Finishing University: Employment vs Further Study

Written by Calvin Bowers
developingastudent

After finishing university, many students are faced with a choice between going into the world of work and continuing to study. For some students, it can be hard to know whether they should get on with getting some work experience or continuing developing their knowledge with further studies, such as a master or PhD. Every student is different, and different paths are suitable for different people. We are here to help you find out which is right for you with some simple questions and the benefits of each. 

What are the benefits of employment?  

There is no need to go into further study after university for some industries and careers, and it’s a better use of time to get some valuable experience in the world of work. Here are the benefits of going straight into work: 

  • Gain valuable experience which will be helpful in whatever career you end up choosing. 
  • Begin earning money straight away and no further accumulation of student debt. 
  • You can get a taste of different jobs and industries to help you work out which path to take if you are currently unsure. 
  • You will meet new people and potential live in a new place which is great for independence and personal growth. 
  • There is always the option to return to education after working for a while if you decide on a path that requires further study. 
  • Develop essential soft skills learnt in the workplace such as communication, teamwork and project management. 

What are the benefits of further study?   

On the other hand, for those passionate about a specific subject or vocation which needs a depth of academic knowledge, further study might be the right choice. Here are the benefits of choosing to continue studying: 

  • Gain in-depth specialist knowledge of your subject and field 
  • Potentially increase your employability later on down the line by having a postgraduate qualification 
  • It gives you some more time to work out what kind of job you want after university 
  • Some postgraduate courses can help students prepare for the world of work by focusing on a more niche element of their subject and preparing them for working in that field. 
  • Continue to develop your academic skills such as research, reading and writing, analysis and creativity, highly regarded in many roles. 

Questions to ask yourself to help you decide  

After weighing up the pros and cons of further study and going into the world of work, you must think about which one is right for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you come to that conclusion: 

  • Did you enjoy the studying element of your undergraduate degree? And specifically, did you enjoy the elements of it which involved independent research? 
  • Do you know what kind of job you want to have in the future? Or do you need some more time to figure it out? 
  • If you do have a career in mind, do you need to have any specific work experience? 
  • Do you need any specific experience before doing the postgraduate course you want to do? 
  • Are you keen to get stuck into work and gaining experience? 

For more help and advice on postgraduate study, visit our resource hub. 

Last Updated: Sunday November 28 2021
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