My name is Kirsty Hall and I have just completed my second year at the University of Hull, where I am studying for an Undergraduate Degree in Education Studies.
I had always planned to go to university after college, but life threw me a curveball and I became a mum instead. After my partner completed his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and postgraduate diploma, and after we had another baby, the time finally felt right for me to return to studying! I had some good life experience, and my previous jobs helped me to develop and confirm I wanted to pursue a career in education. I think this is the biggest benefit to being a mature student – you really know what you what to do.
During the application process I was extremely nervous at how I would manage running a home, looking after my children, and studying. The university helped to calm my nerves by putting on two mature student days over the summer...
Make friends with older students! When it comes to university, you are left in the dark with a lot of things and aren’t given an awful lot of direction as you’re left to discover a lot of things for yourself.
The greatest help to get through first year is definitely second year students. Just think, they’ve been through everything that you’re about to: they’ve had to figure out how to adjust, what to learn, they’ve already sat and passed that exam you’ll have to do at the end of the year.
2. Understanding a little is better than learning everything
One of the things that took me a while to adjust to is how different the learning is from A-Levels. You don’t have a specification, so you have to decide what you think is important to know, and what not so much.
I began my BA (Hons) Photography at University Centre St Helens (UCSH) in September last year. I am the only mature student in my class, and at 57 years old, had been out of education for almost 40 years. My only qualifications prior to this were Scottish O Grades in arithmetic and
woodwork from 1977 and a GCSE in English from 2013.
I have been taking pictures since about 1980, but never really took it seriously until about four years ago. When I turned 55 I decided I didn't want to continue working in my current job. It was taking a massive toll on my physical and mental health, so I took advantage of recent changes in pension laws and took...
What is Clearing?
Clearing matches applicants to university places that are yet to be filled. It’s available to anyone who has made a UCAS Undergraduate application and doesn’t hold any offers. Running from 5 July to 18 October, you’ll be eligible for Clearing if:
you’re applying after 30 June
you didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept)
you didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
you've paid the multiple choice application fee of £26.50
Courses in Clearing aren’t just the ones nobody wants – there are many reasons why courses are still available. It’s an opportunity for those who have missed their conditions, or had a last minute change of heart about the...
Last year, thousands of places were available in Clearing, in courses ranging from science to history. Here are the five things that'll give you an understanding of what Clearing is.
1. What is Clearing?
Clearing runs from 6 July to 20 October and is an opportunity for anyone who hasn’t been accepted by a university or college to find a place on another course.
2. How do I know if I can use Clearing?
When you log in to Track, you’ll see if you’re in Clearing. In the ‘Next Steps’ section, there’ll be an option to ‘Add a Clearing choice.’
If you applied after 30 June, you’ll automatically be entered into Clearing.
3. Where can I find vacancies?
The first place to start is our search tool. When you search for a course, check that you click the 'Show courses with vacancies' in the filter down the left hand side. ...
Well, for starters, what is a mature student? Universities define this as anyone over the age of 21... not much help when you are over 40!
So, I am a real, 46 year old woman, who woke up quite literally one morning disillusioned with my career choice in education and decided I need to make a change!
So, I sat down, pulled all my certificates out, wrote down my strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes of careers, looked at the pathway to social work and family intervention, and thought right, put your big girl pants on and go get a degree!
Applying to UCAS is the easy part, and selecting the right uni is easy – the distance to my home, children juggling, school runs, and life is the hardest part!
My acceptance email from uni came and I whooped my head off in excitement, then it dawned on me...
Oh, my goodness... I’m 46 and going to be a full-time student!...
In October 2014, on the off chance, I called into my local university and it just so happened there was an open day on. I spoke to a lovely man who reassured me that if I wanted to enrol, I could, despite having two young children. I remember him telling me: ‘it won’t be easy, but you can do it, because I did.’ That year I chickened out. It was so easy to keep everything the same and not embrace the change. I consoled myself that the young man had a wife at home who could look after his children, but I regretted my decision, and so, the next year I went to the open day again. I found out as much as I could and applied to UCAS. I remember thinking that it was challenging to apply because I had been a stay-at-home mum for seven years and had no confidence. UCAS made the application simple and you could save it and go back, which I did many times. I was delighted to receive an offer and accepted it straightaway. This was just the start of my journey.
Each year, thousands of mature students apply through UCAS to study at a UK university. Unsure if this path is for you? Check out the inspirational stories from mature students studying at Staffordshire University to see if it’s the right journey for you!
Claire Wilkinson, Business management
I’m a single mum with two children – and a mortgage – living in Tamworth near Birmingham. I’ve worked for several years in a variety of different jobs, but I started to realise that the only way I was going to make real career progression was with a qualification as formal ‘proof’ of my skills and capability.
Studying an accelerated degree really appealed to me. It meant I could complete it in two years rather than three, reducing the pressure on family time and allowing me to get back into full-time employment sooner.
Like a lot of my peers at Staffordshire, I work part-time...
My last blog was about the things a mature student needs to consider… I’ll start my latest blog with a brief update on where things are at with me, as there were a few things I left open…
My health; I had my back surgery early last month; the surgeon is happy it went well. I had a badly slipped disc, so they cut away the part of the disc that was sat on the nerve. I’m still having issues with the nerve, as it was damaged, but the hope is that it will settle before too long. The great news is that last week I was given the all clear to start my rehab, so after four months of living a painfully sedentary existence, I’m now able to swim, do yoga & Pilates and play a little golf.
My long overdue return to work; I previously touched on my nervous breakdown on the...
As I write, I’ve just completed my first/fresher year at the University of Gloucestershire (UoG), and it’s been both an eventful and incredibly fulfilling experience so far.
Returning to study wasn’t a decision that I took lightly. At the age of 47, not unlike most people of that age, I had acquired a good set of life’s baggage and responsibilities. I also had a modicum of security in permanent employment, and a natural reluctance to jeopardise this. However, on the flip-side, I had a growing realisation that my career had reached an impasse. I had never really achieved the happiness and...