Students aged 21 or over at the start of their course are regarded as mature students. Mature students play a huge part in the UK's Higher Education sector making up to a third of all full-time undergraduates. At the University of Suffolk mature students are a large proportion of the total student population, so you won’t be alone.
Mature students may decide to return to study for a number of reasons, including career or personal development, to pursue an interest or for a change of direction, and many choose to study part-time alongside other commitments.
Approaching higher education as a mature student can be both exciting and daunting so we have put a range of support measures in place to help and guide you.
Below are some frequently asked questions we often hear, and if you have a particular query about studying part-time please visit our part-time page or contact the Student Centre and our team will be happy to help.
Frequently Asked Questions
What support is available to me if I haven't studied for a while? Will I be able to get help writing assignments etc?
The Learning Services team offer additional support to students at all levels of study and provide year-round workshops in study skills, academic writing, referencing, maths, statistics, research methods and computer skills. Drop-in’s and one-to-one appointments with Academic Skills Advisors are available and the team also provides a range of online and downloadable resources for students to use.
Is childcare available?
The Student Life team can offer advice about childcare opportunities and the benefits and funding that may be available to students who have dependents. Alternatively, a list of childcare providers can be found on the Suffolk County Council website.
What financial support is available?
Students studying for an undergraduate degree in the UK do not have to pay their tuition fees in advance. Providing you do not already have a degree and you are eligible, students can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. The fees are covered by a loan supplied by the government and paid direct to the institution for you. There is no age limit on tuition fees.
I haven't studied in a while. How will this affect my application and what could I do to improve my chances of gaining a university place?
If you haven't studied for a while, you may wish to consider other studies to build your knowledge and confidence before you start a degree. These studies might include an Access to Higher Education Diploma, an A-Level, or your local Further Education college may have other interesting alternatives. Many colleges and other education providers offer Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English; another great way to brush up on your key skills. Admissions tutors will be looking for applicants who demonstrate they have the potential to successfully study at Higher Education level, so some experience of academic writing, researching topics and giving presentations would be beneficial. If you are considering applying for a more competitive or professional health course, Admissions Tutors will look upon recent study (normally within the last five years) more favourably. Recent study demonstrates your skills are current.
Reading around the subject you wish to study or undertaking work experience in a related area can also strengthen your application. Remember to note the transferable skills this work experience can give you in your personal statement when making your application.
If you are considering studying a nursing programme, or another professional health care course, you will need to meet the specific entry requirements for that course before you can be considered. The course pages will give you more information, or you can contact the Student Centre for advice.
Can I work alongside studying? How much should I expect to be in university/studying?
Most students are able to work alongside their course. How much you can work will depend on the type of course you're studying, your mode of attendance (if you are studying full-time or part-time) and the type of work you plan to undertake. Most students taking undergraduate modular degree programmes can expect to be at university two or three days a week. However, some students may need to spend more time on campus to use specialist facilities for independent project work, such as laboratory space and arts studios. For most courses it is recommended you undertake 200 hours of study for each 20 credit module taken, including class time. Your tutor will give you more guidance at the start of your course.
Our online career development platform FutureMe features an online jobs board which advertises part-time vacancies suitable for students, so students may wish to consider signing up for their regular updates.
If you are considering studying a nursing programme, or another professional health care course, it is recommended that you do not undertake additional work, or that this is kept to a minimum.
My question is not listed here, how do I find out more information?
For more information on studying at the University of Suffolk, prospective students are welcome to visit the Student Centre in the Waterfront Building in Ipswich. The Student Centre is your one-stop-shop, giving information and advice on aspects of student life. The team can also be contacted on:
01473 338833, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, why not visit us at one of our Open Events