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Choosing Postgraduate Study
POSTGRADUATE STUDY FOR CAREER DEVELOPMENT?

Are you looking to enter a specific career
or want to fast track in your chosen field?
Might a work related Masters help get you there?

 

Are you looking to enter a specific career or want to fast track in your chosen field? Might a work related Masters help get you there?

MastersCompare have put together a number of questions you may find useful:

1.    Will a master's level course REALLY help me move on in my career?

- See if you can identify friends, colleagues and stories of others who have done a master's to gain knowledge and expertise.

- Talk to your university careers service, even if you have already graduated - they are often happy to help alumni and should be able to give you impartial advice.

- Ask key employers about the knowledge or experience you need, and whether a master's would benefit. Do they know of any particular courses they have been impressed by?

-Take a look at relevant professional related websites: they may have an education or advice section. You may also be able to access an online community for advice.

2.    What should I look for in a work-related master's course?

- Ask the university where alumni from the course have gone on to work, and what their job titles or levels were afterwards. They may be able to put you in touch with alumni who have gone on to interesting jobs. This can help you decide whether the course would be useful to you.

- Make sure the course content covers the areas you need or are most interested in.

-  Does the course offer an internship, and which companies are these with?

-  What are the department or course's connections with the industry?

-  What events or networks run to help students on the course have contact with employers?

- Ask to talk to a current student.

3. What about the money?

- Courses can vary in cost, even if the content appears similar, depending on the expertise and reputation of the university, its location etc.

- Is the new postgraduate loan an option for you? See below for further info.

- If you are already working, you may be able to ask your employer for a contribution or to pay for the fees: think about how the course will benefit your employer? If they cannot offer you money they may offer you time off to study. However, be careful to find out if there are strings attached - do they require you to stay at their company for a set time, for example?

4. Is a work-related master's worth it?

- From your research above, how much will it help you pursue a career that matters to you?

- Is it 'worth it' in more than just financial terms? Think about the knowledge, experience and contacts you may gain. Will it be a long term investment with benefits for many years, and in many ways?

FIND OUT MORE:

Find your Professional & Work related Masters course
Take a look at over 70 Professional & Work related Masters courses on MastersCompare here

New Postgraduate Loan
Read the latest info on the Master's Loan Scheme 2016 and register to receive regular updates on Masters funding and courses.

Student Voices - hear from postgraduate students about their experiences of looking for and doing a professional or work-related Masters.

 

Source: NUS Postgraduate study for career development.

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Student Mental Health
COPING WITH EXAM STRESS

Exam season is the most stressful time for many
students. Sarah Gillborn, Vice President Welfare at Leeds 
Beckett Student's Union tells us about 'Stress Less Fest'

 

Exam season is the most stressful time of year for many students.

Sarah Gillborn, Vice President Welfare at Leeds Beckett Students' Union, tells us about 'Stress Less Fest' and how students can stay on top of things.

Why did Leeds Beckett SU begin running ‘Stress Less Fest’?

We started running Stress Less Fest simply because we know that the weeks leading up to exam period can be a really stressful time. We want to encourage students to take time out for themselves and to look after themselves during this period, and rather than putting out a leaflet or some form of publication with ways to destress, we thought the best way to do it is to bring the de-stressing activities to the students!

What have been your most successful activities, and how effective have they been in helping students?

In previous years we have had a puppy room, where students can come and play with young guide dogs for a small donation. This is really great as not only do people get to play with adorable puppies, but it also means the dogs get to be socialised with people, so it’s win-win! We also give out free fruit, and this always tends to go really quickly.

But I think the most effective thing we do is just being really visible to students. Just by being there to give out fruit, and asking them how they’ve been getting on, a lot of students take the opportunity to let off some steam, and we can remind them of how proud they should be of their hard work, and that we are always here if they need any further support.

How important is it that students take their mental health and wellbeing seriously?

Mental health and wellbeing is really important to students, and to everyone. Whether we are well or not, we all have mental health, and we are all at risk of becoming unwell if we don’t look after ourselves or if we don’t feel that we have adequate support in place. It’s really important that students look after themselves, aren’t afraid to ask for help when it is needed, and take time out for themselves when they feel like they are being snowed under.

What advice would you have for students who feel they are struggling with exam stress?

If you are struggling with exam stress, first and foremost you should talk to someone. Whether it’s family, a friend, a course mate, or a trusted teacher or lecturer. Talking about it with someone will help you to figure out why you’re feeling stressed, whether it’s workload or if there’s something you can’t get your head around, and people who you trust can help you to overcome any overwhelming stress you might feel. Also, again, it is really important to take time for yourself. Start revision early, so that you can spread it out more, and make sure that you have plenty of time to rest and to relax with friends.

Who can students contact for support?

Students can always come to their students’ union for support. Whether it’s your welfare officer or students’ union advice team, or even just a friendly member of staff, there will always be someone here who can support you themselves or direct you to someone who will be able to help. You also shouldn’t underestimate the support you can get from your friends. Stress is not an unusual thing to feel, especially during assessment periods, and although it affects us all in different ways, we can all share our stress-busting tips, and things are much easier to deal with when you’re not dealing with it alone!

