Would I fit in at a non-mature college as a 26 year old undergraduate?

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Cohomology
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I am a mature non-graduate that is doing some research into undergraduate physics courses, and I am seriously considering applying to Oxford.

I think that I would prefer the Oxford physics course to the Cambridge NatSci/maths course, but the only thing I'm a little wary of is the fact that Oxford's mature colleges don't offer physics, so I would be a 26 year old studying at a non-mature college.

This doesn't bother me personally, and in my day-to-day life I tend to mix with people who have similar interests to me, rather than because they're the same age. But at the same time, I don't want to be perceived as "the weird mature student down the hall".

Truthfully, do you think that I would fit in alright, given that I'm a bit older? If I did get into Oxford, I would probably just try not to make a big deal of it unless someone asks, and make sure to join plenty of societies so that I meet people who are maybe a bit older, too.

Thoughts? Don't feel that you have to give me a comforting answer, btw. If you don't think I would fit in, let me know - as Oxford isn't the only option (e.g. mature colleges at Cambridge).
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Cohomology)
I am a mature non-graduate that is doing some research into undergraduate physics courses, and I am seriously considering applying to Oxford.

I think that I would prefer the Oxford physics course to the Cambridge NatSci/maths course, but the only thing I'm a little wary of is the fact that Oxford's mature colleges don't offer physics, so I would be a 26 year old studying at a non-mature college.

This doesn't bother me personally, and in my day-to-day life I tend to mix with people who have similar interests to me, rather than because they're the same age. But at the same time, I don't want to be perceived as "the weird mature student down the hall".

Truthfully, do you think that I would fit in alright, given that I'm a bit older? If I did get into Oxford, I would probably just try not to make a big deal of it unless someone asks, and make sure to join plenty of societies so that I meet people who are maybe a bit older, too.

Thoughts? Don't feel that you have to give me a comforting answer, btw. If you don't think I would fit in, let me know - as Oxford isn't the only option (e.g. mature colleges at Cambridge).
There's no problem at all. You will fit in fine if you want to. It happens all the time, I mean, who can tell between 21, 23, 26 etc and who cares.
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username5395306
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I've Done college and one of my mate was 22 and we were 16 /17 but we all got along fine and in our group he fit in but then again we were the mature group of the class... Of aeronautical engineering
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Bang Outta Order
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(Original post by Cohomology)
I am a mature non-graduate that is doing some research into undergraduate physics courses, and I am seriously considering applying to Oxford.

I think that I would prefer the Oxford physics course to the Cambridge NatSci/maths course, but the only thing I'm a little wary of is the fact that Oxford's mature colleges don't offer physics, so I would be a 26 year old studying at a non-mature college.

This doesn't bother me personally, and in my day-to-day life I tend to mix with people who have similar interests to me, rather than because they're the same age. But at the same time, I don't want to be perceived as "the weird mature student down the hall".

Truthfully, do you think that I would fit in alright, given that I'm a bit older? If I did get into Oxford, I would probably just try not to make a big deal of it unless someone asks, and make sure to join plenty of societies so that I meet people who are maybe a bit older, too.

Thoughts? Don't feel that you have to give me a comforting answer, btw. If you don't think I would fit in, let me know - as Oxford isn't the only option (e.g. mature colleges at Cambridge).
No.


And you shouldn't be worrying about fitting in period but def not when you know you'll be around a bunch of freshers out of six form.

I'm sure you'll find someone regardless of age and around or at or beyond your age though who you bond with. Focus on the faculty though and apprenticeships.


Also well done continuing your education at a non traditional age mate 👍 I went a year late with a criminal background and it has helped me a bit but I didn't finish my education due to external circumstances.
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nexttime
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Honestly, I found freshers specifically pretty immature even just a couple years later. I'd have had to make a significant effort to get along with some of those guys. But I think you grow up so much by living away from your parents for even just a year, and even if that wasn't the case, I think it'd be about you making the effort to fit in, not that you couldn't fit in at all.

