... after a 2:2 or 3rd class undergraduate degree.
Many students face the dilemma of underperforming when it comes to their undergraduate degree. Whether it's just that they made a few mistakes along the way or they chronically did not put in the effort, many students are handed their diploma when they graduate and are disheartened to be holding a lower second class or third class degree.
For many, this means the end of the road for their education. Many are put off postgraduate study by their bad experience as an undergraduate, or even if they aren’t put off they find that they can’t get a place on a master’s course with their degree classification. But if you do have a place on a master's course and you recognise that you made mistakes as an undergraduate that you’re willing to rectify, there is no reason why you can’t make the transition a little later in life from underachiever to highflyer.
1. Recognise the mistakes you made If you underperformed in your undergraduate degree, you must ask yourself why. You must identify the problem and analyse the mistakes you made so that history doesn't repeat itself.
Look back on where you went wrong and try see how you could have acted differently. Was the problem that you didn’t put enough work in consistently, or that you didn’t work enough directly before exams? Was it a problem of not understanding the work or not doing enough work? Once you can answer these questions, then you can begin to right your wrongs.
2. Go back to the study basics Throw out your usual study plan - because it obviously wasn’t working. Instead, read around on studying tips and tricks and try them out. See what works best for you. For example, many people find it beneficial to work in small chunks throughout the day, whereas others learn more from sitting down for hours as a time. You’ve got to throw out the book and start over - learn what REALLY works best for you and go from there.
3. Always stay on top of your work load One of the most basic tips that most people forget is to be completely aware of every piece of work they must do, and be aware of when it must be done. If planning is something you had problems with before, make sure that it is something you conquer now. Postgraduate study requires you to be independent, more so than your undergraduate degree ever required. This means that you are responsible for yourself and must ensure that you have all the information you need.
4. Learn the differences between an undergraduate and postgraduate degree, and enjoy them.
For many who struggled at undergraduate level, postgraduate study can actually be a refreshing change of pace. If you stumbled in your degree because you found being spoon fed in lectures boring, then you should learn that a postgraduate degree is completely different. In a postgraduate degree, you direct what you want to learn and you learn on your own terms. Yes, this is responsibility, but it also means that you stay engaged because you are the one who chooses what you learn.
5. Don’t let your past problems get you down The biggest problem most people have is that they get disheartened by the problems they’ve had earlier in their education and just give up. This is never the best option, as there is always time to turn things round if you want to change. People are capable of anything if they set their mind to it, so don’t tell yourself that it’s too hard or you’re not smart enough. If you adapt a positive attitude and work hard, your past doesn’t matter. You can get a good postgraduate degree and get your education back on the track where it belongs.