Challenges and misconceptions
Often, mature students will have similar worries and preconceptions about what university will be like for them. These can sometimes be based on truth. For example, it’s likely to be true that you will need to budget your money more effectively than before, especially if you are going from full-time employment to full-time study. However, there are plenty of preconceptions which we hear which are simply not true and are absolutely nothing to be worried about. Take a look through this list to see which these are - we think you may find it reassuring.
It’s inevitable that heading to university after a break in education will come with some challenges. It’s a big change, but don’t worry – Leeds Beckett can offer you an array of support to help you to manage. Here are just a few examples:
If you’re worried that your study skills won’t be up to scratch after taking a break in education, then Leeds Beckett has plenty of resources available to assist you. Our library can help you build a variety of skills, such as digital literacy, academic communication, maths, statistical analysis and using IT. Then there’s your course tutors. They are dedicated to helping you succeed on your course and will be happy to help if you’re struggling with any skills.
Juggling family life
We know that it can be difficult to fit in time for study when you have a family to take care of. It’s really important that you have a strong support system around you to support your learning, and that includes at home and at university. At home, you may need to let your friends and family aware of any big deadlines, so that you can plan childcare or any other responsibilities well in advance. You don’t want to be panicking before a large exam! At university, it’s vital that you inform your tutors of your family commitments from the beginning, so that if you ever do run into any difficulty juggling your commitments, they can help you. It’s worth letting your new course mates know too. If, for example, you were to miss lectures one day due to a family issue – it would be great to have people to share their notes with you. It’s worth remembering that plenty of people do well while juggling many different responsibilities, and with the correct support around you, you can too.
It's purely for me!
My course is something that I'm doing PURELY for me, and that is a big driving force. As an adult with responsibilities in the big bad world it is rare that you allow yourself to focus on something that is solely for your own personal growth, and it’s a fantastic feeling. At University I am no longer someone’s mum, I am my own person (if only for my contact hours!) and it has given me back a sense of self.
Kate (aged 35)
English and History
Financing your studies can be a challenge for everybody – no matter what their personal situation. As many mature students entering education have previously worked full time, it can be even more daunting to give that up and enter full time studies. However, there are ways of ensuring you can manage your money effectively. Firstly, you could get a part-time job alongside your course. Here at Leeds Beckett, we have our ‘Job Shop’. This is our university-run employment agency which is just for current students. Simply sign up, share your key skills and you will be sent job opportunities which suit you. You only accept the jobs that suit your schedule. In addition, we have our student money team who can support you with budgeting, money management advice, and even advise on things such as scholarships and bursaries.
If you’re planning on studying alongside employment, we can support you with this too. We have plenty of flexible study options, such as part-time degrees, flexible start dates, or distance learning. In addition, in some circumstances professional qualifications or experience can count towards the degree – meaning you don’t have to cover the entirety of the course content. Get in touch with our admissions team to learn more about any of these. In addition, our course tutors are there for support during your studies. If you know that you will be working alongside your studies, let your tutors know as early as possible. There may be ways that they can help to support you to be successful.
Find out more about our study modes.
Misconception one - you’ll be the only person over 18
Something which we hear a lot is that mature students worry that they will be the only person on their course that’s over 18 years of age. While this may be true in a few (very rare) cases, it’s definitely the exception to the rule. In fact, almost a third of Leeds Beckett’s student population is made up of mature students, meaning you’re likely to make friends of all ages on your course, regardless of which subject you choose. In addition, we often hear that mature students are surprised at how well they get along with their younger course mates. You’re all in the same boat after all - you have a shared love of a subject, you’re going through the same challenges and everybody is looking to make friends.
I made friends straight away
I'm pleased to say that I made friends on the course straight away with a mixture of people, but mainly a group of girls who are similar to my age who have similar lifestyles. I found that the course is full of people of all ages, and with lots of different circumstances - not just all your typical 18-year olds straight out of sixth form. I would say half of the course is made up of people who have come to university later in life.
Jenny (aged 26)
Speech and Language Therapy
Misconception two - you’ll struggle to make friends
This is something which we hear people worrying about a lot, but it is definitely not true. People worry that their age will mean that younger students on their course will not want to interact with them, which is simply not the case. You’ll soon find that the only person worried about your age at university is you. Don’t see yourself as a ‘mature’ student, simply a student – and make the most of all of the opportunities available to you in the same way that anybody else would.
There are many ways to make friends at Leeds Beckett. Our course leaders provide plenty of opportunities for people to bond with their classmates. For example, some courses host welcome parties, organise residential trips away or run intensive induction weeks. Outside of your course, there are also plenty of opportunities to make friends, and it’s not all about big nights out (although there is room for that if that’s what you’re into!). There’s Freshers Week, where Leeds Beckett’s SU hosts lots of activities – from tea parties, to club nights, to the Freshers Fair. Then there’s our societies and teams, and we’re almost certain that there will be one to suit you. If there isn’t, you can always form your own.