Universities with the most mature-friendly admissions policies.

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shinsukato
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Prospective or current mature students, which universities have you found that are the most welcoming of mature students in their admissions policies?

Criteria to think about:
  • How friendly / encouraging are the admissions staff?
  • Is there a special program exclusively for mature students?
  • Are their entry requirements flexible? Either by lowering requirements for mature students, or by allowing a range of equivalent qualifications?

Please reply if you have had a good experience applying with non-traditional qualifications, or an unusual mix of qualifications, or just generally felt like you were competitive as a mature applicant.

Also feel free to disagree with any of the below.

Mature-Friendly Universities (Good admissions staff, accommodating, flexible, respectful)
University of St. Andrew's (General Degree program is specifically for mature students, free to transfer to other degrees, very willing to accommodate)
Durham University (4-year degree with a Foundation, guaranteed interview if you meet basic requirements)
Queen's University Belfast (Willing to consider older qualifications, even foreign ones)
University of York (Adjusts entrance requirements for mature students, guaranteed/required interview after basic screening)
University of Bath (Strict requirements, but helpful admissions team)
University of Exeter (Adjusts entrance requirements for mature students, BUT they are often very slow to make offers)
Royal Holloway University of London (No specifics given, but confirmed by several people)
University of Oxford (Entry requirements are of course high, but flexible, so you can come in with a variety of qualifications and still be considered. Has a college just for mature students. Great admissions staff.)
University of Cambridge (High value on work experience, older qualifications ignored which could be a good or bad thing. Helpful staff.)
University of Kent (Receptive to mature students who come through Access courses)
University of Strathclyde (Adjusted requirements for mature students, excellent mature student community)

Mature-Unfriendly Universities (Not worth applying to unless you really want to, or meet their very particular requirements)
University of Edinburgh (public enemy #1, patronising, discouraged mature applicants and has very little infrastructure to support their application. Personally, they actively misled me on whether my application would be considered. I spent one of my choices on them after some communication, and my application went right in the bin because I did independent A-Levels and not an access course.)
University of Liverpool (Very particular about which access courses it accepts)
University of East London (Very high requirements for access courses into science, perhaps out of proportion with the demands of the course)
University of Manchester (Doesn't budge on A-Level requirements for some courses: so no access courses, no OU courses, no foreign qualifications).
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clintontsean
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I had a good experience with University of Bath. I contacted admissions and though they weren't willing to bend their requirements, they worked with me to find a way I could apply with what I had and suggested some extra qualifications for me to pursue before my application.
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shinsukato
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(Original post by clintontsean)
I had a good experience with University of Bath. I contacted admissions and though they weren't willing to bend their requirements, they worked with me to find a way I could apply with what I had and suggested some extra qualifications for me to pursue before my application.
Added to the list
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Mimsycrafts
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Nottingham Trent Uni were fantastic to me.
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dennismubaiwa
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University of Cambridge

1. Has 4 colleges which admit only mature students (undergrad) - 3 if you're male
2. Has a second UCAS application deadline which ends in March for mature applicants. October (or January for that matter) is too early for students on Access Courses.
3. Genuinely value work experience - at least they seem to (if available)
4. Seem to regard Open University Credits and Access - in fact, when I was there, most mature students had been admitted via Access.
5. Genuinely interested in current performance. Many mature students with a poor academic history avoid applying, but my really shoddy A-level grades from 7 years back were pretty much ignored.

The only drawback is that they have very high requirements for Access Courses.

Exeter is also very accommodating and even lowers requirements for mature students.

Royal Holloway is also amazing for mature applicants. They make fairly high offers but so long as you don't fail, they'll usually take you anyway.
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andiewithanie
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What do you mean by non-traditional qualifications?
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shinsukato
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(Original post by andiewithanie)
What do you mean by non-traditional qualifications?
In my example specifically I've been applying with only 2 A levels, some USA qualifications, 60 credits of OU1 modules, and some language courses.

2 A levels aren't enough on their own, 60 credits isn't enough on its own, and the language course is just gravy. Some universities won't even look at my application, some will consider it holistically.
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tim_123
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I found Cambridge (I didn't get in btw) to be extremely friendly and clear during the entire process. They even gave clear feedback on why I was rejected.

Rhul were also very helpful, gave me a decent offer and put more emphasis on my current academics as opposed to my GCSEs or old old a levels.
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jimmy_looks_2ice
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This may be applicable, ignore it if not.

I'm off to University of Kent next month. IIRC, entry requirements for my course were AAB at A-Level, but only a Pass from Access candidates (only specific requirements were that I had to have relevant subject credits - no particular grades specified). I see that as a clear disparity in favour of mature candidates. I exceeded the minimum requirements, though, so I can't be sure that I'd have still been offered a place had I only met them.

