Who Wants To Be A Mature Student?

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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Who wants to be a Mature Student? You do. At this particular time of uncertainty, many people are reflecting on their lives. Now more than ever we should all be making plans for positive growth moving ahead. It’s important that we think ahead and project positivity into the future.

For some, maybe that means planning for the future or making changes in your life – embark on a new adventure, a change in career. For others, it may involve a return to education at an older age, becoming a Mature student.

It may be some time since you last thought of yourself as a student and maybe the idea of starting or returning to college amongst a group of younger people can feel daunting. There’s no need to be put off. These days it is very common for mature students to take up places on University courses. In fact, third-level institutions reserve a number of places specifically for mature students who want to return to education with both full-time and part-time options available. To put a number on it, in January 2018, there were 4,163 mature students enrolled in higher education institutions – that’s almost 10 per cent of total students. Plus universities are committed to expanding capacity for growing numbers and to drive adult lifelong learning in Ireland.

Generally, you are considered to be a mature student if you are at least 23 years of age on January 1 of the year you enter your course. 

You might be asking yourself the question – am I a typical Mature student? Well, the good news is there is no typical Mature student, so you’ll fit in anywhere! Mature students come in many guises and from a wide variety of backgrounds. They could be someone who took a few years out to work or start a family. Others are returning from time spent abroad. Or someone who is mid-career looking to develop existing skills or learn new ones. Some are looking to change their careers or take a different direction in life. Some are single, some have children, some have grandchildren. They range in age from young to old. Some are working, others are not, some maybe starting out and some maybe retired. 

Although the type of mature student ranges, the one thing that unites them all is that they know why they are in college. Each mature student will have a specific reason why they are studying. They have thought about it, probably over and over again before making that decision to pursue a particular line of study. Rest assured that if you are thinking about going to college as a mature student, you know what it is you want to get out of it. 

Maybe it is to enhance your employment opportunities or to ensure that promotion. Maybe it is to get back into the workplace or to research a particular subject in depth. Whatever the reason, you can be sure that it will be a major motivating factor in ensuring you do well and make the best of the learning opportunity given to you and give it your all in order to achieve your learning objectives. 

Returning to college as a mature student means you have put a lot of thought into your subject choice. You know what your passions are, what motivates you, what works for you and what interests you. This will stand you in good stead when it comes to mastering the subject you have chosen to pursue. It is worth noting that the drop-out rate is low and the success-rate is high. 

Mature students contribute to a more diverse student body in Irish higher education. One of the great things mature students have is life skills and perspectives. Mature students are well known to enhance classroom discussion in the classroom, bringing all that life experience and perspective to the table. Plus, whatever your particular set of skills are, you can be sure that they will help you put one foot forward when stepping into the academic sphere.

If you are looking to enhance your career, becoming a mature student will give your CV that extra shine when it comes to putting yourself out there on the jobs market. With experience and qualifications now in your back pocket you make yourself a more attractive prospect to potential employees. If you’re in contention for a job with someone fresh from college with similar grades, your experience could be the difference when it comes to impressing the employee. Also, having been a successful mature student is a terrific addition to your CV as it shows that you are the proud owner of both a strong work ethic and a determination to take control of your life. You have proved that you are up for a challenge, strive to be successful and that you are  able to manage to work towards your goal. You’re hired!






Steven Galvin

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