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Mature Students first need to decide what career is right for them

The Ucas website has a dedicated section for mature students. There are many reasons for mature students studying, but most define their objectives as either to improve their career prospects or because they are passionately interested in a subject. If it is to improve career prospects, then you must ensure that you know which career is right for you. To do that, get professional careers advice using psychometric tests.

Most universities and higher education institutions are interested in widening participation and that means encouraging more mature students.

Statistically, mature students are more likely to knuckle down and enjoy their subjects because they are, by definition, mature and more responsible, and studying by choice rather than because it is expected of them. Many have worked previously and understand the frustrations stemming from dead end jobs due to lack of formal educational qualifications. A complete change of career is now the best option for them.

Ucas offers guidance about choosing careers and courses. Once you have selected the right career, choosing the right course becomes obvious. A good place to start is your local library. The Open University prospectus offers advice about every subject. Ucas also covers the entry routes offered to students and a lack of qualifications does not necessarily disbar you.

Degrees have changed over the years, and it is possible to combine very diverse subjects to attain an open degree, rather than being confined to a core subject. However, before embarking on this type of degree, it is important that you have careers advice to ensure that you are not limiting your future career choices.

Additional information is often available from universities and colleges directly. Widening participation is a key goal and institutions try to support a wide range of students through their own advice centres and student unions.

Top universities were often perceived to be those high in league tables. But if you study these tables, it becomes obvious that different league tables rate universities using different criteria. In other words, they give a different weighting to different aspects of university life. Some universities have an impressive teaching reputation whilst others value research. Some are rated particularly highly for certain disciplines. Some may afford a higher standard of university accommodation, whilst others may have excellent sports facilities. Location is a factor to consider too. Only by thoroughly researching the tables can you identify which is best for you.

One of the benefits of being a more mature student is that you may be clearer about what is important in your life, enabling you to identify your top choice university, and a path of study leading to a fulfilling career or personal development goal.