When you were in primary school, it was very common to develop feelings and thoughts of how secondary school life looks like. You begin to think different things about how things will look like whence you enter secondary school, the possible benefits, meeting new friends, being smart, etc. But soon enough, you were already there and the feelings becomes part of you, and now everything became normal as though you never yearn for it fervently.
Then in secondary school, you started thinking of how university life looks like. You wanted to go there and tell them how good you are. You want to explore. You want to try out everything you know. You want to leave the home and become independent. You want to leave the house to avoid doing the chores. To you, the only thing that matters is entering a University. Sure you did. Gracefully enough, you soon found yourself in a University community with so much ecstasy, and now you are in fully and everything again became normal like you have never craved for it earnestly.
Unfortunately, at this stage, everyone tends to be satisfied with life. Very few want to further their studies. A bulky part of Master’s students are those who later found that at their work place, those with higher degree are getting promotion while they remain in the same place. So, most Master’s students are very old or at least, mature people because they thought of having their Masters at an advanced age. This is not supposed to be so. The initial zeal of entering the University should have pushed you upward to further your studies. Instead, as obtained everywhere, and as it is the norm, female students wants to get married first before thinking of their Masters. The male students wants to get a paying job first before aspiring for a Master’s program. Everyone wants to have a break from the undergraduate University stress.
At What Point Should You think of a Master’s Programme?
To engage in a Master’s programme on time, you must nurture the thoughts from year one through your undergraduate studies. When you nurture the mindset early, you apply immediately after your youth service (NYSC in the Nigerian case). Although I spent three years before applying for a Master’s programme, I nurtured the ambition from year three (300 level) during my undergraduate studies. In all, it is very essential to think about further studies from your undergraduate days, not after you have graduated and have started working. Indeed, some of us want to work first before starting a Master’s programe. That is cool too. This will enable you sponsor the programme yourself instead of being dependent.
Nature of a Master’s Programme or its Equivalent
A Masters’ programme is a study which is aimed at deepening the strength of your first degree. In Masters, everything you learn are not new. They are basically continuation of your undergraduate contents. According to Dr. C. I. Emeti, of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Niger Delta University, “in undergraduate studies, you learn, in post graduate, you master what you have learnt, however, in Ph.D, you criticize and rubbish all you must have learnt and the work of your superiors and begin to come out with new ideas or better perspectives”.
For Dr. Ofor, of the Faculty of Education, Niger Delta University, “Ph.D is a repetition of Masters, hence, having a good standing in a Master’s programme gives you edge at the Ph.D level. During your undergraduate level, you were lectured. However, in most Master’s programme, the class is mostly left for the students as an investigative/discussion based class. The course content may be divided amongst the students and they are mostly responsible for research and presentation in class. The lecturers mostly serve as facilitators. The mode of teaching in a Master’s programme varies from institution to institution and largely depends on the facilitators professionalism.
In most Universities, a post graduate programme last for just 18 months. Universities like the University of Ibadan (UI) and University of Benin (UNIBEN) are good examples. When you school in such Universities, they are very good in keeping to time. There are other universities like these too. All you need to do is inquire from others who have graduated from their programmes before you apply. It is very necessary to inquire first because most universities have the trend of keeping students more than three years with strikes, riots, and other requirements. So, be very careful before you apply.
Before you apply for a post graduate programme, you must consider many variables. These include fees, proximity, your financial standing, the institution’s reputation, amongst others. Considering proximity is very important. you cannot have daily business in Delta State and go to Zaria for a post graduate study. It means you will have to be travelling every week such a long distance. If the type of business you do need your presence to grow, then you cannot go very far off. Also, your financial standing is very important because you will need to cover all necessary fees. Except for scholarships, a responsible man would not be depending on parents to go for a Master’s programme unless such parents have a good financial background and are willing to continue sponsorship. But whether you have willing parents or not, it is good you practice business or jobs to have some of these basic experiences as they will aid you through life.
Will You apply For Post Graduate?
Whether you will apply for a post graduate study or not, that is your personal decision. No one can take it for you. In fact, you do not need to imitate your friends doing it, because you will end up abruptly. The decision must come from you. You must have the financial backing to complete it before you even start.
We hope that you will think about your Masters programme or its equivalent some day.
The discussant is:
Michael O. Jules
Vocational/Occupational/Career Guidance Counsellor,
NDU Admissions and UTME,
Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State.
Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State.