Whether you have decided to pursue your GCSEs, A Levels, Degree or vocational qualifications as a mature age student, you are probably both excited and slightly daunted by the prospect of fulfilling a dream you have been harbouring for years.
Your circumstances are likely to be very different from those of the average students, fresh out of high school or completing their final years of secondary education, primarily because you probably don’t have the luxury of dedicating 100% of your time to your studies. There is a way to get ahead of the game, and this is by using time management skills to ensure your free moments are as productive as possible. Follow these handy tips and you’ll be an A-grade student in no time.
- Strictly plan out the time you have to complete assignments and review for tests. If you have a set number of tests and essays to complete this term, use a calendar to determine which tasks have priority and the exact days and times you will dedicate to each. This will stop you from taking too long on one task, over-researching or focusing too much on details instead of the big picture.
- Speak to your teacher or tutor about key areas: As a mature age student, building a good relationship with your teachers and tutors is key. Make sure you are on the right track when it comes to prioritising areas of study – you don’t want to waste a full Saturday reviewing topics that the teacher will most likely leave out in upcoming exams so identifying key areas will aid you in time management.
- See how your family can help: On some days, entire afternoons can probably be saved and used for study time if another member of the family (e.g. your spouse) takes over soccer or ballet duty. Even though you normally share household tasks and chores, don’t hesitate to ask for more help. The whole family is likely to benefit from the sacrifice you are making so cooperation is key.
- Update your skills: Find out if the school our university you are attending offers special courses to help mature age students learn new skills, especially in areas such as computers. Many universities also offer revision classes to help you for your final exams while others offer childcare services. Make sure you are fully availing of any opportunities that may make life easier for you.
- Choose the right university/college: If you are considering obtaining a degree, try to select a university that will bring out the best in you. Some universities and colleges have Middle Common Rooms (MCRs), a community comprising mature age and postgraduate students who benefit greatly from developing strong networks with others in similar situations to their own. Studying isn’t just about academic achievement, of course; many mature age students look forward to enjoying the social aspects of university life as well. Some institutions have special social events and associations for mature students. Others offer a careers advice service, available from the time you begin your studies. This will help you establish your final goal; after all, all this sacrifice should definitely be worth something, whether your aim is to improve your economic situation or work in the field that truly ignites your passion.