I think you'll be fine.
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Cohomology
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(Original post by nexttime)
Honestly, I found freshers specifically pretty immature even just a couple years later. I'd have had to make a significant effort to get along with some of those guys. But I think you grow up so much by living away from your parents for even just a year, and even if that wasn't the case, I think it'd be about you making the effort to fit in, not that you couldn't fit in at all.

I think you'll be fine.
(Original post by threeportdrift)
There's no problem at all. You will fit in fine if you want to. It happens all the time, I mean, who can tell between 21, 23, 26 etc and who cares.
Within the colleges themselves, is it common for undergraduates to associate/make friends with students who are from other years? Also, do you find that an Oxford student's social life tends to revolve more around their college friends, or the friends they make within societies and the events that these societies organize?
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nexttime
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(Original post by Cohomology)
Within the colleges themselves, is it common for undergraduates to associate/make friends with students who are from other years? Also, do you find that an Oxford student's social life tends to revolve more around their college friends, or the friends they make within societies and the events that these societies organize?
I think you'll find different people have different experiences. Most people were friends with people from their year, but not exclusively. I think most friends were from college or (in the case of sciences) course, but again not exclusively.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Cohomology)
Within the colleges themselves, is it common for undergraduates to associate/make friends with students who are from other years? Also, do you find that an Oxford student's social life tends to revolve more around their college friends, or the friends they make within societies and the events that these societies organize?
There is less differentiation between years than there is in school, but perhaps there is more of a sense of 'new to adulting' for first years, 'enjoying everything' for second years and 'getting serious' for third years. Your social life is where you make it, in the proportions you make. Some people are 100% College, or sport, or society, or department, others blend more. There's definitely a sense of 'we are all adults now, we make our own choices'.

26 is no big deal unless you make it so, you won't be the oldest by a long shot.
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CharlotteSalf
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Hi. I’m a postgrad at Cambridge - if you opt for private accommodation then you will sometimes be able to ‘choose’ who you live with. For example, I asked to be with ‘mature students’ and now everyone I live with is above 20 regardless of their academic year group. Maybe this could be a possibility for you? I think you’d be fine wherever and with whoever you choose to live, but I’d personally probably not want to be with a bunch of students straight out of sixth form, as this tends to be the majority.
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ConicalFlask
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Really the question is whether you’d be interested in spending time with freshers.

In my college, there were some older undergrad freshers who fit in fine, and others who mainly socialised with the MCR (as they had automatic membership being over 21). On the other hand there were some freshers who had taken gap years, and at 19 felt like they were too mature for the rest of the freshers and didn’t integrate at all.

Really, as long as you’re willing to make an effort it should be okay - you might end up living with 18 year olds which would be a bit odd, but as long as you’re not trying too hard to “get on there level” in terms of relationships, for example, I don’t see that being a problem.
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Estreth
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I'll give the non-comforting answer.

I think there is a fair chance that you won't feel like you fit in amongst mostly 18-21-year-old undergraduates. I can't tell the difference between a 20-year-old and a 26-year-old, but a 20-year-old can (interesting phenomenon). While it's true that you (probably) won't be the oldest undergraduate in your college, you will definitely stand out as significantly older than most. And many of those 18-21-year-olds might well think of you as someone whose life is quite removed from their own. Six years feels like a lot more prospectively to a 20-year-old than retrospectively to a 26-year-old. I wouldn't go so far as to say that people would think if you as the 'weird mature student', but they will think of you as the mature student, weird or not.
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by Cohomology)
I am a mature non-graduate that is doing some research into undergraduate physics courses, and I am seriously considering applying to Oxford.

I think that I would prefer the Oxford physics course to the Cambridge NatSci/maths course, but the only thing I'm a little wary of is the fact that Oxford's mature colleges don't offer physics, so I would be a 26 year old studying at a non-mature college.

