How to survive as a mature student

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

No one ever said that studying for a degree was an easy choice, but heading to university as a mature student is possibly even more daunting than it would be for the average 18 year old. However, university as a mature student is not as uncommon as you may think; UCAS statistics reveal that up to one third of applications received come from those deemed to be ‘mature’. Nevertheless, it can be a whole different ball game later in life, so our guide hopes to offer you advice on how to cope.

Research beforehand

Whether you are searching for history, business studies, computer science or even anthropology degree courses, make sure you find out as much as possible prior to making a UCAS application. Chatting to current students is a great way of finding out about course requirements and how much study you can expect to do in addition to weekly uni hours.

Join societies

Whether you play football or like rock music, are religious or want to be a cheerleader, there are societies at university to suit everyone regardless of gender, age, interests and personality. Although there is usually a society dedicated to mature students, it would be prudent to branch out a little and show your interests in other things too.

Initiate conversations

Some of us find that as we mature, we find it easier to engage strangers in conversations. Others, though, may find the idea of being surrounded by younger students (even though this is probably an exaggeration!) a little intimidating perhaps. If you don’t want to appear standoffish, try starting a conversation; it could be about the coursework, module choices, or a lecturer’s outfit even. Doing this can force you out of your comfort zone, but it is certainly worth doing.

Take opportunities

If the students you’re working on a project with invite you to the pub for a drink (or several) to celebrate completion, what’s stopping you? They wouldn’t have asked you if they don’t enjoy being in your presence. Of course, some mature students do have offspring to contend with and if that’s the case for you, do try to ensure it’s not all work and no play with regard to your degree; a balance can be hard to find, but definitely worth doing.

Be organised

If you do have varying commitments in addition to your studies, try to make sure you are as organised as you can possibly be. Consider batch cooking and freezing portions for busier times, for example, when your dissertation is due; you could enlist family members or friends to help you with this.

Have a clear calendar showing when forthcoming deadlines are (having it on display so that others can see this can be useful too!), so if you have a weekend with your son at football camp or your daughter is doing a karate grading, you will be able to plan around it and won’t have to miss out.

At whatever age you choose to undertake a degree, there will be hurdles to overcome. The studying won’t last forever, so take time to make positive memories of your uni days!

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