The UK saw one in four workers actively planning a job change in the last year. During this seminal event known as “The Great Resignation,” employees have the power to reimagine their lives and careers. Victoria Short, CEO at Randstad UK, says, “The pandemic has changed how some people think about life, work, and what they want out of both. It’s made people step back and rethink their lives. COVID has reminded them that life is too short.”
With a new world of opportunity open to professionals, more people are looking to higher education to aid their career pivot or transition into leadership roles. However, professionals may question, “is it worth doing a masters?” A postgraduate qualification allows students to explore exciting subjects, progress in their career through upskilling, and take on a new challenge by choosing to reskill or shift career directions. Yet, despite the abundance of benefits that come from entering a postgraduate study, five common excuses continue to hold students back.
What Are Five Excuses Students Make To Avoid Postgraduate Study?
Professionals and organisations in the UK need new skills to perform well at work, support the economy, and prepare for a digital-first future that ushers in new business models and ways of thinking. If you’re still wondering if it’s worth doing a masters, discover the top excuses students make to avoid postgraduate study, the benefits of online programmes, and how modern education makes learning convenient and worthwhile.
1. “I don’t have enough time.”
One of the top excuses preventing students from pursuing a postgraduate qualification is a perceived lack of time. According to UCAS, over half of the mature students are between 21 and 24 years of age, and around 40% are over 30. As a result, many professionals who pursue higher education manage competing priorities, such as working full-time, caring for children or parents, and balancing their social life.
Students of all ages may view a postgraduate study as a significant time investment; however, mature students are more likely to opt for part-time study options. Fortunately, some universities offer flexible postgraduate study that allows professionals to achieve a work-life-school balance.
For example, Lucas Leppin is a 27-year-old native German polyglot, tennis player, and business professional. Lucas received an Athletic Scholarship in the USA playing for the University of Texas at Arlington as a student-athlete in the NCAA Division I men's tennis team. He went on to work full-time for a Germany-based food company. After completing a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Lucas decided to further his education with an online MBA from Aston University.
“The reason I was looking for an online MBA is that I love the job I have and I did not want to quit to study an MBA or Master’s full-time. I am also not a big fan of evening classes as I am working a lot during the week. Therefore the online MBA provides a great chance to keep my job while allowing me to study with the maximum degree of flexibility,” says Lucas.
Aston University’s programme structure is designed for ambitious, hard-working professionals like Lucas who seek to diversify their skills. Aston makes it convenient for students to complete a postgraduate qualification by providing the following:
- 100 per cent online learning
- Flexible study options designed for full-time professionals
- Programme completion in as little as two years
2. “I can’t afford to go back to school.”
The second most common excuse students use to avoid enrolling in postgraduate study is the cost of higher education. Higher education is both a time and financial investment. However, reskilling and upskilling pays off, and as a result, organisations provide funding or loans to encourage professionals to garner postgraduate qualifications.
The cost of postgraduate study varies based on location, programmes, and schools. However, the average price per year of study in the UK for international students is approximately £11,000 per year in tuition fees. Tuition fees can reach £8,000 to £9,000 a year or up to £30,000 a year. At Aston University, postgraduate fees range from £9,500 (MSc programmes) to £39,000 (DBA programme), depending on the agenda..
Studying online also allows students to browse schools with masters programmes that are more affordable than those offered in their country of residence. Meredith Needles is an education expert, writer, recruiter, and enrolment advisor based in Canada. Meredith is also a student enrolled in Aston University’s online programme. “The institution needed to be highly accredited, reputable, and cost-effective. As Aston met all of these requirements, I could not be happier with my decision. Aston is a triple-accredited business school, costs significantly less than Canadian masters degrees and has the global reach to network internationally,” says Meredith.
If you’re questioning “is it worth doing a masters” financially, you can take the following steps to make your postgraduate study more affordable:
- Search for scholarship options based on your subject or university
- Talk to your employer about partially funding your postgraduate study
- Apply for a loan through Studentfunder
- Research charitable organisations that support students
- Apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan
3. “I’m too old to go back to school.”
The renowned ultra-marathon runner Rich Roll sparked an important conversation about age when he tweeted, “I didn't reach my athletic peak until I was 43. I didn't write my first book until I was 44. I didn't start my podcast until I was 45. At 30, I thought my life was over. At 52, I know it's just beginning.”
Age should never deter you from learning new skills and pursuing your ambitions. In the UK, students over the age of 21 are considered “mature students”, and this demographic is growing in the education space. The UK has seen a surge in mature applicants to universities in recent years. A generation of adult learners is actively applying to part-time and full-time study to change their skills and knowledge in a post-pandemic landscape.
Dr John Blakey is a CEO executive coach, keynote speaker, award-winning author, and graduate from Aston University. At 25, John completed an MBA at Aston University. After working as the International Managing Director for an industrial business, at the age of 40, he left the corporate world to launch a coaching practice, where he mentored international leaders for 16 years. John re-entered Aston’s classroom in a DBA programme where he started the research for his latest best-selling book, The Trusted Executive.
