Let's Support Mature StudentsNovember 11, 2015

You'll see a much older student in your department. And you'll wonder if you're in the wrong campus. Far from it. The number of mature students increase during the past ten years, which wouldn't alarm members of the faculty.

A mature student is defined as someone who is 21 years old and above. Mature students would be able to handle the coursework better. The work experience would provide valuable lessons, which they could apply to their studies. They can juggle academics, work, and family. And there's a high chance that a few will pursue a higher degree. This will inspire younger students. Some will be intimidated, while others will be annoyed. This is not the right attitude.

The competitiveness of the job market will prompt some employees to go back to the university, while others want further learning. Either way, admissions tutors set flexible requirements for older applicants. (Don't be surprised if mature applicants only need to write a few essays on their favourite books.) Younger students can learn many things from them. Let's take a look at their admirable traits:

Mature students can deal with pressure. They have been there, they have done that. Successive deadlines wouldn't rattle them. They could find their way after a lack of a good night's sleep. And quitting wouldn't be an option. All of these would be kid's play when compared to the office. Younger students wouldn't know it, until they polish their CV.

Older people learn from failure. A low mark must be avoided at all cost, but it can mean another thing. There would be bad days, when everything seemed against you. And the circumstances will make you wish for better days. Mature students have experienced it many times. They won't take it seriously, reminding themselves that what happened couldn't be undone. So they would focus on the next assignment. They would prepare for the next examination. They would try to be better.

Priority is part of their vocabulary. Don't make fun of mature students if they turn down an invitation to attend a party. While it's true that older people tend to be less sociable, they know how to respond to urgent matters. Academics shouldn't be taken lightly. And they won't be judgmental of their younger colleagues. After all, they have done foolish things before.

Knowledge comes with age. Unless you're a prodigy, then don't be offended if your much older colleagues know it all. They have live longer. They have accumulated more knowledge. You'll get there. Ask them, and you might get more than what you want.

Mature students can be better company. Have you heard of wine getting better with age? This can allude to people. Unpleasant moments can be charged to experience. Your much older colleague can offer you valuable insights. They won't fool you either. After all, time is not a luxury at the university.

Do you know a mature student? Share your experience.

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