If you are in your final year of undergraduate study, February is probably the time you are starting to think seriously about your future. You’ve got around four months before you graduate. What are your next steps? The reality is, you’ve got three options; employment, travel, or further study. As an international student you will also have other factors to consider, namely: do you want to stay in the UK? During your three years spent completing your undergraduate degree, you will have met plenty of people you may not want to leave, meaning that being able to remain in the UK is a priority for you. But what do you do whilst you are here?
Here, we run through the three top post-graduation options, hopefully making your decision a little easier!
One option, post-graduation, is to go straight into employment. Should you choose to stay in the UK, you have two choices; graduate scheme or direct entry. Graduate schemes are typically offered by large companies and can last anything between 18 months and 3 years. They generally include a mixture of paid training and work, and have start dates in the autumn months. This means you get a summer off! Direct entry jobs work just like any normal job in that you would be expected to start soon after accepting the role. These roles tend to be in smaller organisations, and often employers will be looking for more specialist skills. Depending on your home country, the situation is likely to be similar, and your UK degree will certainly work in your favour in a crowded jobs market. Working in the UK, even for a short period of time, after you graduate will nonetheless provide you with great experience that will help you stand out in the global employment market.
Going from student life, to employment life, is a big adjustment though. No more lie ins, midnight feasts, or mid-week nights out! And your holiday time will be seriously reduced. In the UK, the minimum holiday entitlement is 28 days (including the 8 national bank holidays), which is just four weeks in total, making it very hard to fit in any travelling you may still want to do.
For more information on graduate employment, click here.
During your undergraduate degree, you probably took advantage of the prevalence of cheap flights and the UK’s proximity to the continent, and so have seen much of Europe already. Therefore, you may be keen on venturing further afield. Traditional travel routes for student’s post-graduation include Australia, the USA, and Asia. Now, as an international student, you may likely be from one of these countries or areas anyway, so this option might not be for you. You also need to consider what you want to do once you’ve finished travelling. If your ultimate goal is to settle in the UK, you may find it difficult to get visa approval after having been away for a number of months or years. And if you think the adjustment between student life and employed life will be hard, returning to the 9-5 after months of living it up in paradise will be even tougher!
Which is why we would recommend your third option:
Whether it is a masters degree or a conversion course, further study will ultimately enhance your employment prospects both in the UK and worldwide. You’ll be able to stay in the UK for at least another year, meaning you won’t have to say goodbye to your UK based loved ones just yet. You’ll also be able to take advantage of university term times and holidays, and fit in some more travelling. Did we mention that postgraduate students are also eligible still for student discount? Whilst still being an official student, you can take advantage of websites such as STA Travel, who offer significantly reduced rates and discounts to those still in education.
Applying for postgraduate study doesn’t even have to be a stressful process! ApplicationUK’s online platform allows you to compare and apply for UK postgraduate courses in one simple process. We also have a team of dedicated advisors on hand to give you personalised support and help, whenever you might need it. There are plenty of scholarships available for international postgraduate students, details of which can be found here, including those based on country of origin, subject type, and academic merit. Apply and enrol on a course through ApplicationUK and you could even receive a £300 bursary.
We hope this has made your options, and future decisions, a little clearer. Should you decide to go for postgraduate education, applications for courses beginning in the next academic year are still open. Search for your ideal course here, or contact Team AppUK on firstname.lastname@example.org.