Graduation season in full swing, and the Class is celebrating one of the biggest milestones of their lives. But once the clicking of cameras subside, graduates will be faced with the next big question which will determine the course of their lives: What now?
Many will opt to start their job search in the new year, while others will choose to further their education and pursue a post-graduate qualification. Those who are still undecided, should seriously consider going the latter route if circumstances allow, an education expert says.
“As New Year’s resolutions go, choosing to go the extra mile on your educational journey is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – one that will pay dividends well exceeding your investment,” says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider.
He says to succeed in the workplace of today and that of the future, a first degree should be considered the start of one’s learning, not the end.
“A commitment to lifelong learning is essential in our rapidly changing world, and one needs to always be building on and expanding your skills and knowledge. Pursuing a post-graduate qualification is an excellent next step for those who want to distinguish themselves in the employment marketplace, while continuing their personal and professional growth journey,” he says.
Opting for a post-graduate degree should be an especially serious consideration for those graduates who hold relatively generic undergraduate qualifications, because it provides them with the opportunity of specialisation which will boost their professional opportunities upon completion, says Kriel.
Options open to them include a Postgraduate Diploma, which will increase their ability to focus and diversify their skillset, or an Honours Degree, for those who want to increase their academic depth in their field. Both these options will enable you to pursue a Master’s Degree or a PhD down the line should you wish to do so.
Kriel says many students find themselves in a position where they indeed did try to pursue post-graduate study, but were then turned away at their university due to limited space in post-graduate programmes.
“The great news for these students, is that there are options beyond your graduate institution, you just need to do the legwork and investigate what those are. Don’t give up on your dreams and close the door of post-grad study just because the first time you tried wasn’t successful,” he says.
“Remember that there are many more options today than in the past, and that post-graduate degrees from registered and accredited institutions, whether they be public universities or private, will be recognised in the workplace. So familiarise yourself with all the options available to you, as well as their entrance requirements and application deadlines, and then make the call on what qualification and institution will be best on your path to realising your professional vision.”
Kriel says post-graduate study will be one of the hardest, but most rewarding experiences ever for those who choose to pursue this path.
“Your first degree may have been tough, so be prepared to be challenged and stretched even further. But know that if you commit to success and give it your all, that you will never look back after this life-changing decision.”