Returning To University: Top Tips For Mature Students

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” 

― Socrates

There is always an element of fear when doing something new. When it comes to returning to university, this can ring true for many. If you’ve been looking for advice on handling your return, look no further! Check out these top tips to help you get back into education.

Higher education is for everyone, regardless of your age

Mature students are those over the age of 21 who, often, didn’t get to attend university after school or college. In 2014, more than 100,000 UK applicants aged 20 and over had secured a place at university. And UCAS’s Chief Executive Ms Mary Cook said that it was a reminder that university “…is not just for 18 year olds after leaving school…”

So don’t ever feel that your age you stop you from embarking on higher education. Why should it? As long as you have a passion and interest to learn and develop new skills, don’t be afraid to take the plunge!


Make a schedule

If you’re worried about how you will manage your time along with other responsibilities like childcare or work, make a schedule. This will come in handy if any changes are made to your timetable and you suddenly have to find a babysitter or reschedule an appointment.

Prioritise your assignments and other non-academic commitments. It might seem a little daunting at first to have to juggle your studies with your day to day responsibilities, but it isn’t impossible. Take it one day at a time – you can do it!

You can contact your student services officer if you need help with childcare provisions. Make sure you contact them early as possible though because there might be competition!


Life experience under your belt

Previous research has shown “mature students exhibit more desirable approaches to academic learning.” As a mature student, you can adopt a mature approach to your studies.

You might’ve already secured employment and have been working for a couple years before returning to university. If so, you’ll know how to communicate with others, organise your time well, and how to solve problems and work together for the common good.

You might even have lots of experience working with people from different backgrounds. So don’t be shy to talk to your fellow students, tutors or lecturers.  Use everything you’ve learned and experienced to your advantage!


Join the Mature Students Union

Many UK universities have student unions to help their mature students feel more at home. Get a pen or computer and sign up! Or check to see if you’ve automatically become a member when you enrolled.

Being a member of a union will give you access to support, services and representation to help make your experience at university unforgettable! It’s also a great way to meet other mature students and be a part of their network, or any social and academic events throughout the year.



Some universities have said their mature students don’t actually want to live in halls. You might also be thinking the same thing. Don’t fret! If you want to live in alternative accommodation, check to see whether your university provides specific housing for mature students. The earlier you contact the accommodation office the better, as you will want to secure a place as soon as possible.

Remember that the cost for accommodation may vary depending on where you are and who you’ll live with. If you’re curious to know which universities have the best student halls, then you might want to click here!

Making the decision to head back into university can be so exciting, so embrace it! You can reap the rewards and find new meaning and passions that you might not have discovered before. What happens, you should never be afraid to stop learning.


Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs, visit their website.