Leicester College Blog

Mature Students’ Survival Tips


At Leicester College, many of our students are over 21 when they begin their degree course. That means they’re mature students who have had time away (sometimes a long time away) from the classroom. At DMU, over 25% of all students are over 21. All change brings anxiety, and it’s natural that the transition to university can be stressful – even if you’re not moving away from home for the first time.

There is some good news. If you’re taking a degree with Leicester College, you’re entitled to use De Montfort University’s facilities. You’ll become a member of the Student Union. This means you will have access to the libraries, gyms, societies, and accommodation facilities. Your degree will also be awarded by DMU.

Once you’ve enrolled on your course, hopefully everything will be fine. But because you’re a little older, your needs will naturally be different. The following are some handy hints for our mature students.

You deserve your place

A crisis of confidence is quite normal for students of any age. It can seem that others on your course are better qualified than you, more skilled, or more intelligent than you. The truth is that everyone has had a different journey, but you’ve all ended up in the same place.

You deserve to be where you are – and you bring the benefit of additional life experience to the table.

Get organised

Mature students are more likely to have jobs, care responsibilities, children, mortgages, and other demands on their time and finances which don’t affect a typical school leaver. That means there’s more to balance – but your drive to succeed is often higher than someone who’s not making similar sacrifices. You can use your experience of having full-time work to help you balance your time.

Find others like you

As a mature student, you’re hardly alone. DMU even has a Mature Students Society which costs just £2 to join for the year. They’re responsible for organising all kinds of events just for you – think family-friendly gatherings, wine and cheese evenings, coffee mornings, and even big nights out. They’ve also got an active Facebook page.

Meet your tutor

All students are assigned a personal tutor, who should have designated office hours. Take advantage of this and talk through any concerns you have with them – and don’t forget to check back in throughout the term. If you’re having any course-related struggles or need some extra assistance, your tutor can be the first port of call.

Prepare with an Access course

Even if you already have A levels or other higher qualifications, if there’s been a long gap since you last studied or you want to update or refresh your skills, an Access course could be the answer. These courses are designed specifically for mature students who want to begin their degree. They teach study and research skills as well as subject-specific knowledge. We offer Access courses here at Leicester College, and your tutor will help you through the university application process. Even better, if you choose to take out an Advanced Learner Loan to pay your course fee, you can get the whole amount written off when you graduate from a recognised degree course.

Making the choice to return to learning when you’re a bit older can be daunting. But it can also be the chance to change careers, or get the education you’ve always dreamed of. You can see a full range of our higher education courses here.

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