The Hub 11 advantages of going back to school as a mature student

11 advantages of going back to school as a mature student

By: Curtis Wright

It’s never too late to return to school. AU’s Write Site shares why mature learners are set up for success

Mature students—learners who have taken a break from education due to personal, professional, or financial reasons—are in good company at Athabasca University (AU). The average age of an AU student is 33—or about nine years older than the average at other Canadian universities.

“Embracing one’s maturity as a learner can be a transformative experience. Instead of conforming to the traditional educational path, mature learners chart their own courses, allowing them to pursue their passions and interests,” says Cara Violini, a writing coach with the Write Site.  “They understand the value of their life experiences and how it positively influences their academic journey.”

Embracing age

Although mature students often have competing responsibilities to juggle, such as parenting, managing full-time careers, or caring for other family members, their life experiences offer many advantages for learning. 

AU’s Write Site recently hosted a workshop, What’s age got to do with it?, which offers insights into how the online university experience is different for mature students, and how older learners can succeed in their studies. Here’s a look at some of the many advantages that experience brings to pursuing a university education.

Benefits of being a mature student

  1. Life experience. Mature students bring a wealth of life experiences to their education, providing a rounded perspective and valuable insights to their studies. 
  2. Mature scholarly voice. Time away from academics may have allowed them to develop a more mature scholarly voice, which can enhance their writing and communication skills. 
  3. Professionalism. Having been part of the workforce, mature students often possess a strong sense of professionalism, which translates into a more structured and disciplined approach to their studies. 
  4. Passion-driven learning. Mature students are more likely to pursue subjects they are passionate about, as they often make a conscious choice to return to education. This motivation can lead to deeper engagement and dedication. 
  5. Time management skills. Mature students tend to be good at time management, because they often balance their studies with family, work, and community involvement. 
  6. Varied learning styles. Having had time to discover their preferred learning styles, mature students can adapt their study methods to align with their strengths and preferences. 
  7. Resilience. Mature students have often experienced and overcome challenges, making them more resilient and better equipped to handle the demands of an online university education. 
  8. Applying knowledge. Mature students can immediately apply what they learn in courses in their daily lives and careers, which can result in a deeper understanding of course material. 
  9. Strong support networks. Many mature students have a network of family, friends, and colleagues who provide emotional and practical support, making their academic journey more manageable. (AU also offers many support services to help you navigate your academic journey). 
  10. Prior knowledge. Past educational and professional experiences can serve as a foundation for gaining new knowledge, giving mature students an advantage in certain areas. 
  11. Commitment to learn. The conscious decision to return to university demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and self-improvement, which can be a powerful motivator.

Watch the seminar about mature learning

This Write Site webinar provides support, strategies, and organizational tips for students  who begin their studies later in life.

  • November 16, 2023
Guest Blog from:
Curtis Wright