Every year, thousands of mature students go to university or college. It's a great chance to develop new skills and career options – at any age.
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Who are mature students?

Mature students are anyone over the age of 21 who didn't go to university after school or college. Some might have taken 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

There are many ways you can experience higher education. Around a third of undergraduates are mature students – of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Explore a subject you find interesting or rewarding.
  • Progress your career by increasing your skills and knowledge.
  • Change direction to take on a new challenge.

How to get into higher education

For full-time courses, you do all your research and apply for courses online through the UCAS website. For flexible and part-time courses, you would apply directly to the universities and colleges.

Don't worry about whether you are qualified to study at university – your original education or work experience may be enough, and if not, there are Access courses you can complete to gain entry. You also have the option of studying from home with organisations such as NEC (National Extension College)

  1. Get started on what to study, when to apply, and how to get a place. Open days give you the chance to ask questions and see what's available – find out when open days are taking place.
  2. Find a course by reading our advice on choosing a suitable course and university.
  3. Then start applying  submit your application before 15 January (18:00 UK time), or 15 October (18:00 UK time) the year before for Oxford, Cambridge or most medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry courses.
  4. Look into finance and support for advice on course fees, funding, and adjusting to university life.

Tips and advice for mature applicants

Take a look at our tips for mature students below.


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