Studying in the UK isn’t just for young school leavers. Age really is just a number when it comes to your education, and you’re never too old to learn new skills or switch career path. A mature student is defined as anyone over the age of 21 who returns to study, a group that now makes up one-quarter of all undergraduate entrants in the UK.
Going to university as a mature student is highly rewarding. Depending on where you fall in the vast age bracket, you are perhaps no longer at an age where you take education for granted. Now, free from the distractions of youth, you can truly apply yourself to your subject and truly engage with learning materials you may have neglected before. However, returning to education as a mature student also comes with its own unique set of challenges, so here’s how to make it work for you.
Apply for Funding
As you’ll probably know, higher education is expensive in the UK, so you need to consider how you’ll pay your tuition fees. Whether you’re entitled to government funding depends on whether you already have a degree, how much you earn, and a variety of other factors, but checking this should be your first port of call. Some universities offer grants or scholarships to mature students, so it’s worth seeing if this is an option for the university you plan to attend.
Consider Your Obstacles
Being a mature student is great, but it’s not without its hardships. While you might be more receptive to learning now that you’re older and wiser, there are bound to be other obstacles standing in your way, such as full-time work, childcare, and other financial responsibilities. Think about each of your obstacles and how you can overcome them. Will your employer sponsor you to continue your education, for example, or can you go part-time at work? If you’re a parent, consider sending your children to one of the UK’s many prestigious childcare facilities like St Nicholas Prep’s Montessori Nursery in Kensington, which can provide support while you’re studying yourself.
Attend Refresher Sessions
If you’ve been out of education for a long time, you might benefit from attending a university refresher session, which can help familiarise mature students with study techniques and schedules. Returning to university can come as a shock to some, so getting prepared will help boost your confidence and could even help you integrate with other mature students at your campus.
Study From Home
If you don’t want to attend a university campus, you can study flexibly from home with a distance learning facility. Some universities may offer distance-learning options, while other institutions, such as The Open University, are set up for this very purpose. Studying from home has many benefits, in that you can often work at your own pace and study around other commitments, but you may struggle with the lack of social interaction.