The benefits of returning to university after a break

Harriet, MA English student

Hi, I’m Harriet and I’m studying English MA at King’s. When I graduated from my BA in 2014 I knew I wanted to get a job and gain some professional experience before embarking on a Masters. Although I loved my degree, I was ready for a change of focus and a new challenge. I always planned to do an MA but I knew I didn’t want to go straight into further study. Instead, I worked in a variety of different jobs from Museums PR to teaching and freelancing as a copywriter.

A few years on, I’m back at King’s as a Masters student and I know that taking some time out to gain other experience has been the right choice for me. Here’s why…

More financial options

Having worked for a few years after graduating, I was able to save up some money to help support me while I study for my MA. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to save anything if I’d continued being a student. The postgraduate loan, which wasn’t available when I first graduated, has covered the cost of my fees – I wouldn’t have been able to embark on postgraduate study without it!


My professional experience helped me to get part-time work as a student ambassador and a research centre administrator, meaning I can earn some extra money while I’m studying. These roles are really competitive and I think my CV and relevant experience since graduating helped to make my application stand out.

Also, professional and personal experience can offer new, interesting perspectives on what you’re studying, enabling you to bring alternative insight to your course and classes.


Full-time work is rewarding but it can take its toll, especially if you don’t feel intellectually challenged in the job you are doing. Returning to university after working for a few years has been a real pleasure. I approach my studies with a freshness and enthusiasm that I don’t think would have been possible had I started my MA sooner. There’s nothing like a few years in the ‘real’ world to make you appreciate the privilege of going to the library and pursuing research questions that really interest you.

If you’re considering returning to study after a break, I would highly recommend it! There is a range of financial support available, from study grants to students loans and lots of options for earning extra money while you study.

Personally, I wanted postgraduate study to enrich and excite me, not just to fill a gap after my BA while I decided what to do with my life! Taking the time to develop my skills and gain experience in other sectors has helped me to choose the right course for me and ensure that I will get the most out of my time studying at King’s.

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