Mature students

Thinking about higher education?

Every year thousands of adults go to university or college.

  • It's a great chance to develop new skills and career options at any age.
  • You can study part-time or full-time - whatever suits your lifestyle best.
  • Whether you've been working, travelling the world, supporting a family or paying a mortgage, there are many ways you can experience higher education.



A guide for mature students

Click the image above to view, download or print our guide for mature students applying to higher education. Please note: you may find problems with the links and videos if you are using the browser Mozilla Firefox; selecting to view the document in Adobe Reader should solve this.

Different subjects to choose from

There are so many subjects you can study – here are just some of them.

Who are mature students?

There is no typical mature student. Defined as any student aged 21 or over at the start of their studies, around two fifths are aged between 21 and 24, a fifth between 25 and 29, and a further two fifths are over 30 when they commence their courses.

What are the benefits?

Around a third of undergraduates are mature students of all ages and backgrounds expanding their knowledge in higher education. This could be you too.

  • Explore a subject you find interesting or rewarding.
  • Progress your career with new skills and knowledge.
  • Change direction to take on a fresh challenge. 

The most fantastic experience of my life... It’s like I’m seeing a whole other world that was hidden to me."

Amanda Scales, Sussex University

How do you get into higher education?

There's quite a bit of research to get started on – from choosing a course type and learning style to deciding on a subject and a location.

If you're wondering whether you'll qualify to study for higher education, your original education or work experience may be acceptable, and if not there are Access courses you can complete to gain entry.

Take a look at the steps below:

  1. Courses - see what types of qualification there are, how to choose a course, how to meet entry requirements, where to study and what student support is available.
  2. Finance - find out if you can get a student loan or financial support to help with tuition fees.
  3. Application - check how to apply and what to include in your personal statement.
  4. Preparation -  see how to get ready for your course and what to expect.

Life itself became more satisfying, more curious and, at the same time, less complicated."

Alan Markland, Bolton University