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Being a mature student – benefits and advice


If you’re worried about fitting in with your classmates as a mature student at college, or coping with returning to study, don’t be. Being a mature student comes with some huge advantages. Here’s what you need to know.

You’re not alone

Around a third of students in the UK are ‘mature’ and this certainly doesn’t mean ‘old.’ The term actually just refers to anyone aged 19 or over. You may have left school at 16 or are returning to study after post-16 education, or perhaps you want to take your career in a new direction. Whatever your reasons for becoming a mature student, you’re in good company.

Transferable skills

“Universities and Further Education colleges value mature students for the skills, motivations and life experiences that they bring with them,” says the NUS report ‘Never Too late to Learn.’

The Sheffield Hallam University mature students website agrees: “Because of their greater life experience, mature students tend to overcome problems more easily, and this contributes to their relatively greater academic success.”

Clearer motivations

If you decide to return to education, chances are the decision to do so is your own, not someone else’s. Younger students’ decisions are often influenced by their family, friends or teachers, whereas a mature students has made an informed and independent decision about what they want to study, and have a clearer career path planned out. Mature students have their own goals to motivate them.

Access courses

Our Access to Higher Education courses prepare you for university-level study if you’ve been away from education for a while or don’t have the traditional qualifications needed to apply for university. You can get used to being in the classroom again, whilst learning the study skills you need to complete a Higher Education course and gaining knowledge of your chosen subject area.

Explore Access to HE courses 


The government now offer Advanced Learner Loans for students aged 19 or over to fund all or some of the costs of study a course at Level 3 or above. This includes A Levels, Access to Higher Education, BTEC Extended diploma and NVQ Level 3 or higher.

Find out more about funding your course 

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