So you’ve decided to go back to university, but you’re a few years (or decades) older than the typical student on your course. While you might be worried about a few things, you’ll be please to know that there are a lot of benefits to being a mature student.
Peer pressure is a thing of the past
Now, it’s not to say that mature students aren’t influenced by those around them, but the overwhelming need to fit in or be accepted by other students is nowhere near as intense. It’s one of the great things about getting older, you’re more than happy to do your own thing.
You’ll appreciate the academic environment more
Heading off to university when you’re 18 means that you’ll have been in education non-stop since you were five years old. You count the days until you’re finished your degree and away from study and exams. Not so if you’re a mature student. Chances are you’ve been in a professional environment for a while, and not really undertaking any academic study. It can be very refreshing to get your mind back into this type of mode. You relish it, rather than seeing it as a necessary evil.
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You have perspective
Life experience is a great way to gain perspective on situations. You’ll see things in a different way and be able to adapt your thinking quickly.
Your relationship with your tutors will be different
When you’re a 18 year old sitting in lectures, your tutor relationship is one based more on a power balance. They represent the institution and rules. Whereas when you’re older, you can relate to a tutor on an entirely different level. You still respect their knowledge and expertise, but tend to see them as a person rather than a representation of the university.
You’re more motivated
Taking the decision to go to university later in life is a big move. Rather than doing it because it’s expected, you’re doing it for a specific reason. For example, you might be changing careers or want to be promoted. Perhaps you have a family to support. Whatever the reason, your motivation is often very strong because it has a direct consequence on your life and that of your family.
Studying at university can be challenging at any age. There are both pros and cons to being a mature student. However, prior to COVID, the numbers of mature students being accepted into university was rising each year. Universities are actively encouraging mature applicants with relevant professional experience, rather than exam grades, to apply to study.
If you do want to head to university as a mature student, just remember that you have a head start in some areas and you should absolutely use that to your advantage.