 

 

Source: NUS coping with Exam stress 

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Prospects
SIX STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL PRESENTATION

You'll almost certainly be asked to give a presentation
at least once during your time at university. This expert
advice will help you conquer you nerves.

 

You'll almost certainly be asked to give a presentation at least once during your time at university. This expert advice will help you conquer your nerves and deliver an accomplished performance...

Depending on your degree subject, you might be expected to summarise your reading in a seminar, deliver the results of a scientific experiment or provide feedback from group work.

Whatever the topic, you'll usually be presenting to your tutor and fellow students, which some people may not find that daunting. Others will understandably be apprehensive – getting up and making your case in front of an audience is never easy, especially if you're not used to it.

However you feel, though, it's worth trying to develop your skills and become as comfortable with the format as possible. The experience will be useful when it comes to giving a presentation in an even more high pressure situation, such as a job interview.

To help you, academic skills tutor Andrew Edwards and careers adviser Andrea Hilditch, both from Glyndwr University, provide their top tips for making your presentation stand out for all the right reasons…


1. Prepare carefully

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare thoroughly, as a last-minute rush will leave you flustered when it comes to delivering your presentation. Gather the information you need and set it out in a logical order, with a clear introduction and conclusion.

As part of your planning, make detailed notes if it helps, recommends Andrew. But don't rely on these on the day, as reading from a prepared text sounds unnatural.

Andrew suggests that if you make memory aids to take with you, you should use small index cards. This is because referring to A4 sheets of paper during your presentation would be distracting and highlight your nerves if your hands were to shake.


2. Use visuals wisely

'Visuals should complement your oral presentation, not repeat it,' says Andrew. 'You are the main focus - your slides should offer a brief summary of points, or an illustration supporting the concept that you're discussing. Don't fall into the trap of merely reading aloud what is written on the slides.'

Make sure you use a clear and suitably sized font. Andrew adds that you should use short phrases or sentences so that you don’t overcrowd your slides.

As Andrea says, images can be a great way to grab the audience's attention. 'Can you use humour to make a point? Can you use a thoughtful question instead of a sea of words?' She emphasises that slides are a starting point from which you should expand and develop your narrative. 'Make sure the substance is there over the fancy fonts and animations.'

Meanwhile, if you intend to provide hand-outs for your audience, distribute them at the beginning or end of your presentation. Andrew says that doing it halfway through can be distracting and disrupt your flow.


3. Consider your audience

'Show that you have thought about the audience,' advises Andrea. There are many different elements you can include in a presentation - sound, video, hand-outs, time for questions at the end - so you'll need to think about which are suitable. For example, whether your tone is serious or light-hearted might depend on factors such as the subject you're studying, or whether the presentation is an assessed piece of work.

You should also determine how much background information your audience will need. Do they already have some knowledge of the topic you're presenting on? Go into too much detail at the beginning and they'll be lost, but spending the first half of your time telling them what they already know will be frustrating.


4. Practise with a friend

It's essential that you give your presentation in full more than once before doing it for real. 'Practise with a friend,' says Andrew. 'Visit the room in advance if you can, and ask your friend to sit at the back, checking the speed and clarity of your speech. Check that the visuals of your presentation are visible too.'

You'll be able to work out whether your presentation is the right length when spoken aloud, and get used to expressing yourself in front of others. 'Vary your tone and pitch,' recommends Andrew. 'Speak normally - do not sound monotonous.'


5. Be positive

This might seem obvious, and easier said than done if you're shy. But pull it off and it will make a huge difference to how you perform.

'Acknowledge your nervousness, but don't give in to negative thinking,' says Andrew. 'Counteract it by telling yourself, "Yes, I'm nervous, but I can do this".' He recommends that you try to develop a positive attitude over the few days before the presentation.

Andrea suggests a technique for achieving this. 'Think about a time in your life when you are more confident. It could be on the dance floor in a club, in a workplace mentoring others or helping a class of small children. In the days approaching the presentation, imagine stepping into that version of yourself. Bring this to mind just before you start, along with a few calming breaths.'

It might feel like the room is against you, but this isn't the case. 'Don't assume your audience wants you to fail,' Andrea adds. 'I meet students who have the absolute dread when approaching presentations, yet their friends in the class are there to support them and really want them to succeed.'


6. Don't rely on technology

We've all witnessed the agony of a presenter struggling with a faulty USB stick or failing to get a projector to work. However, with a little bit of planning, you can minimise the risk of technology tripping you up.

If possible, test your presentation beforehand with the same equipment that you'll be using for the real thing. Otherwise, try to arrive early on the day and have a run through. Andrea advises that you bring back-ups of your documents and print out a few copies of the slides so that you can share them if things go wrong.

However, you shouldn't rely too heavily on your slides. Always be ready to give your presentation without them if necessary, using your notes or index cards as memory aids.

And if a piece of technology does fail, don't panic. It will happen to everyone in the room at some point - and if you get through it without being fazed, it might even impress your tutor more than if everything went perfectly.

In conclusion, Andrea relates a real-life example. 'I had a problem with a lecture theatre screen not working, so quick thinking and a little humour meant that I flipped the small screen around on the lectern and asked the class to move closer until the technician arrived to help out,' she says. 'We worked through it and the audience were able to see that I did my best to work around a tricky situation.'

Source: NUS Blog - Six Steps to a successful presentation

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