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5 Tips on Pursuing Your Postgraduate Studies After A Break From Academics

Upon completing undergraduate studies, many people traditionally feel like they are faced with two opposing choices: to continue with postgraduate education; or enter the workforce and put academics behind them. 

Today however, attitudes towards pursuing postgraduate studies after taking a break from academics are changing. Many ‘adult learners’ or ‘mature students’ are returning to pursue their Master’s, postdoctorates, or PhDs well after gaining their undergraduate degree.

Returning to academics in the middle of your career does give you several benefits compared to a fresh undergraduate, such as more financial stability and emotional maturity to deal with the pressure of postgrad education.

Nonetheless, there are also some unique challenges you might face, such as  limited access to financial help from your educational institution of choice, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, or needing flexible study routines and resources. Students who are pursuing studies alongside work may also find it exhausting to keep up both pursuits – which may result in feeling like they have to choose one over the other. But no one should have to feel like they are unable to pursue their academic goals or dreams.

That’s why we have prepared 5 tips to help you ease back into your postgraduate studies, and make the postgrad experience a meaningful and fulfilling one.

1. Know your priorities

If you are returning to postgraduate studies as a ‘mature learner’, you’ll no doubt already have existing priorities such as raising a family or pursuing a career. To avoid burnout, it’s important to have a firm grasp on what your priorities are. If you are unable to commit as much time to your studies as you would like, look for postgrad programmes that offer part-time enrollment, virtual learning, or flexible schedules to make it easier for you. While pursuing postgraduate studies might be a long-term dream for you, it doesn’t have to come at the expense of other important parts of your life.

2. Lean on family support

Being able to lean on your family, friends, or support system throughout your postgraduate studies is crucial in  helping you keep up a healthy work-life balance. This could involve redistributing household duties, helping out with childcare, or even splitting bills for financial matters.

3. Build rapport with professors

When you enter a classroom as a ‘mature learner’, chances are that you are closer in age or life stage to your professors rather than your fellow students. Rather than feeling self-conscious, use this to your advantage. Being able to better connect and communicate with professors allows you to build rapport with them, ask deeper questions about the course material, or even network with them professionally. This can help you gain a better understanding of what you’re covering in class, and help you feel more confident about your postgraduate studies .

4. Find your motivation for learning

When your postgraduate studies get tough, you’ll need to remember what your motivation for enrolling is. This could mean improving your career, getting the requirements you need for a mid-life career change, or simply pursuing a lifelong passion or dream. These motivations serve as your anchor throughout your postgrad studies tenure, especially during difficult times such as examinations or assessments.

5. Enroll in a test prep and admissions course

For some, the difficulties of pursuing postgraduate studies comes even before you’ve enrolled in a course. Applying for postgrad programmes and entry assessments can be daunting even for a fresh undergraduate, let alone someone who’s taken a break from academics. Enrolling in a suitable test prep and admissions course can re-familiarise you with sitting for major examinations, get you comfortable with the test material, and provide resources to help you get into the postgrad programme of your choice.

Gateway+ offers a postgraduate studies test prep and admission course for individuals in Singapore who intend to pursue postgraduate education. Whether you are planning to matriculate immediately after undergrad or in the middle of your career, our course guides you through the application process and helps you discover the right programme for you. Key features of our course include course and school exploration, resources for crafting your application, and feedback from our resident education experts. Get started with a 14-day FREE TRIAL of our monthly and annual subscriptions.

Get in touch with us today for more information on our programmes. You can also peruse our blog for tips and resources on pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate studies around the world, such as our test prep and admissions guide for UK universities or tips for UCAT test preparation in Singapore.

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