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Alternatives to work

The Careers Service can provide advice on alternatives to moving directly into a graduate role and if you are considering changing or leaving your course. If you are considering any of these routes, you can speak to us about what that means for your career.

Considering postgraduate study

There are many reasons for doing postgraduate study, including interest in a certain subject, gaining knowledge of a particular sector and aiming to improve your employability. Due to the financial considerations attached to further study, it is important to make the decision carefully, explore your options and consider how further study can help you achieve your career goals.

Postgraduate study will not necessarily make up for poor performance in an undergraduate degree and it will not guarantee a job afterwards, so it should not be looked at as a "fix-all" solution. However, postgraduate qualifications can, in some cases, help you to be more competitive in the job market, if you chose the qualification carefully and keep your career goal in mind. You may also be offered a higher starting salary if the employer sees the value of your postgraduate study.

Some courses are essential for your chosen career, such as vocational programmes like the Legal Practice Course for solicitors or a PhD for scientific research. In other areas such as the Arts, Journalism and Economics, postgraduate qualifications are becoming increasingly common in order to compete in these sectors.

In addition, further benefits of postgraduate study can be an opportunity to gain hands-on experience within a particular sector (if placements are part of the course), as well as increased subject knowledge and commercial awareness, and personal development such as project management, organisational and research skills.

Before deciding on a course, book an appointment to see a Careers Consultant to discuss your options.

If you have decided to apply for a postgraduate course, usually a Personal Statement will be required by the institution you have applied to. The career guide on how to write a personal statement for postgraduate study can assist you in writing this. Please book an appointment with a Careers Consultant to have it reviewed.

Taking a year out

If you are planning on taking a year out, your options are endless - from volunteering to working and travelling around the world. Use your time wisely and start planning your trip, to make it count.

You may alternatively consider taking a year out (sometimes referred to as a 'gap year') after your course. In terms of your career, remember that you will need to sell this time out and what you did during it to employers in applications, interviews and at employer selection events in a positive way.

If you are thinking about taking a gap year either during or after your course, then why not book in for an appointment with a Careers Consultant, who can offer confidential guidance and advice. They can also take you through relevant resources which will help you plan. It is also a good idea to start the planning process as early as possible, ideally at least the year before the actual gap year,so you can do the necessary research and preparation.

Changing or leaving your course

One of the hardest and perhaps most unsettling things to consider when at University is leaving or changing a course. The decision is not to be taken lightly and may have an effect on your life and perhaps future career.

To talk through the pros and cons of a decision like this is definitely a positive step. We offer impartial advice and guidance on this topic in our centre. So why not book a confidential appointment with one of our Careers Consultants.

Before coming to see us, read the advice on the Prospects website.

Changing your university course

You may be considering changing you course. This needs to be carefully thought through. It is a good idea to talk with a Careers Consultant to find out how this may affect you future career aspirations. You will also need to research whether it is possible to transfer to a new course provider.

If you are going to change courses, you must ensure you arrange this as soon as possible. If you need any advice and guidance, please contact one of the City support services below:

Leaving university

If you are considering leaving university then it is important that you seek out guidance/advice. It may be that the course is not for you and you are unclear with regards as to what to do. There may be other factors such as personal circumstance or finance. Some students consider taking time out to think about what they want to do with their lives and type of career. You can use us up to six months after you have left to help with your career plan.

Whether you are changing course or leaving the University, it is important that you keep your personal tutor (or course officer) informed of your plans.