Mature Students: The Low Down

Attending third level education is not always easily accessible to everyone the moment they leave college. There are several different reasons why students may want to defer their third-level education. There are also many people out there who did not get the opportunity to go to college immediately after school and who now in their adulthood wish to take up further education.

If you are one of these people this is what being a mature student is all about.

What is a mature student?

It is never too late to attend college, and once you are over the age of 23 in Ireland you can become a mature student. This is a wonderful option for people returning to education, or also for students who wish to maybe join the workforce for a few years, travel, or do charity work before entering the third level system.

What do I need to apply as a mature student?

All third-level institutions in Ireland reserve a small number of places each year specifically for mature students. And once you are over 23 you can apply for one of these places. Admissions to courses via the mature student system are obtained through different criteria than the CAO application process. In general, they do not take leaving certificate or other examination results into consideration for acceptance. Rather they are interview and experience-based. A little more like a job interview.

Full-time options

Each college has a slightly different definition of what a mature student is though, so be sure to check with your individual educational institution of choice to make sure you fit the requirements before applying as a mature student.

If you wish to take up a course as a mature student you will generally be expected to attend classes or lectures on a full-time basis and you will be assessed in the same manner that all other students are.

Part-time options

Having said that there are some other options available including part-time and modular programmes and even distance learning. Part-time options usually allow the student to time to fit their study into their own schedule. This can be very beneficial for many mature students as many mature students will have to work also during the time of their study.

Modular Programmes

Modular programmes are made up of separate modules. Each of these modules is self-contained units within the course. Learners can generally study each separate module and complete them at different stages during the course.

Distance Learning

Distance learning covers a wide range of programmes that usually take place outside of a classroom or college setting. These are courses that can be done and complete entirely online from the comfort of your own home. These are generally fully flexible in terms of hours and how the student wishes to do their study.

University access programmes

University access programmes are there to support young adults and mature students to study at third-level colleges. According to citizens Students attending access or foundation courses that are on the Department of Education’s approved list of post-leaving certificate courses may be eligible for funding under the Student Grant Scheme. However, students attending a foundation or access course in any other college or university will not be eligible for funding. An accessor foundation course is considered to be a second-level course for the Back to Education Allowance. You should check your options around access programmes with the university of your choice or local Education and Training Board.

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