A mature student is someone over the age of 21 who attends university several years after leaving school. For whatever reason, such as financial problems, family commitments, or even just a lack of interest in pursuing further education, they decided to seek employment right out of secondary school instead.
For some, this decision may leave them feeling limited as to what they can do with their career and how they can progress in a competitive environment where more people have a university education.
Does this sound like you? And do you ever wonder if you should (or could) take a break from work to pursue a tertiary qualification?
If so, read on to find out four reasons why it’s never too late to study abroad…
You’re more decisive
The decision to study abroad is one you have not made lightly and is something you have been thinking about for months, if not years. This means that, unlike school and college leavers who may still be unsure about what they want from the future, you know exactly what you want to do and the course you need to get you there.
You have greater stability
If you have been in employment for some time, the decision to study overseas is so that you can enhance your career prospects – it is likely that you have reached a point where you need to make a change in order to progress.
Alternatively, it may be that you want to develop your role within your current company and need a degree to do this. If this is the case, speak to your employer about taking a study break. If you can prove that the course will benefit you in your career, you may even be able to get them to sponsor you, which removes some of the financial burden.
Speaking of finances, if you have been working for a number of years, you may have some savings put aside to fund your studies, which means that you are more financially stable than the 18-year-olds who may have never worked in their life.
Entry requirements can be flexible
If the course you are applying for is relevant to the work you have been doing over the last few years, you may be entitled to apply for advanced entry to an undergraduate degree programme.
Applications such as these are often assessed on a case-by-case basis; you may be asked to provide an employment reference or attend a Skype interview to describe what you have been doing to ensure that advanced entry will not put you at a disadvantage academically.
Additionally, if you have been working for a number of years, you may even find that you can apply for postgraduate study without an undergraduate degree, again using your employment and professional certificates in place of formal academic qualifications.
Enhanced employment prospects
Although most degree programmes now offer work placements, very few school leavers will have the same amount of work experience as you. This, combined with your degree, will put you in a really unique position, which will enhance your employability prospects after you graduate.
If you’re looking to jump into a completely different line of work, obtaining a degree is something that will help your transition into a new career path, while potential employers will appreciate your work experience and maturity, as you will have likely picked up vital skills such as how to work in a team or how to communicate clearly and concisely with others from your previous job(s).
So now that you are convinced that the decision to study overseas is the right one, it’s time for action.
There are numerous education agencies in countries around the world which can provide you with advice and guidance about studying overseas.
It is also a good idea to look out for education fairs in your home country – this will give you the opportunity to meet with university representatives.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Universities have dedicated international offices which can help students through the process. So despite what you might think, there is a lot of help out there to get you started on your overseas education.