I would like to do post graduate studies, where do I start?

Whether you have just recently finished your undergraduate studies, or you finished a couple or more years go, there is a moment when you contemplate doing postgraduate studies. Where do I start? This is usually the question. In this blog, I will provide some of the tips that should help you answer that question. I hope that after this blog, you should begin the process of making an application.


Before you make any application, or start drafting any documents, make sure that you have taken time to do some reflection and self-awareness. Who am I? What am I passionate about? What is my long- and short-term goals? Why do I want to do postgraduate studies? You need to take time to explore all these questions. These questions are also useful when you are developing your scholarship application and university admission essays.

Course and University

After the self-awareness exercise, then you can start searching for the courses and universities that you would like to do your postgraduate studies. In your search, you can decide to focus on one country, two countries, or across the globe. To get the best university for your course, I would encourage you to check out the QS Ranking. QS Ranking  helps one to know which University is a leader in your subject/field. Studying at a leading university in your field, gives you an opportunity to learn and interact with key thinkers in your subject area. Something that is very important for postgraduate studies.

After picking the top three institutions, you must take time to go through the requirements of each university. Note that those requirements are hardly negotiable. Therefore, you need to work towards meeting the requirements and not cheat yourself that you will negotiate you way through them.

Where possible, I would encourage you to interact with the alumni community from your chosen university. Take advantage of social media to reach out.

Scholarship and other opportunities

What about tuition and upkeep fees? Well, there are several scholarships available. You can sign up to get updates from https://www.scholarships.com/. You can also take an initiative to Google scholarships for Postgraduate studies. This should provide you with as many options as possible. Take your time to read through the options and select the ones that apply to you.

Again, if you know something who has received any of the scholarships that you are interested in, do not hesitate to reach out. Social media is a great platform for you to reach out especially LinkedIn. Before you reach out, make sure that you have done your homework, and you are only asking things that cannot be found on the website, or the frequently asked section of the scholarship website. Don’t be lazy.

English Language Requirements

Most of the Universities will demand proof of English language proficiency. Most of the times this proof takes the form of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS),  Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Pearson Test of English (PTE) certificates. These certificates are three widely-accepted standardized tests measuring English language ability for non-native English speakers. Some universities do provide a waver if you provide your O-levels or MSCE certificate, but this is not all institutions.

Where do I take the tests? IELTS is administered by the British Council in your country, and TOEFL and PTE are offered by private entities in your country. Check the websites for dates, and fees.

Documents to Prepare

The list of documents varies, but the common requirements are:

  • Personal statement
  • Proof of English language Proficiency
  • Reference Letters
  • Copies of Transcripts and Certificates
  • CV/Resume
  • Copy of academic or Professional Article/ Document written in English


Reference letters are in my opinion a simple issue that usually gives people headaches. Most of the institutions and scholarship providers require one to submit a professional and academic reference letter. Reach out to your potential referees in good time for them to start working on your papers. Please give them enough time to develop quality documents. Do not hesitate to send the referees a gentle reminder. They are busy people and your reference letter might not always be on their priority list.

I wish you all the best as you make your postgraduate studies application.