(Sorry if I give some unnecessary information, I'm not sure exactly what is and isn't relevant)
I have a 2:1 (64) degree from a pretty meh university. Teesside, to be precise. I got really similar grades in all of my assignments, so my transcript doesn't show me improving over the years. I got 62-65 for most of my assignments.
I also graduated about 5 years ago and in that time I've had pretty average jobs. I was working in Psychology, but basically 3 different entry-level positions the entire time because I wasn't passionate about it. I kept thinking about changing, but I thought it was too late. I had some depression during that time and I found it hard to motivate myself to improve. I found a Masters that I'm really interested in at SOAS: The Linguistics with Intensive Korean course. I want to change career paths and I'm very passionate about it. My (somewhat of a pipe-dream) aim is to work for Liberty in North Korea, because I really feel for the people there. I know that some Masters courses are really competitive and that reduces someone's chances of getting in if they don't have really good experience/grades. Does anyone know if this course is particularly competitive?
I don't have any relevant work experience to put in my personal statement, which is a worry. The only relevant things I can think of to mention that have anything slightly to do with Linguistics or Korean are: I can speak Afrikaans and French and used a tutoring website to tutor an adult in Afrikaans for about 2 months. I volunteered for LiNK by creating a fundraising page on their website (anyone can do this) and raising quite a lot of money by doing a sponsored skydive. I completed a 13-week Korean course at another university. I also hired a private Korean tutor and have been seeing her once a week for 3 months. The jobs I did after I finished university were all to do with mentoring those with learning difficulties within schools and universities. I'm not sure if this could really be spun in any sort of useful way on the PS.
Another thing is, because of how long ago I graduated, I don't really have any connections at Teesside anymore and might have a hard time getting academic references. I think I could do it, but they won't remember me very well. My professional references aren't very compelling, because I don't have to do anything particularly academic like writing reports at work.
Would it be worth putting off my application so I can try to gain some kind of relevant experience for a few months? I don't even know what experience I could get, without any current qualifications in the field. I'm just not sure how to prove how dedicated to this career change I am. I really don't want to work in Psychology anymore, but I'm worried that I won't be accepted onto a Masters course for something different due to lack of experience.
Does anyone have any other suggestions as to how I might improve my chances?
Claims damages because he didn't get a first