FWIW, of the three unis I visited when trying to make initial UCAS application and final Firm choices, Kent were the most receptive to me as a mature candidate.
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andiewithanie
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(Original post by shinsukato)
In my example specifically I've been applying with only 2 A levels, some USA qualifications, 60 credits of OU1 modules, and some language courses.

2 A levels aren't enough on their own, 60 credits isn't enough on its own, and the language course is just gravy. Some universities won't even look at my application, some will consider it holistically.
Yeah, tricky. Most require an Access course as a bare minimum.

I'd absolutely recommend Durham's Foundation Year. Whilst I had recognised qualifications I know many didn't, and the vast majority of them have completed the year and progressed to their degree proper.
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clintontsean
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Another thing you might want to add is which universities people had a bad time with. For example University of Edinburgh actively discouraged me from applying, and university of Leeds also dismissive.
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Kaeden
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University of Liverpool make quite demanding offers for Access students, and only accept access courses from ASCENTIS and Open Awards awarding bodies for some of their courses.

EDIT: University of East London require 45/45 L3 Distinctions for the majority of their Science related courses e.g Podiatry, Biomedical Science, Human Biology. I think it's a joke considering the fact that it's UEL....
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MissDetermined
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I have no experience with the universities yet but York will be one of the 5 uni's I'll be applying to. Given that it's a RG uni the entry requirements for access are lower than a lot of other uni's. It also seems like a lovely place to live :-)
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jimmy_looks_2ice
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(Original post by clintontsean)
Another thing you might want to add is which universities people had a bad time with. For example University of Edinburgh actively discouraged me from applying, and university of Leeds also dismissive.
Yeah, a "Name and shame" list!

On what basis were UoE discouraging you from applying?
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shinsukato
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(Original post by jimmy_looks_2ice)
Yeah, a "Name and shame" list!

On what basis were UoE discouraging you from applying?
I actually had the same experience as the guy who complained. I enquired into their Business program and their law program and had to fight my way through every person I encountered. They all reminded me that the course was very demanding, that they can't change the requirements. They didn't volunteer any useful information.

Compare this to Cambridge, who have even higher requirements, but were incredibly helpful and accomodating, encouraged me to apply and let me know how I could present a good application. Edinburgh were not interested in being helpful.
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lledrith
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Just expressing some delight and confirmation at the way Exeter deals with mature students regarding it's entry requirements. 21 credits at merit felt like the kindest safety net offer when it came to applications, as opposed to A*AB for some of the younger students.
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LilBlueBug
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University of Strathclyde are massively supportive to mature students. Their MSA is also quite large and had a good presence at every open day I attended in the last year. The current mature students seem to have lots of positive things to say about it. In addition they worked with the widening participation dept in getting extra days throughout the year specifically aimed at Mature students, so we had a chance to experience lectures, understand support available, as well as listen to existing students personal experiences as students.

On top of this their entry requirements for mature students differ to standard entry requirements.
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carlaraptor
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University of Nottingham were excellent, with the fairest offer of all my choices and I ended up firming them. University of York requires all mature students to have an interview, but I was given a decent offer so I was impressed with them, too. University of Sheffield is very mature student friendly.

I did look into University of Edinburgh and found them quite dismissive. I was told not to apply for English Literature as it would be 'too competitive', and told to apply for Language + Literature instead. I found them to be a little patronising.
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Cate1976
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University of East Anglia (UEA) are definitely friendly to mature students. Don't know about other subjects but for History, the requirements for Access course are clearly stated on the entry requirements section:

https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/undergra...ents-uer-2016-

There's also this which is unique to the History department at UEA, the tutor was honest enough to say that there's another uni which does something for mature students but it's different to the UEA one:

https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/undergra...urse-part-time

This is also worth reading:

https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/undergra...ature-students

UEA are also really good at helping people with additional needs, the first open day I went to, I talked to Dean of Students as I have Asperger's Syndrome and they were really helpful.

I'm applying to UEA to start 2017, I'm doing Access to Humanities at College of West Anglia this year, then the bridge course Spring 2017. i might apply for next year but defer entry on grounds of finance and needing to do the bridge course but need to talk to admissions about that at mature Students open evening.
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shinsukato
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(Original post by carlaraptor)
University of Nottingham were excellent, with the fairest offer of all my choices and I ended up firming them. University of York requires all mature students to have an interview, but I was given a decent offer so I was impressed with them, too. University of Sheffield is very mature student friendly.

I did look into University of Edinburgh and found them quite dismissive. I was told not to apply for English Literature as it would be 'too competitive', and told to apply for Language + Literature instead. I found them to be a little patronising.
Can you expand on Sheffield? What was good about its admission process? And can you be more specific with Nottingham? I'll add 'em to the list

Also: nice to see some consensus on Edinburgh. Patronising indeed!
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