At University Centre Leeds we celebrate every student journey, whether you’re returning to study or retraining in a new field. If you’re considering joining us as a mature learner, read on to find out how we can support you.
Who is a mature student?
A mature student, or mature learner, is a person who studies for a qualification at the age of 21 and over.
Our mature student community includes individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Students range from those in their early twenties who have taken a couple of years out of education, to those in their forties or above who might be looking for a career change or professional development.
Mature students are valued for their life experiences, which can be drawn upon and reflected in coursework.
“I never thought I had the ability to go any further until I went to the progression meeting. It made me think that I was able to continue with my education and complete the BA (Hons) in Children and Young People’s Care and Education.” – Kelly Langton, former student
Studying with University Centre Leeds
You’re not alone – a significant proportion of our students each year are mature students.
It is normal to feel apprehensive about returning to education, which is why we offer a wide range of support from your first inquiry to graduation and beyond.
We believe our approaches to timetabling, along with the support we have on offer, equip mature students with the skills and confidence to succeed. We know it’s important to have a work-life balance that considers other commitments, such as parental and caring responsibilities or employment. Our full-time timetable consists of typically two days a week on campus (or online learning, where relevant).
Having had some experience in the workplace, it is likely that you have developed many skills and have a clear idea, and passion, about the course you want to study, why, and how it will help you in your chosen career. Returning to education also demonstrates a commitment to self-improvement, something employers value.
Similarly, making the decision to return to education is likely something you have thought hard about and are dedicated to in order to make the most of the experience.
What courses can you study and what are the entry requirements?
All our courses are available to study as a mature student, subject to you meeting entry requirements. You can search our courses using the search tool below.
Specific entry requirements are listed on each course page however we still accept applications from applicants who may not have met the academic criteria, but can demonstrate a wealth of experience in their chosen field. Candidates in this category and otherwise are likely to be interviewed to assess their suitability for the course and may be asked to provide a portfolio of evidence to support their application. If you think this describes you, please get in touch with our Admissions Team to discuss a potential application.
Frequently Asked Questions:
At University Centre Leeds around 50% of new students each year are at the age of 21 and over. In very few cases, some courses may recruit less mature students than on other courses, but it is rare. There are also opportunities, activities, and groups outside of the classroom where mature students can socialise and support each other.
Our student community is diverse and our students welcome this. Students typically interact with each other very well, regardless of age. All students have access to the same opportunities and activities and there are many ways that students connect with each other and bond with those in their class as well as across University Centre.
We understand that it can be very daunting as a parent to consider taking on the commitment of studying for a degree; many of our staff have experienced it themselves. A large volume of our students are also parents and we have a lot of support in place to help you through your journey.
It is important that you tell your tutors about your parental or caring commitments as soon as possible so that they understand if you face difficulties. Many other students face similar concerns and so you will find that there is great support for each other. It is also important that you make your family and friends aware of assessment submission dates and times so they can support you at home.
Every student’s circumstances are different and some mature students may have to make sacrifices such as reducing their hours at work. Some may not. It is likely that you will need to budget your finances more than you maybe did before, especially if you are going from full-time employment to full-time study but there is lots of support available. There is financial support available through Student Finance England tuition and maintenance loans, our bursary, our care leaver and estranged student financial support, and other support from the Government such as:
- Childcare Grant – full-time students only
- Parents’ Learning Allowance – full-time students only
- Adult Dependants’ Grant – full-time students only
- Universal Credit
Our timetable makes it possible to work alongside your studies, full-time programmes typically being timetabled to 2 days per week. It is important for your wellbeing to balance independent study time, work and other commitments.
Our 2 day per week full time timetable makes it possible to work alongside your studies and it is often encouraged to be undertaking paid or voluntary work while you study, preferably in a role relevant to your course.
Students starting at University Centre Leeds come from a wide range of backgrounds, with all sorts of previous qualifications, and some with no formal qualifications. We are very experienced at supporting students in their journey and have lots of support on offer to build the study skills needed to succeed. No student starting a degree is expected to have all the study skills they need on day one.
Each campus has its own Learning Resource Centre (LRC), where librarians can help students with a variety of tasks including academic skills support. The LRCs have online and paper based learning resources, study areas to work on your assignments and a full-time HE Librarian to help you develop your research and referencing skills. They can help you improve your academic writing and note making skills as well as helping you sort out your dissertation ethics. Students can arrange sessions online or simply drop in and arrange them face-to-face, either one-to-one or in groups.
We are dedicated to making sure you receive personalised one-to-one support as often as you need it. The University Centre’s mental health counsellors provide mental health support to any students who feel they need it during their time studying with us. This includes offering short term confidential counselling support, the sharing of relevant resources and signposting students to the appropriate mental health organisations.
Our additional learning support team, offer advice, guidance and support. For those students that need it, the team can help arrange alternative assessment arrangements, including extra time, a reader or a scribe. Students can access assistive technology such as TextHelp and Mind Genius, and if you need to record your sessions, we can arrange to loan you a digital voice recorder. We can help you improve your study skills, from managing your time more effectively to developing your essay planning and proofreading skills. The team can also support any applications for the disabled students allowance.
If you feel this might be beneficial for you, we can arrange contact with the team at application, so we’d recommend you declare any additional learning needs or disabilities during your application to help make your transition into higher education easier and time at University Centre Leeds even better!