A mature student is anyone over the age of 21 who didn’t go to university straight from school. This is quite an all-encompassing term as it could refer to those who took a few years out to work, volunteer or start a family. Or those who are mid career and looking for a change or further development. Or those who have been working for decades or have retired and are looking to learn new things.

In this blog post you’ll discover:

  • 5 advantages a mature student may experience over a 'traditional' student
  • Why gaining life experience before you go to university is NEVER a disadvantage. University is not just for 'younger' students


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1) A mature student is often more motivated

A mature student goes back to studying because they want to. Choosing to study is a big decision and often involves fitting your education in around work, family and other responsibilities.

There will be times when you wonder why you started or you worry you might not be able to finish. The fact you’ve chosen to study should instil in you the motivation to keep going. Remind yourself often why you started studying.

You’ve probably put a lot of thought into your subject choice and may even have experience in that subject. This should give you a further boost of motivation teenagers might not have.

2) A mature student already has valuable study skills

A mature student need to be able to organise their time and prioritise what’s important. You need to be good at working with others for group projects but you also need to be comfortable working independently most of the time. You must be dedicated and hardworking so you can push through the tough times and get stuff done even when you’re stressed or unmotivated.

These skills have normally been developed through working, volunteering or raising a family.

Another advantage is that a mature student will have discovered how they work and learn best through life experience.

You probably know if you prefer working with others or independently. Or, you may have learned you enjoy working things out for yourself or that you prefer more support. You may enjoy learning from books or prefer to be in a classroom setting.

A mature student is able to choose the course and teaching format that suits their strengths, weaknesses and preferences.

3) A mature student can continue to earn money

Going back to education may only be possible for mature students if they can continue to work.

You probably have financial obligations such as rent, a mortgage or a family. Working while studying is a great way to gain a formal qualification without losing out on money or work experience.

Whereas many young students put their life on hold somewhat to study, mature students can continue working, saving or paying the mortgage.

Another advantage is you are more likely to be in a position to pay off some or all of your tuition fees as you go, or even secure sponsorship from an employer.

4) A mature student has work and life experience to help them

Work or volunteering experience can help you understand university material and apply it to real life. A mature student is often able to bring their life experience into the classroom to put academic material into a broader context.

This not only helps you understand the theory but may also gain you higher marks in assignments and essays as you can apply your learning both broadly and in depth. For example, an 18-year-old business student may not be able to understand and apply change management theories as quickly as a mature student who has been part of an organisation involved in change in the past.

5) A mature student is often more attractive to recruiters

Studying alongside other commitments impresses employers as a mature student demonstrates great work ethic and determination. An employer looking for someone with an accounting degree may choose the mature student with work experience over the young fresh-out-of-university applicant.

Being a mature student demonstrates you can go to work or look after your family and THEN study when non-students would be relaxing.

You should now know...

  • As a mature student, you might sometimes feel like you’re starting the race from further back in comparison to younger students…but this post shows that, actually, you may have a head start

Check out these further resources to help you become a kick ass mature student


How to Actually START Your Essay

Workbook + video training to take you from procrastination and overwhelm to understanding your question and mapping out your ideas with momentum. Easier, faster essay writing (and higher grades) await.

Start Your Essay

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