Choosing the right university or college can make all the difference.
- There are many different kinds of college and university, each with their own distinctive mission, character and student profile.
- Some specialise in technology, while others have a stronger focus on the humanities and social sciences.
- Some have a large international student intake, while others largely recruit locally.
Stay closer to home
Increasingly, higher education courses are also available in further education colleges.
This is good news for mature students who want to stay close to home, or save travel or relocation expenses.
Wherever you study, accommodation remains a key consideration. Costs can vary considerably depending on where, how, and who you live with. Many course providers have halls of residence, with or without catering provided. Some are single-sex and others mixed. While a number guarantee accommodation for first-year students, it's common for second and third year students to rent bed-sits, flats, or houses from the private sector with the help of the course provider's accommodation office.
- An increasing number of universities and colleges make some specific housing provision for mature students and their spouses and/or children.
- You should make early contact with the course provider’s accommodation office, particularly if you need family accommodation.
I have achieved far more than I ever thought possible, and turned my life from one of staid acceptance of being disabled, to one that is active, challenging and rewarding, and ultimately allows me to enthuse and encourage other adults to aim for academic achievements."
Elle Boag, Southampton University
If you're going to need childcare support, contact the student services office of your chosen university or college at an early stage.
- what provision is available
- how much it will cost
- if it will give you sufficient time to study
Facilities vary considerably and there is often competition for places. It is therefore a good idea to apply early for nursery or crèche places. For advice on provision and benefits you should contact the Daycare Trust, a charity promoting childcare facilities within higher education.
Full-time or part-time?
A significant number of mature students opt for part-time study. For some, this is primarily to fit around work or family commitments, while others feel more comfortable with this mode of study.
- Explore your options gives you more information about the types, lengths and levels of courses on offer.
- The admissions teams at each uni and college can also advise you on studying part-time and can offer more information on accommodation, crèche facilities and other forms of support available.
- Compare universities based on your own criteria in the complete university guide.
- Compare data and information on courses in the UK on the Unistats website.
- Search for foundation degrees.
- Data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
- Information on childcare support in higher education.
- Graduate careers advice.