10 Tips for a Mature-Aged Uni Student

Mature-aged students, classified as 25 years of age or older, return to tertiary study for a variety of reasons – from career change to expanding current skills; for the enjoyment of learning or to fulfill a life-long dream.
Returning to study is awesome.

     Returning to study is exciting yet challenging at the same time

If there’s one thing older students can agree on, it’s that returning to study can be quite challenging! I wish someone told me what to expect before I went back to uni at an older age, so I thought to compile 10 tips I’ve learned along the way:

1. Learn to Live on a Budget

Some students vacate their full-time income to pursue study. One thing is for sure, when a household income is dramatically reduced, life can be challenging on the home front.

It really helps to micro-manage your finances and learn to live on a budget. Life may not be the same as it was with a regular income, but you will be surprised at how well you can manage.

2. Time Management

Planning your time is crucial for all students, yet more so for their older peers who are often juggling family obligations, work schedules and the demands of a mature-aged lifestyle full of responsibilities.

A weekly schedule of all your activities can be an effective management tool and one that balances all of your life’s commitments.

Plan ahead to succeed.

Plan ahead to succeed

3. Support of Family and Friends

Support from your significant other, family and/or friends can be one of the greatest motivator for an older student.

Your partner can step in to look after household duties and/or children; family can lend support by being encouraging and friends for simply understanding.

It’s a lonely road returning to study but you can thrive at uni if you receive all the support you can get.

4. Technology

Keeping up with technology will be instrumental in managing your study, especially for those who have returned to learning after many years away from the books.

Research is a big part of a student’s life so the sooner you get acquainted with the available technology for the betterment of your studies, the better your academic life will be.

Keep up with technology.

Keep up with technology

5. Connect with Other Students

It can be difficult to connect with other students when you think you’re too old. However,  you’ll find that a lot of your younger peers will appreciate and benefit from the wisdom you possess.

And you’ll be surprised at the amount of older folks who have made the same decision as you, so don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and connect with other students of all ages.

6. Join Student Clubs and Associations

Student clubs are the best places to meet like-minded people with common interests as you.

There’s a club out there for everyone and from my experience, you will make long lasting friendships with those from student associations.

There might be a club or an association for the older student so give it a go but join any club you please and make the most of it.

43051833 - portrait of student group outside college building

There’s a student club for everyone

7. Keep Focused

Life will distract you, bills will keep you up at night, constant pressure from assignment deadlines and looming exams will get overwhelming.

However, keep focused on your goals and revisit the reasons why you went back to studies.

And remember, your time at uni will not last long; therefore, concentrate on the end result as it’s worth it in the end.

8. Know What to Expect

You need to dedicate a substantial amount of time learning your material in order to be successful at uni. Investing 10 hours per week minimum on a subject is sure to reap positive results.

Expect to give up your evenings and weekends to study; that’s part and parcel of being a uni student. When you accept these challenges, you will be better prepared in giving it your undivided time.

Stay focused.

Don’t get distracted

9. Get Help Early

As soon as you encounter problems that you cannot solve, get help as soon as possible. Your professors want to see you pass your course and may provide consultation times to help you so use it wisely.

Don’t leave it to the last minute nor be embarrassed about asking for help as it may be the difference between passing or failing a subject.

Be mindful that psychological barriers can interfere with meeting deadlines, writing essays and preparing for exams. Seek help when you feel stuck, there’s bound to be a student counsellor on campus.

And it’s so crucial not to procrastinate! The longer you leave it, the harder it will get.

10. Set Up a Reward System

Last but not least, have fun along the way. Set up a system where you can reward yourself throughout the duration of a semester.

Rewards can be as simple as a new pair of shoes for passing a difficult exam or a little holiday interstate or overseas when you have passed the subject.

It will reinvigorate you to face other challenges in the upcoming semester.

Reward for victory.

Reward for victory


You will be faced with many challenges as a mature-aged student because of all the responsibilities you currently juggle. However, connect with other students of all ages, manage your time well and keep focused on your goals amongst other things. In no time, you’ll discover that returning to study is not only rewarding but also enjoyable.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” Nelson Mandela.

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1 Comment

  1. stacy hunt

    November 21, 2019

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not
    writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say excellent blog!

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