Every year, thousands of adults go into higher education and many study at a conservatoire. It's a great chance to develop skills and career options.

Who are mature students?

Mature students are anyone over 21 who didn't study a higher education course after school or college. Some took gap years to volunteer and travel the world, while 40% of mature students are over 30 and have had work, mortgage or family responsibilities.

Studying as a mature student

Around 20% of higher education undergraduates in conservatoires are mature students – of all ages and backgrounds – and there are many different music, dance, drama and production courses available at conservatoires.

  • Develop a talent or skill you enjoy.
  • Progress your career by increasing performing experience.
  • Change direction to take on a new challenge.

How to apply to a conservatoire

You can do all your research and applying for courses online through the UCAS website. Undergraduate conservatoire courses are studied full-time, while postgraduate study has full and part-time options.

Don't worry about whether you are qualified to study at a conservatoire – your original education or performing experience may be acceptable.

  1. Get started on what to study, when to apply and how to get a place.
  2. Find a course and read our advice on choosing a suitable course and conservatoire.
  3. Then start applying, if possible submitting your application before 2 October 2023 (18:00 UK time) for most music courses, or 31 January 2024 (18:00 UK time) for other courses (2024 entry dates). Exceptions can sometimes be made for international applicants though, or for postgraduate courses. Please check the conservatoires' websites for full details.  
  4. Look into finance and support for advice on course fees, funding and adjusting to conservatoire life.

Tips for mature applications

We have specific advice for mature students throughout the website whenever there's anything extra you need to know.
Tips for mature student applications