After Your Diploma: To Work or to Study?

How to decide what’s next for yourself after polytechnic? There is no set path – dare to venture, but first, consider your options!
Anne Grace Savitha
Writer, gradsingapore

You might face the dilemma towards the end of your polytechnic education – thinking about pursuing a degree or entering the job market. You’re wondering which path to take, and where will it lead you.

You can work for a few years before studying again, or work and study at the same time, or be prepared to work for the rest of your lives! Think about where you want to be in your career eventually and how you can get there.

If you are enrolling in university right away, take the chance to gain some work experience before school begins again.

Heading into the workforce

If you’re looking for a stable income and gaining industry experience, getting a job after your diploma is the way to go. Employers welcome diploma holders with a proven track record, especially those valuable industry experience through internships or part-time jobs.

Polytechnic graduates command better salaries and jobs as show in the Graduate Employment Survey 2018. Close to 90 per cent of the graduates received full-time, part-time, temporary and freelance offers within half a year of graduation.

As much as the prospects are great for diploma holders who choose to work right away, it is more important for you to figure out where you want to be in your career for the long term and join the right company and team to take you to greater heights.

Choosing to further your education

If you are set on furthering your studies, check the admission criteria in the universities of your choice, be it locally or abroad. You might also get credit exemptions from your degree programme if you choose a field of study closely related to your diploma.

If you are looking to do a course which is different from your area of expertise from your polytechnic education, be sure to research in detail and take your time to decide.

Most importantly, you need to determine where your professional interests lie and how you can harness all the skills you have gained in your education journey so far to help yourself move forward.

Planning your Hustle: Working and Studying in between

Want to get the best of both worlds in terms of industry experience and education pursuits? This can be the way forward if you join a work and study scheme, or plan well to work on a part-time basis, go freelance or even start your own entrepreneurial pursuit, while working towards a degree, be it full-time or part-time.

Let your employer know and work out how you can manage your studies and work effectively. Time management is key and you would also need support and understanding from your loved ones and coworkers.

In short, don’t be afraid to consider all the above options and keep an open mind, knowing that these paths are not inferior to each other. Consider where your strengths lie, and what are the trends in your industry of choice. At the same time, choose a manageable option for yourself and that will be your best strategy after a diploma!