Research carried out on behalf of Arden University by YouGov shows that around 1 in 5 adults aged over 45 regret not continuing their education after finishing school. With many feeling that they could improve their careers through a better qualification, thousands of people decide to return to education. In fact, about a third of the current UK student population are classed as mature students.
And although the idea of studying again can feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be – in fact, it could be the best decision you ever make.
“I do feel that this course has given me so much more confidence in my personal life and career.“
Emma, BA (Hons) Business & Management
Whether you want to start a career, improve an existing one or simply turn an interest into something more, a higher education course can open up a whole range of opportunities. We know that making this decision is important, so we have answered some key questions to help you.
Higher education gives you an opportunity to learn new skills, progress your career or move up pay scales. It can open up entirely new job prospects and widen your life experience and knowledge.
Many of our students have found that having a higher education qualification has opened up new opportunities that they had never considered before.
We live in a busy world and being able to fit your study around your career while remaining in control of your life is now more important than ever. Online learning could help you fit study into your life more easily, as it gives you an option of studying remotely; no more commuting and inflexible timetables. Alternatively, you could try blended learning and experience the best of both worlds.
Enrolling in higher education is an investment in your future. When it comes to paying for your course, be realistic – but don’t let money worries put you off. There are various ways you can consider to fund your studies:
• Maintenance loans and grants
• Other grants – for example, extra support for students with a disability or who have children
• Tuition fee loans
• Corporate sponsorship from your employer
There are more details on funding in the ‘Know your options’ section later.
You can easily find out what courses you will be eligible for with Arden University by browsing our courses and their entry requirements.
When applying for a course, you will need to provide evidence of your ability and any qualifications or work experience. Professional work experience and qualifications gained a number of years ago will still be taken into account.
Deciding on where to study is probably the most important choice you will make, so make sure you do your research. Attend open days, read the experiences of other students, search reviews, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and chat to admissions teams.
Whether you choose to study from home, face-to-face or decide to mix the two with blended learning, ask about the support you’ll receive while you study. Think about what is most important to you; academic support to help understand learning materials, student support to ensure you know what is expected of you, or pastoral support to help you get through the tough times?
At Arden University, we ensure you can access all of these when you need them. Excellent support can make all the difference once you are studying, particularly if you are also working full time as many ‘later learners’ do.
“Arden had a range of different, easy to view, payment plans and the pricing was extremely competitive when compared with other providers“
Jonathan, BA (Hons) Business
Funding can be a cause of concern for mature students – many often believe that fewer options are available to them. It couldn’t be further from the truth!
If you are a UK or EU resident living in England or Wales, you may be eligible for a student loan – this option covers both online distance learning and physical universities.
There are also private loan providers, such as Future Finance, who provide loans specifically for studying. If you decide to go down this route, remember to shop around for the best deal.
If you are employed, you may be surprised to discover your employer offering to help support your development too. We have put together “The answer is right in front of you” - a useful employer sponsorship PDF guide which you can use to discuss funding directly with your employer.
If you’re worried about costs, don’t forget that distance learning tuition fees are usually a lot less than those for traditional face-to-face courses. At Arden, we offer a range of payment options, such as ‘pay-as-you-go’, to give students maximum flexibility.
You can find out more about finance options and fees here
“The experience with Arden University so far is fantastic – good relationship with students and a flexible payment plan.”
Ismail Salami, MA Strategic Marketing
“Doing the law degree has opened a lot of new job opportunities and made me more marketable within the job sector.”Miriam Aziz - LLB
You may have a really clear idea already of what you’d like to study.
On the other hand, if you’re still unsure, make sure you ask yourself relevant questions
• If the subject is related to a career idea, is it going to help you progress in your chosen path?
• For subjects that are new to you, do you know enough about what would be involved?
• Will you still be interested in that subject in three or four years’ time? You need to choose a subject you’ll continue to feel motivated about.
It’s also important to look into what type of assessments you’ll be given, as well as what the entry requirements are for the course you’re interested in.
Been there, done that
If you’re still not sure about returning to study, the best thing to do is research forums and portals to hear from other people who’ve made the decision to enter (or re-enter) higher education later in their lives. To kick things off, here’s Mike’s story – a student with Arden University.
Mike Lawns – HND, Computing & Design
I’m a freelance computer programmer with more than 20 years in the industry. I didn’t do too well at school in my final years, and missed passing my A levels so I have no university degree.
Whilst most companies were impressed by my CV and interview technique, some of them couldn’t get passed the lack of my academic qualifications. I felt trapped and needed to find a way around this. I needed an institution which would allow me to continue working, but give me the flexibility to study at my own pace in my free time. Arden University fitted the bill.
The course had various modules, some of which I would never have covered in my working day. With the things I have learnt on the course, I can now bring more knowledge on aspects of project management and I can offer my clients a broader experience which could be of use to them.
I have now completed the HND course and am awaiting the results of the final two modules. I am now going through the steps to enrol on the top up course to give me a BSc in Computing, only 30 years after leaving school! The HND and the degree will allow me to offer my services to many other companies in the future, so it will open many doors for me. I am also thinking about changing careers and maybe moving away from writing code to a more analytical role, with a future of maybe project management. Without the course I would have not looked into other aspects of IT.
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