Mature Students: Choosing A University

For many mature students, choosing a university to study at is far more than selecting an institution that teaches the degree programme you wish to study. 

If you have few commitments, then choosing where to study can involve choices that are no different than those of a school leaver, however many mature students have other responsibilties to take into consideration, including caring responsibilities, current work commitments and financial constraints, to name just a few

Here we break down some of the details of some of the issues you might wish to take into consideration when making your UCAS choices as a mature student:

1. Are you are tied to your local area or can you move away?

This is probably the biggest determining factor in your university choice.

It may be that you have children in schools that they are doing well in, or elderly parents who you need to care for, so moving away in these circumstances could be difficult. If this is the case for you, choosing a university closer to your current home could be a better choice as it would mean that any changes to current routines and situations could be minimised, plus you could save money on moving and finding new accomodation (which is often more expensive in university towns and cities, anyhow). 

Similarly, many universities do not offer family accomodation in halls of residence, and finding family friendly accomodation locally can often be difficult.

It's worth considering how much of a commute you are able to commit to, and what universities you have local to you. It might be that being able to travel up to an hour or so, opens up lots more choices (depending on where you live).

If caring responsibilites are not something you need to consider, then the option to move further afield, if you wished, could be another option. You can find further advice on making a decision in these circumstances in the detailed advice in our choosing a university section.

Finally, your choice of programme could be limited if you are not able to move from your current location, especially if you are hoping to study a degree in a niche subject. Most large towns and cities will have universities that offer popular degree choices, such as Business or Nursing, so the chances of finding a university to study at locally would be increased. However, if you have your heart set on Surf Science, then you may not have much option but to relocate or change your plans!

2. Do you need any specialist facilties or support to facilitate your studies?

Again, this will depend on your circumstances, and the best way to find out more if a university has the facilities to support you through your studies is to attend an open day on campus, or to speak with student support staff directly.

Things you might want to consider include:

  • Childcare facilities available for students
  • Specialist student support for mature students
  • Accomodation reserved for mature students

3. What kind of study environment would you prefer?

All universities will consider mature students. However, as a mature student you might want to consider what type of student body you want to be part of. Some universities have a heavier balance of mature students to younger students, and you might find this suits your study style better.

Similary, you might want to consider whether you would prefer to attend a smaller or larger institution, and whether you want to go to a university in a big city or somewhere quieter; you will know your own personality and the enviroments in which you thrive.

You can read more detailed advice in our choosing a university section.