PS Tip 83: Mature students

If you’re applying through UCAS as a mature student, you’ll once again have an addition question to answer. This time, however, it’s not a question that is specifically required; it’s simply one that will arise in the mind of the admissions officer when they read your statement.

• Why return to education now?

Thankfully this won’t usually be too difficult to answer, as you’ll no doubt have asked yourself the same question. In fact, you’ve probably got a much better idea of why you’re applying for university courses than many of your younger competitors.

Generally, people apply to be mature students because they have a specific career ambition that has come upon them as a result of their working experiences to date – If that’s the case for you it’s particularly good, because it often makes it easy to relate your working experience and achievements back to the course at hand. If, for example, you got the opportunity to do some work with a start-up voluntary organisation, you might be applying for a business course with the aspiration of having your own start-up enterprise. Alternatively, quite a few people apply to nursing courses, for example, as mature students, as a result of voluntary or family caring experiences.

Universities are always willing to consider mature applicants, and although you’ll need to answer an additional question in the same amount of space, you will have the advantage of substantially more experience and achievements than your younger counterparts. You should absolutely use this to your advantage, and never be afraid to admit that you weren’t particularly inspired by your previous career choices – this can even be an additional reason for returning to education.

Now it’s worth mentioning that whilst it can be an advantage to have more experience to draw upon when writing your statement, it can also be a stumbling block in that it may be harder for you to write about everything you consider relevant in the tight 4000 character limit. If you have trouble doing this, I would refer you back to the previous tips on writing more concisely.

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