Twenty-one plus

Returning to education can be a challenging experience if you have not studied formally for some time, and it may require some significant changes in your lifestyle. There could be effects on your family and financial commitments as well as new challenges to you as a student.

Jayne Tidd, senior lecturer

Jayne Tidd, senior lecturerI came into higher education after having taken a break from work to bring up my children. Although I had studied for an A level the year before I still had doubts about whether I would make it as an undergraduate student:

  • was I really capable of writing a good 3,000-word essay?
  • would I fit in?
  • how would I find everything I needed?
  • could I juggle children, home and study?

On that first day there were so many people about who all appeared a lot younger than me and looked like they knew what they were doing. Of course we were all in the same boat, but I would have appreciated having someone I recognised to say ‘hello’ to. As well as learning about my discipline I learnt a lot about myself during my studies and made some lifelong friends. I now have a psychology degree, a master’s degree, a teaching qualification and I’ve been working at the University since 2002.

Successful study

As a mature student you bring with you skills and experiences from your time in the ‘real world’. Staff and fellow students appreciate and value this particularly when you are highly motivated and determined to enjoy the academic experience.

If you have not been involved in any formal study for a while you may feel your skills are a little rusty. There is no evidence mature students have less effective study skills than anyone else and in general results are as good as, if not better than younger counterparts.

Resources to help you

The University is committed to ensuring all our students have the support and guidance to complete their course and gain employment. Your main source of academic support will be your course and/or personal tutor and many courses provide modules that incorporate study skills. But check out the menu on the left for information on our student support.

Student handbook

You can also refer to our online student handbook for information.
Student handbook


From mentoring to volunteering and advice about your future career be sure to check in with our careers service.