Competition at the best UK universities at postgraduate level is tough, so it’s time to ‘cash in’ on all your accomplishments up to now. Universities will expect you to have used your undergraduate time wisely and to have developed yourself in a number of ways. An average candidate will have academic achievements, experience (professional and/or life) and well-developed soft skills. In your postgraduate application, you need showcase all of these. But the most promising candidates will have an impressive overall profile that can boast uniqueness, ambitious careers goals and a desire to ‘give back’ to their chosen institution.
When applying for a course at any university, some things are a given:
You must meet the entry requirements – this sounds obvious but it’s extremely important. Most universities publish the minimum entry requirements that they accept such as a 2:1 in your first degree or a number of years’ work experience. Actually, the average grade/work experience that applicants have is usually much higher, so meeting the entry requirement is by no means a guarantee of a place on the course, you need to offer more than this to compete for a place.
You must demonstrate a range of well-developed soft skills – teamwork, problem-solving, time-management, detail-orientated, creative, good communicator, networker – whatever is relevant and useful to your studies and future career. And you need to evidence these in your studies, work experience and achievements. You may be academically strong but without soft skills to match this, you will be limited in achieving your potential at postgraduate level.
The above merely makes for an adequate application which doesn’t guarantee you a place, so what makes a STANDOUT application? From helping students get into the top universities in the UK for over 10 years, we’ve come up with our top three things that make a standout postgraduate application.
What’s unique about you?
Does you profile bring something distinctive to this year’s cohort? Your personal combination of background, experiences, passions, goals is surely unique but easily overlooked when you take it for granted. Try and look at yourself objectively and articulate to prospective universities what you have to offer. What perspective, skillset, knowledge will you bring into the classroom/lab? How will you contribute to the diversity that universities love within their cohorts? Work out what this is and make yourself a ‘must have’ for any class of 2022. We can help you look at yourself with fresh eyes and enhance your profile, such as Imran, who we helped shape his Social Sciences degree, passion for agri-business and experience growing up in India into a impactful pitch to Warwick’s International Business MSc.
What’s the endgame?
Postgraduate education is a stepping-stone to a promising career so it’s assumed that you will have thought considerably about what you will do after you graduate. Universities will want to know about your career aspirations and see that you have thought about what challenges you may face in getting there, how you will resolve these and generally what your roadmap to success will be. It’s essential that these are realistic and well-researched. If the journey from undergraduate to postgraduate to career doesn’t make sense on paper, then you need to explain your rationale and convince the Admissions team that your postgraduate course is the right choice. At UK Study Options, we help students develop credible and compelling aspirations that complement and justify their academic journey – like Alex from Greece, who we supported from a Law degree, to studying Economics at Imperial, to a career in Finance in London.
What’s in it for them?
Sometimes the measure of a great student is what they will give back to the university. Beyond your studies, what will you contribute as a student or as a graduate? During your time at uni will you lead the entrepreneurship society? Will you help the university recruit the next cohort of promising students? Will you enter competitions and elevate the university name? Universities don’t have impressive communities of accomplished alumni by accident – they scout out such individuals. What will you go on to achieve as an alumnus/a? No doubt you are ambitious, so voice those ambitions, and give the university something that they want to put their name on, like Lara from Lebanon who following her degree in Information Management at UCL went on to work in counterterrorism.
The UKSO team has been supporting students in their applications to the top UK universities and courses at postgraduate level for over 10 years. Whatever your education goal, we can work with you to help you achieve it. Get in touch for a free consultation to discuss your study ambitions.