The decision to become a student later in life is an enormous one to make. Life has moved on considerably since you were a teenager, and it is likely that you have a fair few responsibilities, too. If going to college has always been a dream of yours, continue reading for four considerations if you intend to make it a reality.
Going to college is not cheap. Taking out a student loan is undoubtedly an option to cover fees and allow you to have some money to spend on textbook and other college essentials. However, it is also worth noting that while you are studying, you are likely to have a significant reduction in income, too. Most mature students continue to have a job of sorts, but nothing full time. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that you will still be able to make ends meet.
Studying at college is not an easy undertaking. While you must set aside a certain number of hours for lectures and tutorials in person, it also requires extra time studying in the library or at home. As a mature student, you are more likely to have dependents. If you have young children, they will need far more of your attention than they would be as teenagers. Ensure you feel able to create the right balance. The last thing you want to do is feel guilty for bettering your life in one way but seemingly neglect others in another way.
The subject you wish to study is likely something that you have already given a lot of thought to. You may be considering undertaking a degree to further your career, in which case the area of study will be linked to the sector in which you currently work or the area into which you are keen to move. Alternatively, you may simply be wishing to explore an interest further. Whichever is the case for you, it is vital to ensure that you do all your research. Check out all the colleges which offer your intended area of study and ensure you meet the entry criteria. However, some will recognize that as a mature student, you are likely to have transferable skills and life experience, which may be just as beneficial as the actual numbers on paper. You may even need to sit an admissions test. College admissions differ from place to place.
Many undergraduate students choose to move away from their home time, allowing themselves greater independence and an opportunity to spread their wings. However, it isn’t quite so straightforward for mature students, especially if you have family members to look after and even an established group of friends. Making that leap when you are certain that you will be joining a student community whose ages, wants, needs and interests will be, on the whole, vastly different to your own is a brave step. That isn’t to say that we don’t advocate you doing it; we just feel that you need to be 100% sure before choosing to move away. If you live in an area with a college, this may be a wiser move, depending on your personal situation.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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