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How to get Accepted onto a Masters Course
So you want to do a Masters?
I'm going to assume that at this stage you already know what subject you want to study and where you want to study it, now all you need to do is complete the application form. It is important to know right from the start that the most important aspect of the application form is your personal statement. This is where you get the chance to shine and stand out from the other applicants, of which there will be many. This article is therefore dedicated to the information you should include in your personal statement.
First things first, research the institution you want to study at and have a think about why you want to study there. If it is because your friend / boyfriend will be there, or the nightlife in the town looked good then I suggest you re-think your reasoning! You need to have a look at the academic standing of the University. Is it particularly strong in research? or teaching? What areas of research are the staff interested in and does this comply with any of your own personal interests? You will need to be able to demonstrate why you chose that particular course at that particular University over any other.
So why did you chose that course? What is it about the subject that you are most interested in? and what do you hope to do with your degree in the future. It is helpfull to show that you have thought about the future and have some direction.
In your application you will be asked to give details of your academic background, when you come to write your personal statement you should expand on what valuable things you have learnt in your educational history. It may be that during your undergraduate degree you had to complete a dissertation, this means you have skills in researching, reviewing and critiquing literature, giving yourself deadlines and working towards them, working in collaboration with other academics, presenting your research and writing skills. You may have written an essay about a topic which is linked to something on the Masters syllabus, if so you need to make reference to this.
Competition for a place on a Masters course can be tough. It is therefore essential to ensure that your application stands out from the rest. Lots of students who are applying for the same place as you will have good grades, so you cannot rely on these alone to get you through.
Universities like to see evidence of relevant work experience within a field related to the subject you wish to study. For example if you wanted to study Psychology it may be useful to spend some time volunteering for a helpline such as Samaritans or Childline. If you wanted to get into nursing it might help if you volunteer at a hospital or get a part time job as a nursing assistant. Anything extra curricular like this can really bolster your application and it can also give you some valuable experience in the field.
Important Points to Consider
- Make sure that your personal statement is well written, clear and fluent. Check and re-check to ensure that there aren't any spelling or grammer errors.
- Make sure that you have not lied within your statement. You may be asked later to elaborate on the things you have written about and your academic credentials will be checked.
- Make sure you include all relevant work experience you have had and detail why you think this will be beneficial and what you have learnt from it
- Make sure you have fully researched the course and the institution you wish to study at and be prepared to talk about why you made this choice
- Be prepared for either a telephone interview or a face to face interview. This is often conducted and can be daunting if you are not fully prepared.