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  • Mature student profiles - Maths and Computer Science students

The best way to find out what it’s like as a Maths or Computing mature student is to ask some mature students. So that’s what we’ve done. Below are experiences and top tips from TSR members who have returned to or entered Higher Education at a later stage in life.

If you have your own questions about what life is like as a mature student visit our mature student forum and post up a new thread you’re sure to get a helpful and swift response.

TSR username: MrShifty

Age: 30

Studying: Full time, PhD -Mathematics, UEA (formerly, University of Bristol, BSc Mathematics)

Reasons for returning back to education as a mature student?

Necessary for a career in academia.

How are you funding yourself?

Isle of Man grant (maintenance and tuition).

Where do you live?

Norwich.

What were you doing before?

Immediately before my current course: Studying an MSc in pure maths at UEA.

Before becoming a mature student: Dossing, travelling, renaissance manning.

Did you need to refresh your study skills (essay writing etc.)? If so how did you do it?

Yes, read through A-Level texts immediately before starting at the local sixth form/FE college.

Challenges with being a mature student?

The haunting, dead eyes of fresh faced youngsters staring at me with soulless befuddlement.

Best bits about being a mature student?

Not feeling a compulsion to stay in halls or join thousands of societies. Imagining oneself as looking dashingly weatherbeaten.

How do you find being older than most students?

s'alright. They're lovely really.

What I hope to gain?

Being able to shut myself away in academia forevermore, shielding myself from the real world with an impenetrably thick air of pomposity and smugness.

Any tips for other people contemplating becoming a mature student?

Don't be put off or let yourself be intimidated by the idea you're going to be a sore thumb, you won’t be as the whipper-snapers are quite accommodating! Well, I was a bit, but that's only because I'm a maladjusted anti-social ne’er-do-well.

TSR Username: SillyFencer

Age: 29

Studying: Full Time, BSc (Hons) Computing Science with Industrial Placement at The University of Aberdeen

Reasons for returning back to education as a mature student?

Firstly there was always the wish to go back into education (but not to university) to try desperately to get out of a factory life. Forced out of work due to an accident, it was seen as the perfect time to study and set about doing a SVQ Group Award, which then prompted me to do an HNC. It was only when staff at the college convinced me that I could (and should) study in university, combined with my surprising top grades at college did I go for it.

How are you funding yourself?

SAAS/SLC, help from parents, scholarship and payed work placements (summer placements as part of my scholarship) and part time work with the university's Alumni Annual Fund.

Where do you live?

University Halls of Residence first two years, and then Unite (commercial student accommodation company)this year.

What were you doing before?

As mentioned earlier, working in fish factories. Working as a department supervisor/team leader.

Did you need to refresh your study skills (essay writing etc.)? If so how did you do it?

The college I went to was very good in putting us through communications, maths, ICT, etc. core skills courses during the first year.

Challenges with being a mature student?

Finance: It's more the worries of finance before you go to university that is the problem. It seems worse than it will be, especially when you are used to money coming in regularly. Accommodation: Worries about being too old for halls. Completely unfounded though, as once you are there it really is not an issue (or noticed).

Best bits about being a mature student?

Being a "teenager" for a second time Seriously... you can go to university and have the same experiences and activities as your younger counterparts.

How do you find being older than most students?

As said above... when it comes down to it, there is no difference at all. You just need to be willing to get on and make friends with younger people, and do younger things.

What I hope to gain?

A degree, a decent job, good experience and some respect.

Any tips for other people contemplating becoming a mature student?

Apply for scholarships and placements. Employers and sponsors will look favourably on you due to being a mature student, and there are some gems out there which little students no about. They are not advertised well, so get onto the university's website, find the scholarships page and see what you fancy. You are likely to get cash, experience and prestige of having a scholarship. Applications often have to be in by Easter, so look early.

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