“He is now identified as a world-renowned expert in trust as a result of the first study that he did for his DBA,” says research expert and supervisor, Dr Ann Davis. Dr John Blakey demonstrates that you’re never done learning and evolving into the professional you want to be. Returning to postgraduate study can open unexpected doors and transform generalists into experts, regardless of age.
4. “I’m not comfortable learning online.”
Universities worldwide now offer online learning to make higher education more accessible, convenient, and safe, especially in a post-pandemic landscape. However, students may hesitate to enrol in a programme that’s 100% online.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic changed education forever. HBR sums up the shift in education by saying, “this moment is likely to be remembered as a critical turning point between the “time before,” when analogue on-campus degree-focused learning was the default, to the “time after,” when digital, online, career-focused learning became the fulcrum of competition between institutions.”
A recent study examined students’ perceptions of online learning during the pandemic and found that the most substantial advantages of online learning include ease of access to educational materials and the ability to choose the time and place to study. Online learning is the future of education, and schools are making it easier for students to join online programmes and learn remotely using technology.
Technology enables online learning, and a school’s designated e-learning platform can make or break a student’s experience. Aston University’s Virtual Learning Environment is an intuitive platform that offers students a series of video tutorials to familiarise them with the system.
Every student at Aston University Online is guided through structured modules and assessed in various ways, including group assignments, individual projects, and written and oral examinations. In addition, a Student Support Advisor works with students so they feel comfortable and supported throughout their online learning experience.
5. “I don’t know if my postgraduate degree will pay off.”
In recent years, the digitisation of organisations has created a skill gap in the UK. According to McKinsey & Company, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exasperated this gap. The consulting company goes on to report that “virtually every UK worker needs reskilling.” Approximately 30.5 million UK workers (94 per cent of today’s workforce) lack the gamut of skills they will require in 2030. Among these numbers, 25.5 million would benefit from upskilling, and five million require immediate retraining.
As a result, employees who take it upon themselves to upskill and reskill gather enormous returns on their investment. Students benefit by acquiring hard and soft skills, increasing earning potential, diversifying job opportunities, and improving their overall outlook. To calculate the exact ROI of your postgraduate degree, you can evaluate the out-of-pocket costs to attend your school of choice (tuition, fees, and cost of lost wages) and estimate the expected salary upon graduation and throughout your career (salary, signing bonus, and benefits). The salary increase should outweigh the cost of your education to justify your postgraduate study.
Studies show that it typically takes full-time, two-year MBA alumni 3.5 years to break even on their investment, followed by 2.5 years for one-year accelerated, part-time, online, and executive MBA graduates. In addition, surveys show that specialised MBA programmes result in even faster ROI times.
Is It Worth It To Do a Masters?
As we enter a new year, it’s a symbolic time to revisit short-term and long-term goals. So if you’re questioning if enrolling in a master’s programme is a worthwhile commitment, take time to reflect, write down your goals, and create a multi-year plan that outlines where you want to be and what qualifications you need to get there.
Ross Haswell, a Digital Analytics Manager and student in Aston University’s Business Analytics programme, shares three questions he asked himself before choosing to pursue a postgraduate programme:
- What would I spend the time doing if I wasn’t doing this programme?
- Are there any major life events coming up during the time this programme will run?
- Do I feel mentally prepared for the additional stress and workload that further education brings?
Students rarely regret pursuing higher education. Aston University boasts an 86.39% overall student satisfaction rate. If there is an online masters degree that will help you upskill and reskill for your ideal career path, don’t waste time on excuses and start the enrollment process today.
Invest in Your Future With a Postgraduate Degree From Aston University
Aston's University’s postgraduate programmes are tailored to accommodate working professionals with busy schedules that want to upskill, earn promotions, experience career mobility and join a passionate online community. Our online format allows students to enrol from any country in the world for optimal flexibility, convenience, and global perspective.
The Aston University community boasts over 100,000 international alumni who present mentorship, networking opportunities and entrance to a far-reaching business worldview.
Aston offers the following online degrees:
- A suite of MSc Business & Management Programmes
- A suite of MSc Business Analytics Programmes
- Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA)
Build a global network of business professionals through team engagement and networking events and gain hands-on business experience by solving complex problems in leadership, management, strategy, and analytics. In an international network, you will learn to collaborate with stakeholders from diverse cultural settings and business leaders across international markets.
Aston has earned triple accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA, the leading accreditation bodies for business schools in the UK, the US, and Europe. Stand out as a business leader by earning a degree from Aston, a leading university among the elite one per cent of business schools worldwide with triple accreditation.
Start the New Year by taking the next step toward your future with Aston University’s postgraduate degrees.