Heading back into education as a mature student can be daunting - follow our four top tips to help you readjust to life as a student.
At what age do you think someone is classed as a ‘mature’ student? Thirty, perhaps… or 25?
In fact, anyone aged 21 or over when they start their studies is defined in this way – which means many of you considering starting university may soon become mature students yourselves!
Re-entering the world of academia post-21 can be intimidating or thrilling, depending on how you look at it, but the important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to pursue something you’re passionate about.
At Arden University, we have students from all walks of life, many of whom are mature students with careers and families to consider before diving head-first into a degree. With that in mind, here are our top tips for all mature students preparing to resume their education:
1. Prepare a timetable
As a mature student, it’s likely you’ll have other priorities to balance alongside your studies. If you’re feeling anxious about how you’re going to manage your time, try preparing a rough timetable to help you visualise how a typical week will look when your studies begin.
Taking some time for yourself is important, so don’t forget to account for some well-deserved downtime between the hours you’ll spend studying and working.
2. Reconnect with your inner student
No matter how many years you’ve been out of the education system, take some time to reacquaint yourself with skills such as referencing, note-taking and essay planning.
Jogging your memory before your course begins will help you feel more confident once you return to the classroom, virtual or otherwise. If you’re studying with Arden, you’ll benefit from sessions designed to reintroduce you to these skills, so be sure to make the most of them.
3. View your extra years in a positive light
While it can be difficult not to feel a little left behind, studying later in life can actually be a blessing in disguise. If you have racked up a few years of workplace experience, this will make it much easier to apply your learnings to real-life situations and reflect on what you’ve been taught.
As a mature student, you’ll also have had longer to consider things younger students may overlook (such as return on investment), rather than rushing to choose a degree and regretting it a few years down the line, when you have a clearer idea of what you want in life.
The fact you’ve thought long and hard about the part your education will play in your future can only be beneficial, so don’t worry about being late to the party!
4. Never forget to ask for help
Adapting to a new situation will require some work, and we have a dedicated support team on hand to help you with any non-academic related concerns you have, from simple (e.g. accessing online portal) to more substantial (e.g. struggles with mental health).
Tutors are happy to answer any course-related questions you have, so don’t feel like you need to hold back if there’s anything you’d like to know more about. At this point, you know that no man (or woman!) is an island, so don’t be afraid to create a strong support network before you take the plunge back into university and use every resource available to you.