Challenges for mature students

Being a mature student, you are likely to have more life experience than the majority of students. Whatever your background, you will be able to draw on your previous experiences and achievements in this new pursuit. 

You may also find that there is some challenges to overcome, but we can support you with these and enable you to make the most of your time here.

Managing your time

You may have responsibilities other than your university work to consider. Whether it is work, children or a relationship, you will probably have more of a juggling act to do than other students. Being realistic about how much time each of your commitments will take up, and what the priorities are, will make planning your university work easier.

You may like to use a paper or online diary to plan out your time - first year undergraduate students are provided with a student diary, which are also available to purchase from the Aston Webb Reception (R6 - Edgbaston campus).

Take time to understand how you study best:

  • Do you prefer peace and quiet, or background noise?
  • Do you prefer to study alone or with others?
  • Do you study better earlier in the day or later in the evening?

There are no right or wrong answers, it's about understanding what works best for you. We have a range of study spaces available on campus, and there are plenty of ways you can stay connected with the University online.


You may already have financial commitments and therefore have less disposable income than other students. 

Make sure you take advantage of all of the financial support available to you and keep in touch with the University if you are experiencing financial problems.

Engaging in the student community

Engagement in the student community is an important part of being a student. You will be able to discuss course work, assignments and your experiences with others in the same situation. 

There are a number of ways you can get involved in the student community so you can choose the best option for you. You might want to join a student group, take on a role like Student Rep or get involved in volunteering.

It may also be helpful to get to know some other mature students, who understand the situation you are in. Postgraduate and mature undergraduate students can join the Postgraduate & Mature Students Association (PGMSA) at the Guild of Students for free.

Previous academic experience

Some mature students experience challenges because their previous learning experiences are different to the enquiry-based learning style at the University, or because they may be returning to study after a period of working or other responsibilities. Remember that study at university usually feels like a step up for all students, regardless of age or background, so you are not alone. Your experiences will also help you bring a different perspective.

You can familiarise yourself with the learning style at the University using our online facilitie, the Academic Skills Gateway.


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