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The thought of returning to education five years ago was off the table, I was terrified of being considered a mature student at the age of 22.
Fast forward five years and here I am, not only a mature student but one of the youngest people on my course! I have struggled with coming to terms with being called a mature student because growing up, I was led to believe attending university followed your A Levels.
This means most graduates are in their early twenties and, at times, I have felt like I’m too old or I’ve missed out on early opportunities.
However, there are many benefits to going to university later in life.
Motivation and passion
Mature students tend to have a different kind of motivation for their studies. This is normally because sacrifices take place when returning to studying including cutting back financially. Another sacrifice is losing free time outside of work if you choose to work while studying or staying in a role that you’re not able to progress in, for the sake of completing a sponsored degree.
These decisions require a calculated thought process and mature students tend to enrol on courses they are passionate about and want to continue learning about for the rest of their lives.
Read this LCN Says about being a mature student, mother and paralegal: ‘How to juggle parenthood studying and your legal career.’
Returning to studying usually means you’ve been working in the meantime whether it be full-time, part-time, related to your degree or something completely different. You’ll have developed key skills that you don’t usually have the opportunity to develop going straight from school to university.
Such skills include:
These life skills will help you approach your studies with a different outlook and might be easier to understand when you have some real life experiences to apply them to.
Flexible entry requirements
Higher education providers have different requirements for mature students applying for or starting a course. They tend to be understanding that A Levels might have been a long time ago so they will take your work experience into consideration as part of your application.
This was helpful for me as my A Levels, while they were not the worst, were also not the best and being able to use my legal experience to help me gain access to my course was great!
Networking is required in all walks of life and is certainly beneficial to everyone. Making connections everywhere you go may not be immediately useful, but you never know when you will come across someone again or need something as simple as a reference for a job.
For further information on networking, read this LCN Says: ‘A student’s guide to networking.’
The connections you make can be invaluable when studying or even after graduating and entering the industry of your choice. Having an updated LinkedIn profile and using this as a platform for virtual networking can be a great form of networking.
Read this LCN Feature for more information about networking: ‘LawCareers.Net’s guide to networking.’
The most important thing I have learned through being a mature student is that you will never be too old to change your life and do something you love. Age should not be a barrier to your happiness!