keep in touch with the person who initially receives your application, and regularly touch base with them. Not only will you know where your application stands, you will also be kept in the loop for further developments and even other learning paths that may be relevant.
Tip 5: Memorise your dates
Remember, there are often more applicants than there are slots available, so be prepared to remind your contact about your application. And if you have applied to more than one programme, we recommend a spreadsheet with important dates all marked out. These include submission deadlines, payment deadlines, and when you can expect you receive the offer.
We hope these tips help you with a fuss-free Master’s application. Wishing you all the best!