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Why you should be a mature student

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Published: 14 September 2020

Mature students in a lecture at the University of Sunderland in London

At the University of Sunderland in London, we like to celebrate people who choose to keep learning and self-developing throughout their lives.

Returning to, or starting, higher education as a mature student can be a difficult thing 

Learning how to study and write essays, balancing family and work commitments, and fitting in with the other students are all worries. 

But there is a lot to be gained from starting university when you're older, whether you’re looking for a career change, a promotion or just a new challenge. 

 

Success in later life

Plenty people got to be successful later on in life, from Charles Darwin who was 50 when he published On the Origin of the Species to Robin Chase, founder of Zip Car, who created the multi-million-dollar car-sharing company in her 40s. 

If you’re thinking about following in their footsteps and investing in yourself, check out these reasons why now is the time to do it. 

 

You know what you want to do 

As a person with more experience, you’re likely to know what you want to study and why.  

You’ll have had the chance to think about the things that interest and motivate you.  

That means you can choose a degree that’s more career-focused and will have a bigger impact on your future. 

 

You’re not alone 

One of the most common fears mature students have is that they won’t fit in with their younger classmates. 

But did you know that over half of students in the UK are older than 21 (59% in 2018/19 according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency)?  

That just shows that age is absolutely no limit to education. 

 

Your life experience counts 

Whatever you’ve been doing after you left school will have an impact on the way you study.  

Just by doing things like watching the news, reading books and spending time with other people, you’ve built on your knowledge of the world around you.  

Having wider experiences will help put what you’re learning in the classroom into a wider context. 

 

It’s a new adventure 

For school leavers, it can feel like their entire lives have been spent in education 

However, when you’ve had a break from studying, the whole system is new and exciting.  

If you’ve been working for ten years, then decide to come to university you’ll be breaking out of your every-day life. 

 

Employers love mature students 

Starting a career after university often relies as much on your work experience as your degree.  

While you’re with us, you’ll have access to our Careers and Employability team who can help you find part-time jobs and volunteering opportunities.  

As a mature student, you’re more likely to have built up work experience and have references already.  

That puts you in a great position when applying for jobs. 

 

Remember that life doesn’t have a schedule.  

You don’t have to follow the same pattern as anyone else.  

Being older than 21 shouldn’t limit you or stop you from studying and investing in yourself. 

We want to help you reach your goals.  

If you’re interested in studying with us, take a look at our course pages 

Make an appointment with our Careers and Employability team to talk about your career plans and how studying as a mature student can help get you there.  

Book a one-to-one with our Careers, Employability and Enterprise Manager at alice.mcdougall@sunderland.ac.uk or through Compass. 

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