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UCAS defines mature students as 'any student aged 21 or over at the start of their studies'. One in every five students at Solent University fall into this category, and we pride ourselves on being a diverse and welcoming community.

Why enter higher education as a mature student?

There are many reasons for mature students to enter higher education: to completely change career direction and enter a new profession, to achieve personal goals and ambitions having missed earlier opportunities, or to improve current employment prospects.

What do mature students bring to the University?

As a mature student you have many attributes and transferable skills that 18 year old undergraduates might not. Your additional life and work experience will have equipped you with relevant skills in time management, problem solving and multi-tasking, as well as a passion and enthusiasm to study your course.

Remember, when integrating with other students in lectures and tutorials you are able to bring your additional knowledge and experiences to course discussions and debates. Other students will value and respect this input tremendously, making it easy to bond with your course mates.

Concerns you may have as a mature student

All new students who enter higher education, regardless of age and background, have anxieties about coping with the demands of a university course. Workload commitments, timetables, assignment expectations, examinations, accessing support and making friends are all common causes of concern. However, it's important to remember that this is normal and healthy behaviour.

If the thought of walking into a busy lecture theatre and being the oldest one there scares you, this is understandable. Try not to let it ruin your experience. Remember that everyone else is new as well and are probably also anxious for a number of other reasons.

You may already have financial commitments and therefore have less disposable income than other students. If you have financial concerns, you can speak in confidence to a member of the student funding team. Please email student.funding@solent.ac.uk or call in to the Student Hub once you are here to find about any support available to you.

Top tips before you start

  • Prepare your friends and family for the time that studying will take up, and that there will be times when you won't be available. Find out if there are practical ways they can help out, such as with childcare, to free up your time for studying. Try to involve those closest to you in what you are doing.
  • Don't assume that other students won't want to get to know you because you're older than them, or that you won't have anything in common. Remember, all students bring a range of experiences and interests to university, regardless of their age or background, so try to get to know as many people as possible.
  • Be kind to yourself - remember that any life change can take some time to settle down.
  • Try to get to know as many people as possible on campus. This will enable you to feel more connected and give you people to discuss assignments with.
  • Remember to take advantage of the support systems on offer if you need to - we want you to succeed! Don't suffer in silence - seek assistance rather than facing challenges alone.
  • Look at ways to bring your personality and experience before university into your studies to benefit you. You may already be skilled at planning your time, writing draft documents, or have an understanding of the circumstances that enable you to work at your best.
  • If you have any concerns or questions, have a chat with the team at either the Student Hub or Wellbeing Hub.
  • Come to our mature student orientation and networking event on Thursday 13 September, from 3.30-7pm. You'll be emailed a link nearer the time so you'll be able to sign up.
  • At Solent we host many social events inclusive to all students. There are also a lot of clubs and societies you can join - it all depends on how much time you have free, what you enjoy doing, and how much you want to get involved. Why not join the mature students society? Make sure you attend the Student Life Fayre on Thursday 20 September where you'll be able to find out about the different clubs and societies on offer.

Support for armed service leavers

Those who are leaving the armed forces benefit from all of the above support, as well specialist financial assistance (dependant on qualifying service). To find out more about support for armed service leavers, please follow the link below.

Find out more

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