Following on from my guide to applying for a PhD, I have found a nifty little guide to postgraduate study by Prospects.co.uk, which gives a general overview of postgraduate study, and advertises a few open days you might find appealing.
This blog tends to aim some of its posts towards those who are studying towards a PhD, or those who have already begun a career in chemical research, but this is for you readers who have an interest in chemistry, and may be studying it or something similar at the degree level, and are wondering what to do next.
Postgraduate study can be a confusing and daunting option for some students, and it’s important that you know all the facts so that you can make an informed decision. I don’t necessarily mean PhDs specifically – there is a whole host of postgraduate options a chemistry graduate could take, whether you’re continuing to study science or want to use your skills in another field, such as law or medicine.
I only graduated 2 years ago, and I’m fully aware of how scary your final year at university can be. Suddenly, what you’ve been involved with for 3 or 4 years is coming to an end, and you have big decisions to make about your career and your future.
Postgraduate study can seem appealing because it puts off getting a job and making some decisions for a little bit longer, but this shouldn’t be your reason for carrying on at university. Don’t continue studying because you’ve been rejected from your current job applications and you’re scared you’ll be left with nothing at the end of your degree. Don’t panic. A lot of final year students feel they need to have their graduate job sorted midway through the year, but you really don’t – a lot of people don’t get jobs until around the time they graduate, so try to remain calm, keep at it, and you will get something eventually. If you’re continually turned away from jobs, try talking to your university’s career advice service – they might be able to help you improve your CV and sell yourself at interviews that little bit better.
If you know you want to keep studying because you have a passion for your subject, or you know you need to for your dream career, make sure you use the time you have finding out as much as you can about your options, and don’t make any decisions too quickly. You’re about to commit to something for one to four years, so it’s definitely worth making that extra effort to get yourself on the course that will benefit you the most.
The Prospects magazine linked above is a great start on your route to further education. I suggest you take a look, and see where it takes you!