10 great things about being a mature student
Studying at university a little later in life can be daunting for some, however it definitely doesn’t need to be. You’ll find that there are lots of benefits to starting university after the age of 21. Here are just some, and there are plenty more:
1. You have clear career goals
One of the best things about entering university a little later in life is that you’ve probably had some time to really make up your mind about what you want to do. Often during A-levels students can feel pressure to go to university, or to choose a course. Without having properly stepped into the working world, how can somebody be 100% sure what career they want to pursue, and what course will lead them there? As you’ve had a break from education (and probably experienced at least one or two different job roles) it’s likely that you’ve honed your skills, got a good idea of your preferred working style and discovered what you enjoy doing. That means you can make an informed decision about your course and select one which will lead you into a career you’ll love.
2. You're dedicated
Heading back into education after a gap can mean making certain sacrifices. It may mean you have less money than you’re used to, or less free time. We often find that mature students are more dedicated to their studies thanks to these sacrifices – they don’t want this to be a waste, so they make the most of the experience. There are so many opportunities for curricular, and extra-curricular advancement at Leeds Beckett. From guest lectures, to library resources to improve your academic skills, to work opportunities with our Job Shop that will allow you to build key skills – there’s so many opportunities to grab hold of, and we highly recommend you take them.
3. You have life experience
You’d be surprised at how valuable life experience can be in your academic studies. You may have experienced situations or met people that have given you wisdom, and you can add all of this into your academic work.
Another plus is that you’re likely to have experienced what life is like working full time. It may be a nice change to study at university and have more control over your working day. You’ll really savour the occasional lie-in or 2pm finish!
4. You already have work experience
When applying for work post-university, the vast majority of employers want to see evidence of relevant work experience. This provides you with key skills, shows you are responsible, and gives you references who can attest to what a great employee you are. As you’re entering university after a break, you’re likely to already have some (if not plenty) of work experience under your belt. Have a think about how these jobs have provided you skills that are relevant to the career you want to go into and discuss this in interviews and applications.
5. Entry requirements can be more flexible
Here at Leeds Beckett, we appreciate that your work experience is very valuable, and in some cases it can contribute towards entry requirements. There’s also the option for ‘accelerated entry’ in some cases, where you may be exempt from certain parts of your course if you have previous, relevant qualifications or experience. Contact our admissions team if you think you may be eligible for some of this flexibility, and they’d be happy to help.
6. You’ll have built connections
Networking is NEVER a bad idea, especially if you’re wanting to make your way into a new career. You never know who knows somebody that works in the area you’re interested in, or somebody who could open doors for you later in life. It’s great that you probably already have work experience and have begun forming relationships. Ensure that you make a professional LinkedIn page, and connect with as many former colleagues as possible, as well as key people in the industry you’re trying to crack. You might just find that when you’re next looking for work, or even career advice, one of these people come in handy.
7. Employers like self-improvement
Entering university after a break in your education demonstrates many admirable qualities. It shows maturity, a willingness to learn and even bravery – after all, it’s scary to make a big life change. As well as these, one major thing that entering university as a mature student shows is a dedication to your own self-improvement. Ensure you talk about this in interviews and on your CV, this will not go unnoticed by potential future employers.
8. You’re studying something because you’re passionate
Because you’ve had time to think through your choice of course, we’re sure that you’re choosing an area that you’re passionate about, or particularly good at – which is great! It’s important that you love the subject area of your course, as it really shines through in your work (as well as making it easier to get through those long stints in the library!). The saying goes ‘Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’, and that applies for your course too. By making a well-informed decision about the course you’re studying and the career it will lead you to, you’re increasing your chances of finding that all-important dream job.
9. Student perks
Finally, one amazing thing about entering university a little later than others is that you’ll really appreciate your student discount, as it may have been a while since you last received it. As Leeds is such a student-friendly city, you’ll find that the vast majority of shops, restaurants and places to socialise offer student discounts. It’s always a great feeling to save money, but when it’s on activities and items you’re used to paying full price for – it’s even better!
10. You get to make new friends you wouldn’t usually meet
University is great for meeting new people. First, you have your course. All of our course leaders know how important it is that students bond with each other, after all you’re going to be spending the next three years together, discussing topics, participating in group work and supporting each other with revision and assignments. That’s why most of our courses make special efforts in the first few weeks to help you get to know one another – from residential trips, to meals out, to welcome gatherings. We hear many reports of people bonding with fellow students of all ages on their course, thanks to their shared love of the subject.
There’s also plenty of other opportunities to make friends with all sorts of new people. There’s sports teams and societies, as well as part time work via Job Shop. These new friends can be really exciting, and open you up to social situations and life experiences you’d never normally have