Top Tips for Mature Students
1. Give yourself time to settle in and find your feet. Don't feel like you have to hit the ground running and be able to manage everything perfectly from the first moment. Don´t be too hard on your self.
2. The first few weeks of University can seem pretty manageable - then you may find the first few assignments are due in the same week! If your department give you a list of all your assignments and their due dates write them in your diary (you will be given a free one at registration) so you can plan ahead to ensure that you can meet all the deadlines.
3. You will need to be organised. Throughout the semester when you attend lectures and seminars you will be writing notes and given lots of handouts, make sure you organise and file your work for each module into the topics/themes covered. Then when you come to revise at the end of the year all your work will be in order and it will make revising a lot easier.
4. Work to your strengths; ask yourself what time of day you find it easiest to work, and in what environment, how long can you concentrate without needing a break? Then plan your work accordingly. Remember to keep some time for yourself. You will need to keep a balance in your life.
5. Booklists are meant to help you with your studies, not confuse you. It is important to find out which books on your list are main texts and/or essential reading. Ask your tutor if it isn´t clear from the list. They are there to help you.
6. Exchange ideas: discussing your work and ideas, sharing notes and reading each other´s work is quite acceptable, though plagiarism isn´t and understanding it is essential. Working with others helps you to pinpoint what is expected of you academically.
7. Learn to discard information: this is difficult to do, but you can´t use all the notes you take in one piece of work. Keep to what is relevant; the rest of the notes will be useful for revision.
8. Making connections on campus can help you feel more settled and that you belong. Get to know people on your course, no matter what their age, this can help you feel more socially connected and enable you to chat with other students about assignments or set up study groups.
9. Apply for a student mentor - this will be another mature student who is currently studying in either their 2nd or 3rd year at the University, and if possible in your department, they will be able to answer your questions and give you some guidance.
10. Finally, if you feel that you are not coping, ASK PEOPLE. Your tutors, Student Services, the Student Advice Centre, Counselling Service will all be able to offer help. Try to relax and ENJOY your time at university.