Over recent years there has been a decline in the number of mature students applying for and entering higher education, according to UCAS these numbers often decline when the job market is at its best. When the economy is struggling, and unemployment levels are high, the applications for mature students increase. While this makes complete sense, it sounds like mature students mostly exist as a final option and due to not having much choice. This is a real shame as being a mature student is fantastic, very rewarding, and one of the best things you can do as an adult. According to Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, “Mature students have different motivations, expectations, and needs compared to their younger counterparts. Entering full-time higher education as an older student is a life-changing commitment, reflected in the focused choices many older students make to pursue highly vocational subjects.”
Do you ever wish you could do school again, now you know what to expect and what to do? How much better would you be and how much more would you enjoy it? Well, with Uni, even if you’ve not been before, the benefits of age and experience make going later on in life such a better experience, so if you’re contemplating it now, here are a few reasons why you should bite the bullet and go for it because as a mature student…
You Are More Relaxed
Of course, there’s going to be initial nerves; you might have second thoughts over whether you’ve done the right thing, should you have quit your job? Will everything be okay? Is it all worth it? But if you put those to one side and feel confident that you’ve made the right decision (because you’ve thought it through, you’ve not gone into it lightly and really you know it’s all going to be alright), you will have a look around and notice that those younger students are far more nervous than you. They don’t have a clue what’s going on, they might not have had a choice about being there, and you have a far more transparent motivation to guide you in your studies. Even if you don’t know what you will do after you’ve finished your degree, take comfort in the fact you’ve been through many situations in your life already and survived.
You Have Life Experience
Think back to when you were 18, think about how much you have done since, how much you have learnt and how much you have changed. As a mature student, you benefit from a range of experiences which you take with you into your new academic life. No matter what these experiences are, they will help you, but you just have to be careful that they don’t also hold you back because you are already set in your ways of thinking. Remember to have an open mind, don’t compare and just observe, this way, you should learn a lot and learn to be more resilient.
You Understand Things Differently
The fact that you have experience and the fact that you have chosen to be in your lectures rather than feeling that you have to be there means that you will listen and understand them in a totally different way than your younger fellow students. There will always be some things you don’t understand, but you will find a way to deal with it. You will more than likely understand what your lectures are about because you will be able to apply what’s being taught to reality because you’ve already worked on a similar project in your working life meaning you’ll be far better-equipped than many of your course mates.
You Will Have A Good Bond With Your Professors And Tutors
You will probably find bonding with your professors and tutors far more natural than the younger students. You will have more confidence when talking to them, won’t see them as ‘old’ as the younger students do, and you’ll find you’re able to speak with them about various concepts in both theory and in practice, and also relate their teaching to your working life.
You Will Really Appreciate Your Student Discounts
Once again, you can have access to a load of discounts and promotions you haven’t been able to claim for ages. There are discounts on food, drink, shopping, travel, going to the theatre, cinema and other cultural events. You can get discount on technology and your equipment for Uni as well as qualify for a SMARTY student sim card for your phone. You might even find that you get a discount rate for a mature student loan and could be eligible for mature student funding or some form of tax exemption due to being a student.
You Can Manage Your Time Better Than Others
You’ve worked, you have the experience, and you’ll find that when there’s a lot going on, you’ll automatically be able to prioritize things, value your time and pick and choose events that will be of interest to you. You won’t be tempted by as many partying events as the other students and will spend your time reading instead of all night drinking.
You Know How To Network
Your life experience makes networking and building relationships with people so much easier. You won’t be as nervous or as awkward as your younger counterparts, and you’ll make a tonne of friends. There should be some societies and clubs exclusively for mature students too, so you benefit from those as well as all the others. You will know that either other people are in a similar situation so that will give you something in common already or when speaking to the younger students you will find it easier to take the lead, start the conversations and use your experience to help them feel at ease too.
This is a contributed post.