Preparing for life beyond your studies can be a daunting task for a second year undergraduate. Putting the party on hold to consider your options though could pave the way to a bright future.

Weighing up the pros and cons could make the difference to harrowing major life decisions. Further fees may be off-putting, but a saturated jobs market could make a postgraduate course the ideal option in your quest to land the dream job. Research is the best way to decide.

To make the decision easier, we’ve put together a list of the top reasons why you should choose a postgraduate degree.

Long-term Salary Benefits

Postgraduate STEM courses result in top paying salaries with veterinary science, maths, medicine, architecture, engineering and computer science careers offering salaries starting from £31,000. The specialist nature of these subjects may not be accessible to everyone though. According to a recent BBC report, the average postgraduate earns £6,000 more a year than graduates. High salaries may not come instantly but the extensive opportunities and responsibilities can lead to long-term pay rises.

The average graduate earned a yearly salary of £24,000 in 2008, which was set to rise to £31,500 in line with inflation by 2018. An increase to £25,500 represented a drop in earnings, giving weight to the postgraduate study option.

Develop Your Skills in Saturated Jobs Market

More graduates than ever are choosing postgraduate options according to university research, meaning more rival candidates appear in job applications and interviews.

In a competitive jobs environment, staying in higher education will allow you to develop your skills and specialise in a specific area. Almost nine per cent of postgraduate students decided to prolong their education to meet the job requirements.

Employers will often favour candidates who have made a commitment to improving their skills, making them a preferable long-term investment.

Alumni Discount Scheme

Universities will sometimes provide discounted alumni costs for students who opt to extend their stay. Tuition fees can often be a repellent for further study. At Northumbria, an alumni discount scheme offers up to a 20 per cent reduction in fees. This can make university life more affordable, while leaving some money free for living purposes.

Transferable Skills to Pay Dividends

What should you do if you lose interest in the subject you studied at undergraduate level? The first rule, don’t panic. You can still put your degree to good use, so don’t lose hope.

An excellent option for redirecting your career path, postgraduate study does not have to be linked to your existing degree. If you opt to be a solicitor, your psychology degree will not go to waste. Instead though you can take a law conversion course. Should you finish a psychology degree and decide marketing is an interesting option, there is nothing to stop you going for it!

Research, time management, organisation, data handling and presentation skills are all transferable skills, so additional university time will always be of benefit.

Always remember that prolonged education will never go to waste. The opportunity to land a job you’re interested in and bettering yourself means that a bit more debt will be worthwhile for your career prospects. So, what is standing in your way?

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