Checklist: Find the Right Course as a Mature Student
It’s never too late to learn something new and returning to education as a mature student can give you a whole new perspective and set of skills. To make the most of it though, you need to find a course that is right for you. Follow our checklist to make sure you have covered all the important points:
1. Choose Subject/Skill AreaFirst of all you need decide what you want to study – often easier said than done! Look at what you enjoy, what skills you need to develop or what you hope to be doing in the future. It is a good idea to seek some advice from a careers advisor so you know what kind of course you need to be looking for.
2. Look at Course ContentOnce you have decided on the subject or skill area that you want to focus on you can start researching courses. Two courses in the same subject can have different content so you need to check what each one covers and make sure it is what you want to learn.
3. Check QualificationsYou need to check qualifications on two fronts. The first is to check what the course requirements are. While some courses will require specific qualifications or previous study many will be more flexible, although you may need to look at taking an access to education programme. Also, you need to look at what qualification you will gain from the course, if that it is important for your future.
4. Pick a Type of CourseThere are many different ways to learn from full time study, research or taught courses, and distance learning. You need to think about which way you learn best but also about how you are going to fit your study around other commitments such as work or a family.
5. Visit the CollegeBeing somewhere that you feel comfortable can make a big difference to the way you learn. If you are planning to study on-site then you should always visit the college that you are thinking of attending. This will help you get a feel for the atmosphere, what the other students are like and whether it suits you.
6. Ask QuestionsIf you visit the college in person then you should have a chance to meet your prospective tutors. Asking them questions about the course, the content and what is required of you will help you learn more. If you can’t visit in person then call or email any questions so that you are not left wondering.
7. Find Out About FundingThe final thing that you need to think about is funding. There are lots of loans and bursaries available to mature students and they can make a big impact on being able to afford to study. Look at what is available to you both nationally but also from individual colleges.
By finding out as much as you can before you start a course you will help make sure it the right one for you and you can flourish in your studies.