One of the encouraging developments in recent years has been the growth of lifelong learning. Increasingly, students are taking up courses at every stage of life. What was once seen as the preserve of the young is now rightfully an arena for all. Mature students decide to study for many different reasons, including improved job prospects, making a fresh start or purely for interest in their subject.
Do not be put off higher education by thinking that it is too late or that you may not fit in. At most universities and colleges, mature students form the vast majority of part-time students and a large proportion of the full-time student population.
Universities and colleges welcome mature students and value them not just for their enthusiasm, but also for their experience and skills. Because of this, course admission requirements are flexible and for many courses, a range of qualifications will be considered. A large number of universities and colleges also provide a selection of flexible learning programmes.
In terms of job prospects, the situation for older applicants is encouraging. Recent legislation means that employers cannot discriminate on the basis of age and, for most positions, age limits are no longer appropriate.
This section provides specific advice and guidance for mature students which is not in other areas of this site. However, all applicants may still find this information beneficial.
Learn about admissions policies for higher education courses.
Guidance on choosing courses and selecting a suitable university or college.
What to research and plan before choosing a course, such as location, childcare and accommodation.
Coping with studying
How to prepare for the changes that you or your family may have to make.
Sources of information and advice for mature students.
Read other people's stories about life as a mature student.
Questions and answers about applying as a mature student.
Mature Students' Guide 2013 (PDF)
Now that more routes are available, students of all ages are taking the life-changing steps of entering higher education to improve their job prospects, change their careers, or delve deeper into a subject area of interest. This booklet (previously the Lifelong Learning Guide) offers essential information and advice to those returning to learn some time after leaving school.