Mature students

Hello I have made some plans to go to university or another college in two years time for when I finish the college that I currently attend. I wanted to ask out of curiosity when I do go to university or another college when I am 22 in two years time about whether there would be students much older than me at college or university because I would like to meet some older friends who are in their late 20s and 30s and who are also middle aged at college or university as I want to be treated and seen more as an adult?

  • Any college or university is very likely to have quite a few mature students. If university, there is likely to also be a mature students society where you can particularly get together with other mature students, and there may be other societies where there would be a higher ratio of mature students too (e.g. my uni had a real ale society that had a lot of mature students, since it mostly involved drinking beer in old-man pubs!). Universities also have lots of post grads who will all be 20s+, although often the postgrad/undergrad environments can be pretty separate.

    I know a lot of people think there is not much difference between 18 year olds and someone in their early twenties, and that it shouldn't make any difference. But in my experience (I started uni at nearly 23) there is a big difference, I think a lot of people grow up considerably in their very late teens. Plus, I don't know about you, but I've never really got on well with people my own age (I'm now 30 and my best socialising is still when I go home to my parents house and hang out with their friends who are still 10-30 years older than me!) so that also did not help. If you wanted to stay in university accommodation, you might want to keep in mind that universities I think tend to see early twenties as not being that much older, and assume that you wouldn't want to be with older students. When I did my undergraduate degree, I ended up with a bunch of 19 year olds (they had all taken gap years, so there was obviously some method in how they grouped people in accommodation), I didn't get on with them at all, and generally had a miserable time (not exclusively just because I was older though, it's worth pointing out our flat was particularly bad, and one of the other women-one of the 19 year olds-also had problems with the noise and mess). So if that was something you were considering-staying in university accommodation-you might want to consider specifically requesting that you'd rather be with older students.

  • It's a really great thing that you are planning to future your education! I don't think you will need to worry too much about starting university at 22. The Student Union in my university often holds social events for mature students. In Oxford and Cambridge, there are specific colleges that only accepts mature students (21+). And in university, there will be a lot of international students who are older (usually because of things such as military service in their country, differences in academic year start/end dates, and extra application time). It's good to keep an eye out for such events and opportunities if you would like to be with slightly older students. In university you can meet all sort of people, and I think it's a place that embraces variety.