Navigating the decision: is it the right time to commit to postgraduate study?

Deciding whether to commit to postgraduate study is a significant crossroad in one's career journey. For working professionals considering this path while holding a full-time job, it's crucial to evaluate when the timing is right for this life-altering decision.

The pursuit of postgraduate education offers numerous benefits, such as career advancement or career change, personal growth or enhanced expertise in a specific field. However, study also demands considerable time, effort and financial investment

In this blog, we will delve into essential factors to consider when determining if now is the right time to embark on postgraduate study. 

1. Career aspirations and goals 

The first step in evaluating whether postgraduate study is the right choice is to assess your career aspirations and long-term goals. Ask yourself where you see yourself in five or ten years. Will a higher degree significantly contribute to your desired career trajectory? Research the job market and industry trends related to your field of interest.

If postgraduate qualifications are essential for your career progression or indeed to change careers into a new field, it may be an indicator that it's time to commit to further education. 

2. Current job satisfaction 

Evaluate your level of satisfaction in your current job. Are you feeling stagnant, unchallenged, or unfulfilled? Postgraduate study can offer new knowledge and skills that rejuvenate your passion for your profession. If you feel your career has plateaued, investing in postgraduate education might be the catalyst for new challenges and a brighter future. 

3. Industry demands 

The landscape of various industries is continuously evolving, with new technologies shaping the way business is conducted. Research if the industry you are in, or intend to join, is undergoing significant transformations.

Pursuing postgraduate education allows you to stay up to date with the latest industry trends, giving you a competitive edge, enhancing your value to employers and ensuring you’re delivering the best outcomes to the customers or communities you serve. 

4. Financial preparedness 

Before committing to further education, assess your financial readiness. Research scholarships, grants or employer assistance programs that may alleviate some of the costs. Set a budget and explore potential sources of funding to ensure you can manage your expenses while balancing work and study. Check out information on FEE-HELP here.

5. Personal commitments and support 

Consider your personal commitments and support system. Do you have family responsibilities or other commitments that may be affected by your decision to pursue postgraduate study? Discuss your plans with your loved ones and ensure you have their support and understanding throughout this journey. Balancing a full-time job and postgraduate study can be demanding, but with a solid support network, it becomes more manageable. 

6. Time management and workload 

Assess your ability to manage time efficiently and handle an increased workload. Postgraduate study requires a substantial time commitment, and you'll need to find a balance between your job, academic responsibilities and personal life. At UTS Online, you will be required to commit to between 15-20hrs per week per seven-week course. Check out our time management tricks here.

7. Mental and physical wellbeing 

Prioritise your mental and physical health when contemplating postgraduate study. Combining work and education can take a toll on your wellbeing if you’re not prepared, so ensure you reflect on your coping mechanisms and stress management techniques so that you are adequately equipped to thrive during your study journey.

We’ve helped hundreds of graduates navigate the balance of work and study. Know that we have a range of resources available, and you will be supported with a dedicated Student Success Advisor throughout your studies so that you are never alone and can achieve your goals. 

Committing to postgraduate study is a big decision that can shape the course of your career and personal development. For working professionals considering this path, it's essential to thoroughly assess various factors to determine if the timing is right.

The fact is, it may never feel like the right time, but the question you’ll need to ask yourself is, is this dream one day or is today “day one”?