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If you are applying to university and you are over 21 then you will be classified as a mature student. There are hundreds of reasons why some people apply at a later stage in life, and there are thousands of people applying to get back into education every year.
People return to education to get ahead in their chosen career, completely change their career, gain extra qualifications or simply because they enjoy it. As with any school student, the first thing you need to do is choose which type of course you want to study and where you want to study it, and UCAS is an excellent resource - visit their website or call 0871 468 0468. Depending on your current qualification, and what you intend to do with your new qualification you can take an honours degree, foundation degree, Higher National Diploma or Certificate (HND or HNC), National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), or a Diploma of HE. Before you apply you need to make sure that you qualify for the course, and if you are taking the course to further your career make sure that it will definitely come in useful and impress future employers.
One of the challenges that sometimes faces mature students is fitting studies around your lifestyle, employment and family life, particularly if you have children. Our advice is to enquire at the university before you apply; what is the workload like? Can you study part-time? Do they offer flexible learning, for example, can you watch podcasts of lectures or download notes and course materials from their intranet? Does the university have an on-campus nursery? Universities take on mature students with many different circumstances each year, so it is likely that they will have facilities or at least be able to offer guidance to make studying easier for you.
The cost of returning to study must be borne in mind also. The two main costs involved are tuition fees and your living expenses, which will need to be covered if you are not working full-time. You can get support from both the government and the university you go to, please have a look at our student finance pages for more information. If you have exceptional circumstances, for example if you have dependants or a disability please go to www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance. If you are currently employed and you are studying to further your career you may find that your employer is willing to help out, either with funding, or by offering flexible working hours. Our best advice here is to do your research as soon as possible, and apply for any funding early.
Pure Potential would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best with your future studies. if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch. We have added some useful resources below: