Choosing to study at postgraduate level can be a daunting prospect – even if you’ve only recently completed your undergrad degree. Angela Hook, marketing officer at UEA, explains what kind of support you can expect as a postgrad
You’ve reached your decision. Having researched your postgrad options, sought recommendations from your academic advisor, read up on alumni blogs and talked to current students, you're committed to postgrad study.
But what support can you expect? How different might postgrad study be from your undergraduate days? And (particularly if you’re returning after a substantial break), how do you know what support you might need? These tips will help you make your transition to postgraduate study.
Study facilities and resources
Before your course begins, take some time to familiarise yourself with these basics of postgraduate student life.
Make sure you know how to access the library service to source your all-important reading list. Find out what resources are available for your subject and how to access archive and special collections.
Find out how you can access the IT facilities, connect to the Wi-Fi, and activate your uni email account and online profile to manage your modules. Check how you can access the teaching and learning facilities and whether you need to install any specialist software applicable to your course.
Who and where
Get to know the key people in your academic department or school of study. What facilities do you need to gain access to for your course? Find out where your induction will take place, whether you need to undertake any specialist training to be able to use equipment, and familiarise yourself with seminar rooms and teaching spaces where study will take place.
Personal and professional support
Universities are set up to provide personal support to their students while they are studying. “The academic environment can be pressured, with multiple demands upon PG students," says Dr Jon Sharp, UEA's director of student services. "Within student services we are keen to make sure that students’ wellbeing is protected and promoted."
Find out how you can access your uni’s welfare facilities and familiarise yourself with the support available. Likewise, find out what resources, workshops and tutorials are on offer to help develop your study skills in reading, thinking, and academic writing at postgraduate level.
You’ll find online resources in the form of learner toolkits as well as confidential face-to-face support available.
"Student support services are there to help you through all kinds of academic and living challenges at university," says UEA postgrad Fred Hicks. "If you’re having trouble keeping on top of your work, they can provide study skills workshops and mentoring, as well as English language classes if English isn’t your first language.
"Student support is particularly useful for tackling issues which come with moving to a new environment - services such as counselling, well-being support and financial assistance are on offer, as well as advice on council tax exemption, tuition fees and so on."
Check in with your uni’s career centre, where you’ll have access to advice and guidance on writing your CV, making job applications and optimising personal statements; alongside 1:1 guidance sessions and the opportunity to take part in mock interviews.
And don't forget to take care of yourself. Keeping your body and mind healthy can lead to academic success, a greater sense of wellbeing and increased resilience to help overcome the obstacles in life that face us all.
Watch more videos about student life
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