Postgraduate education in the UK remains a luxury most of us cannot afford. On the continent however, German and Swedish postgraduates continue to receive state funding and pay little to nil in course fees. In fact, a Masters is considered fairly standard if you went to university in these countries.
We often forget that during this time of the year, many students are also beginning to apply for postgraduate study, whether it be master's programmes or PhDs. The application process is a long and gruelling one, so here are 10 tips to help you through the next couple of months, based on my own experiences as a master's applicant.
"If Joe has a first, but did nothing with his spare time, and Matt has a 2.1, but did loads of extra-curricular stuff, employers are gonna go with Matt." He spoke with so much certainty that it indoctrinated me into that mindset. I'm now in Matt's position... 80 job applications later, and it seems Joe's been chosen over me every time.
In order to keep postgraduate levels up in the future and remove any threat of a bottle neck in the higher education system, the government will need to a) lower the costs of study or provide more funding options, b) increase the number foreign students enrolling here in the UK and c) provide a better job of promoting and justifying a postgraduate education to both students and employers.
As a postgraduate recruiter once told me, "These days, it's next to impossible to secure a job with a BA. Just like in Europe, MAs are becoming a necessity". If this assertion holds true, then we truly live in a rather sorry state of affairs. Rather than a university education empowering students, the necessity of advanced degrees seem to illustrate how the higher education industry has profited from student vulnerability.
I appreciate that getting into Oxbridge is extremely competitive and is a 'feat' in its own right, but it really doesn't matter whether Oxford is better than Cambridge and it shouldn't matter whether we go to one or the other or indeed any other university - at least not to the extent that it defines our identity and that is all people see.
In the European Champions League of Postgraduate Education, Britain's poor conversion of undergraduates into postgraduates puts us alongside Andorra and Kazakhstan - the smallest nation in Europe, and a country made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen's ridiculous, sexist, homophobic and incestuous 'comic' character Borat.