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Starting a Postgraduate Program in January


January Start Dates The notion that offering students both January and September intakes for university would split the market has been proved wrong. Universities are showing a higher number of applicants thanks to their adoption of a January intake instead of a single September one. There is now significant evidence showing that September signups are as strong as ever, and the January signups appear to be extra students, possibly those who were late to apply in September.

Another interesting thing to bear in mind is that courses starting in January are not limited to foundation skills and the like. There are higher education degrees in law, engineering, and other high-level qualifications can also be started in January, and in many cases there is money to be saved by starting your postgraduate program in January. For example students can start their masters degrees on a January intake and save up to £1,000 in universities such as Brunel University London.

Here are some of the main reason why starting a postgraduate program in January could be just the ticket!

International appeal

In the Southern Hemisphere the school year runs from January to December, which means a postgraduate course starting in September isn’t that helpful. A January signup and intake is actually more convenient as this runs in tandem with the academic calendar in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also a little less trouble if you need to get a visa than September when the admin side of things is often backed up due to the high demand at this time of year. And don’t worry about the possibility of missing out on uni accommodation as the universities try to make sure January intake students are just as likely to get a place in Halls as those starting in September. Plus, some universities – such as Nottingham Trent University – even have an airport pickup service for international students.

More time to apply

Students that apply in January are able to spend more time on their application – especially those planning to study their masters directly after finishing their undergraduate degree. A January start date means a later application date and that in turn means you’ll be able to spend more time on application essays and research projects. You’ll be able to hone your application to ensure it is perfect – and you may even be able to check the applications of September students to see if there is anything to learn from them.

Earn while you learn

Many postgraduate students need to earn while they learn to cover the costs of their postgraduate studies. In September, local businesses around colleges and universities are flooded with applications for part-time work. It is a difficult time to get a job, but if that’s the case, then why would January be any different? After all, the students from September would have surely taken all the jobs, right? Actually, many students get jobs in September and have lost them or given them up by December – finding it tricky to keep up with work without letting their studies suffer. Competition spikes a little in January as other students apply as they enter university, but for the most part the competition for jobs is far slacker. Students that started in September are often so engrossed and/or struggling with their studies that they are not concentrating on applying for jobs, which leaves plenty of space for new students to fill the gap and snap up a part-time job to help them fund their studies.

Earn after you learn

A January intake can also be beneficial for when you finish your postgrad program as there won’t be the glut of qualified new students flooding the job market at the same time. Jobs are advertised throughout the year – and by avoiding the traditional time to apply for a new career you may well find there are more job opportunities for you with less competition. And don’t forget, September students may graduate a little earlier, but their three months of extra work experience is hardly likely to affect the career of the same-aged people who are competing with them.

Mature decision

January students Mature students are increasing realising the benefits of a January intake. They often miss the boat in the initial flood of uni applications as work, family or life gets in the way of their desire to pursue a postgrad education. January entry gives that little bit more time to get everything ready. A January start date can also be more convenient for those wishing to take a career break to complete their postgrad program (for example an MBA) – which is often the case with mature students.

New year, new degree

It is fair to say that some students are more motivated in January than they are in September. There are numerous reasons for this, with the most obvious being that it is a New Year and a fresh start for the student. Another reason is that some students feel a fair amount of fatigue after studying for years without a break. They may not want to take a year out, but may feel that a few months of peace and quiet away from studying is good for them. It gives them a short break without the worry of having to work hard to support themselves. 


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