Thinking of Returning to Education?

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It might have been a few years or a few decades, but it’s always tough getting back into the saddle when it comes to education. If you find the daunting thought of grueling exams and mountains of wordy academic texts unappealing, you’re not alone. However, when it comes to returning to education, our friends at Maynooth University have you covered.

Why Study at Maynooth University?

The Department of Adult and Community Education in Maynooth University takes an alternative approach when it comes to teaching and learning. This is vastly different from what a lot of people encountered through their previous educational experiences. There’s no knuckle-rapping on their programmes. Rather, their skilled staff value the knowledge people bring with them from their everyday life and work with you, the student to bring you right through the learning process. Mature students have life experiences that are incredibly valuable, whereas, anyone who has been working, either formally or as a full-time parent, learn skills along the way. These could be budgeting, time management or conflict resolution. In addition, being older gives you a different way of approaching problems. All of this can be very useful when returning to education.

Updates in Upskilling

This year the Maynooth University Return to Learning (RtL) certificate is being redesigned; it will cover Study Skills, Information and Communications Technology, Sociology and Local History. The new format will mean more choice for learners; students will get to sample subjects from the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences with lecturers who have years of experience in a wide range of settings. The Return to Learning course is designed for people who have been out of formal education for a number of years and who want to experience a university education without having to commit to a full degree. Not that that’s out of the question. Most of the time, returning students who do progress on to undergraduate degrees, often excel in their chosen subjects due to the solid foundation of academic research and writing skills that the course had given them.

Returning to Education: Facing that Fear

However, the Return to Learning course is more than just acquiring the mechanical skills that people need to succeed in Higher Education. For many adults, the initial step of crossing the threshold of a college can be very daunting. This can be enough to stop a person from even thinking about going to university. These initial qualms about being different from the majority of the students can be overwhelming. Whether it’s knowing how to do things like using the library or being competent on computers, on this course, they are dealt with over time. This element of personal development and confidence building is of central concern to the Maynooth team as adult educators. What the RtL does more than anything else is allow you, the student, time to come to terms with university life and begin to understand who you are as a learner. This is another reason why RtL students who progress onto either the full-time or part-time degrees do so well, they have learned how to learn.


There are a number of options on the Timetable. Students can study on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 10.00-12.30 or Wednesday and Friday mornings from 10.00-12.30 or Wednesday evenings from 6.00-10.00. Classes are small and the learning takes place within the classroom. You won’t have to go it alone, as all students will be guided by top facilitators/lecturers.

These courses have been described as life-changing, transformational and the best learning experience that people have ever had. The Return to Learning class of 2018 is shaping up to be on a par with the best of them. Make sure you don’t miss out.

Best of all, students who achieve a mark of 60% or above in their final overall grade will automatically be accepted onto further university courses.

Overcome Your Fears

Don’t take our word for it, however; James Dunne, a recent graduate of the programme has shared his firsthand experience: ‘After starting the Return To Learning programme in 2016, I didn’t know what lay ahead of me. My early experiences with education were negative, to say the least, and my confidence with learning was low. Throughout the months, my anxieties and fears left me and I experienced a transformation in my approach to learning. The skills acquired made the transition to higher education less daunting. Now I am ready to pursue my dream course in Accounting and Finance. I would highly recommend the Maynooth University Return to learning programme to anybody who would like to return back to education as it has changed my life for the better.’

RtL: Apply Now

Don’t be afraid to take that plunge; you deserve to put your future first and really make a go of studying this time around. To find out more about booking on to this programme, click here.

Speak with Maynooth University staff in person at our Education Expo event 8th September – register now for your free place.


Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
Training in Focus: Project Management
Adult Learning Options: Degree in Local Studies - Interview


  1. Mary Purcell 30th August 2018 at 4:21 pm

    I would like to update my IT skills

    1. Gemma Creagh 31st August 2018 at 10:13 am

      Hello Mary, that’s a great idea. So the article above is related to Maynooth Univerity’s evening part-time programmes. While they don’t have a focused IT course, they do provide technical support and basic training for anyone who books on their adult education programmes. The link below is a list of all IT-based courses we have listed. But training exists for all levels too, starting at basic skills with an ECDL, then moving upwards to a computer science postgrad so it’s whatever suits yourself!

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