Nowadays, more and more mature students—people over the age of 21—are pursuing higher education. They may want to change careers, add a few more qualifications to get a promotion, or maybe they simply like to learn. In this article, we will take a look at top tips to study better as a mature student.
Whatever the reason might be, being a mature student can be challenging and you maybe nervous about make the leap back into education.
Mature students may have been out of school for a while, and may be a little rusty on some skills needed for higher education.
Some have busy schedules, full-time jobs, and families to take care of. Thankfully, many higher education institutions are offering distance learning programs that can make learning easier for bust students.
With distance learning, the challenges of being a mature student can be overcome if you play to your strengths and make the necessary adjustments to make the experience enriching and successful.
Firstly, before we delve into tips to study better as a mature student…
Do mature students do better?
Life experience really can be an advantage for mature students, however, there will be more challenges that mature students have to face. Such as balancing study with other commitments.
Mature student are typically more focused and motivated, and have had more time to develop their study skills. This can mean the level of work they produce is at a higher scale to students fresh out of college.
Are you ready? Then let’s check out some tips to help you study better as a mature student!
Get organised and plan ahead
Preparation is key whatever challenge you are looking to undertake and studying as a mature student, is definitely one of those challenges!
Will you be studying around your job? Do you have a family? Studying will take up time around what is already going on in your life and you will need to reshuffle your schedule to adapt to your studies.
Find the right program for you
Many distance learning providers such as ICS Learn offer online courses. While choosing a program may be exciting, you need to focus on considering the amount of coursework and time that these programs require.
It is best to think carefully about which program will fit in best with your goals as well as your lifestyle and your other commitments.
Set realistic but inspiring goals
Why are you pursuing distance learning education? What’s in store for you if you succeed? What new and amazing opportunities will open up for you?
Distance learning is beneficial, obviously, but you need to keep your specific personal goals in mind.
A top tip for mature students is focusing on these goals to motivate yourself when you feel anxious, stressed, or when you feel like giving up.
Take advantage of your skills
Being a little older means that you are (hopefully) a little wiser. Mature students have had more life experiences and know their strengths and weaknesses.
You are probably an expert at scheduling the things you have to do. You probably know how to balance spreadsheets and meet strict deadlines.
Utilise any skills you have developed throughout the years to ace your program.
Brush up on your other skills
While you have skills and experiences that younger students lack, the skills you learned as a younger student may be a little rusty. These skills are still vital in coping with continuing your education, so there is nothing to lose in updating them.
You can take some lessons in learning new computer skills at local educational institutions.
There are some online courses on writing academic papers and conducting research, and some schools may offer online programs on study skills for older students.
Do not be afraid to ask for help
Involve your family and friends in your new study schedule. Ask your partner, sibling, parent, or friend to pick up the kids from school on certain days.
Maybe your partner or children can take on some extra housework. Maybe you can even do your homework alongside your kids.
Also, do not hesitate to ask your professor any questions you might have. Having a steady support system at this time can be of utmost importance.
Set family boundaries
If you have children, you may benefit from sitting them down and explaining that you are continuing your education. You can explain that you will need some time to yourself, or some peace and quiet at some point in the day.
Talk with your spouse and ask for help in enforcing these boundaries. If you do not have children, then explain to your family and friends that you will be spending a little less time with them while you are studying.
Give yourself some space
One thing that a formal schooling offers is a structured learning environment. Fortunately, this is not something you will have to sacrifice when you start distance learning.
Set aside a room or even a corner in your house as your official study space. Make sure that this space is quiet, uncluttered, and free from distractions.
Having a dedicated space for your studies will help you concentrate when needed. Allowing you to ‘clock off’ when you walk away from that space.
Give yourself some time
You can also set a definite schedule that you can easily follow, like setting aside two hours in the mornings and two hours in the afternoons to read up or finish your assignments.
Hang up a calendar over your desk and mark deadlines. Make sure to spread your coursework and other commitments out evenly to avoid getting swamped.
Make sure to also give yourself frequent breaks to avoid burning out. Recharging your batteries will allow you to come back to your work with a clearer mind.
Take it easy on yourself
You may have some expectations of yourself as you start distance learning. A few of these expectations, however, may be too much and may cause you undue stress.
It is important to give yourself some time to adjust to this new experience. You may not be as disciplined or as focused as you expect yourself to be at the beginning.
This is completely fine and normal, and you will soon be able to perform as well as you expect yourself to.
Find people who are in the same boat
If you can, make friends with people in the same program. You can ask for help when a particular reading assignment is giving you a hard time.
It also doesn’t hurt to simply chat about anything with people in your program. You may find a friend of yours who is interested in the course and wants to take it with you.
It can definitely help you feel more connected to others who are experiencing the same thing.
Final thoughts on how to study better as a mature student
Studying later in life comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.
Mature students are typically more motivated and focused, but may need to adjust their study habits to accommodate for a busy lifestyle.
By following the tips outlined above, mature students can learn how to study better and make the most of their educational experience.