Going To University As A Mature Student (Part 2)

Research the university’s provision for mature students

(1) Establish the universities which explicitly cater for mature students and their particular needs. You are likely to consider online and distance learning courses (supplemented by some face-to-face teaching at periodic intervals). There are many programmes offering online/evening teaching/weekend classes and mixed-mode study patterns to help you better balance work and family with study. Many students will go for programmes delivered mainly online. Look at how the University promotes the scope, depth and quality of learning materials, virtual learning environments and resources. This will be of great help when studying independently. Don’t be afraid to contact the university and persist in asking questions via the student and enquiries office to get as much information as you can.

Is this course a good fit?

(2) Ask yourself, how does a particular degree fit into your career plan for the next 5, 10 and 15 years? Does the programme content and course structure really capture your interest? It’s better to develop some serious answers to these questions before going any further.  As an aside, universities will often have different entry requirements for mature students and usually take into account a broader range of criteria when assessing your application, including your work experience.

Choose a course that will markedly refresh, consolidate, extend and deepen your knowledge

(3) Ask yourself, how will this programme enrich your work? Look for a course structure and learning composition that will significantly help you gain a better technical understanding of your job role and therefore boost your level of expertise within your industry. Don’t just register for a degree programme that ‘seems ok’. This means asking yourself, does this programme refresh, consolidate, extend and significantly deepen what I know and will it enhance the way I operate in the workplace.

Compare the syllabi and courses from different universities

(4) Compare the syllabi for different institutions for the same ‘titled’ degree programme to further determine the actual course that best suits you. For example, studying for an MA in Human Resource Management at one university can be a vastly different experience compared to the same ‘titled’ degree at another institution. One programme may be richer in essay assessments and research requirements, whilst the other course may have more maths/statistical content as well as being more examination-heavy. This can make the difference between enjoying your learning and completely hating your studies, (depending on your preferences are). A careful and detailed comparison of courses online and using the prospectuses will give you a better idea of what programmes to focus on.

To be continued in Part 3

Click here for Part 1