Going to uni as a mature student

There is lots of support available for mature students which you can find here as well as joining the Sheffield Hallam Mature Student Facebook group where you can access guidance and support from fellow mature students studying at Hallam. Here our #HallamInsider Zhanna talks about her experience.

Mature students are students aged 21 at the beginning of undergraduate studies, or aged over 25 years at the beginning of postgraduate studies. In the 2018-2019 academic years, 59% of all UK university students were mature students. It means that in every course you can find mature students.

I am a mature student and when I decided to pursue my masters degree at Hallam I was slightly worried if I would be able to cope with my studies and go “back to school”. I realised that I was not alone because I met many mature students at Hallam with different backgrounds and from different countries, those who decided to change their career path and those who decided to improve their career prospects by obtaining a relevant degree at Hallam. As a Hallam mature student, you have lots of advantages:

Mature student

  1. Mature students know what they want.

When I came to Hallam, I knew what I wanted to study because I had my career plan, and obtaining a specific degree would make me more employable, and help me to move on my career path, get a job in my dream company after graduation and grow my network.

  1. Mature students have experience.

My professional and volunteer experience in the industry did serve me in my university application process. I received my university offer quickly and without any problems. Apart from that, my work experience helps me to understand theoretical knowledge better, because I already know how it works in practice.

student with books

  1. Studying is a challenging, but new and exciting adventure for mature students.

At the beginning of my studies I was having some small difficulties, because I had to get used to doing a lot of reading, research, analysing and working with data – all this new academic work. Honestly speaking, it was a bit challenging but my enthusiasm and willingness to learn helped me to quickly adapt to a learning process. As a mature student you create new experiences and make connections. My professors were always a big support for me, they were there to help, explain several times if required and answer all my questions.


  1. Mature students make their own decisions.

Usually mature students are independent in decision-making. No one was forcing me to do my masters degree – that was my pure motivation. As a mature student you take your studies as a pleasurable process where you are developing yourself, not as a torture J Mature students also better plan their own time, balancing studying, family life and work.

  1. Mature students are inspired by other mature students.

At Hallam I met many mature students, with great career experience and ambitions to learn further and improve. Some of my professors, who already have PhDs, families and work, still continue studying, doing either professional training or other degrees. That inspires and you understand that learning is a life-long process. While choosing to continue your studies after a long break, try to choose a safe, diverse and supportive place where it will be a pleasure to study and an enjoyable learning process. In my case this place is Sheffield Hallam.



Written by #HallamInsider Zhanna Tlegenova