This doesn't bother me personally, and in my day-to-day life I tend to mix with people who have similar interests to me, rather than because they're the same age. But at the same time, I don't want to be perceived as "the weird mature student down the hall".

Truthfully, do you think that I would fit in alright, given that I'm a bit older? If I did get into Oxford, I would probably just try not to make a big deal of it unless someone asks, and make sure to join plenty of societies so that I meet people who are maybe a bit older, too.

Thoughts? Don't feel that you have to give me a comforting answer, btw. If you don't think I would fit in, let me know - as Oxford isn't the only option (e.g. mature colleges at Cambridge).
from my experience at a different university, it's not that you won't fit in but that you will inherently feel more mature than them
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Isinglass
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I am tempted to suggest that you suggest to anyone in the 'normal fresher age bracket' who treats you as weird that they a) question why they were happy to come to a university which doesn't offer places for Physics in its colleges specifically for mature students, if it is such an issue for them?, b) sets up a campaign to get the university to provide such a facility and c) just grows up, for heaven's sake, you are all there for the purpose of being the university's 202x undergraduate intake, regardless of chronological age.

But (since Oxford undergraduates are presumably meant to be a cut above the rest?), hopefully you will have no need even to think any of those things.
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Ki Yung Na
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(Original post by Cohomology)
I am a mature non-graduate that is doing some research into undergraduate physics courses, and I am seriously considering applying to Oxford.

I think that I would prefer the Oxford physics course to the Cambridge NatSci/maths course, but the only thing I'm a little wary of is the fact that Oxford's mature colleges don't offer physics, so I would be a 26 year old studying at a non-mature college.

This doesn't bother me personally, and in my day-to-day life I tend to mix with people who have similar interests to me, rather than because they're the same age. But at the same time, I don't want to be perceived as "the weird mature student down the hall".

Truthfully, do you think that I would fit in alright, given that I'm a bit older? If I did get into Oxford, I would probably just try not to make a big deal of it unless someone asks, and make sure to join plenty of societies so that I meet people who are maybe a bit older, too.

Thoughts? Don't feel that you have to give me a comforting answer, btw. If you don't think I would fit in, let me know - as Oxford isn't the only option (e.g. mature colleges at Cambridge).
Apply for it because chances are high, you’ll only attract the attention that is worth attracting.

I started at 25, and whilst I don’t live in the campus (it’s not Oxford or Cambridge), I’m just waiting to find other students who look a bit older.

I’ll strike conversation with them so there’s similar maturity or as I’ve noticed from previous times at uni. More genuine interest in the course than when compared to the more average aged students (least that’s how I feel).

In a place like Oxford, there’s bound to be a way or plenty of circles of people your age.

I get you gravitate towards similar interests, but I’d say, it’s more about how you speak about the interests or how you speak in general.

Mature students tend to be more direct and to the point and quite action orientated from those I know who’ve gone uni later. I’ve found in the same having started this course at 24, (yeah I’m not older significantly but I’m old enough to feel as though my interest for uni isn’t for experience but for the paper and the studying itself having worked between when I left school and now when I started this course.

Hope this helps with perspectives, I’m sure you won’t come across weird cos you’re obviously not stupid given you’ve already vsiualisied what barriers yoh might have but imo, unless younger students take an interest to you, it’s better to let them prioritise things for themselves ( I don’t know a single mature student who didn’t give off the vibe of - I know what I’m doing - when I first went to uni at 19, and they weren’t even doing it intentionally bc I’ve caught myself doing it!

But yeah, just an opinion.

Whatever you decide In terms of where to put efforts. The college you live in, doesn’t stop you from meeting like minds. So you’re right to have a go at it.
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Marsus
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(Original post by ConicalFlask)
In my college, there were some older undergrad freshers who fit in fine, and others who mainly socialised with the MCR (as they had automatic membership being over 21).
An interesting observation is that there are nearly as many postgraduates as undergraduates at Oxford, which offers the opportunity to socialise with those your own age albeit further advanced in their studies. Of course many postgraduates will also be new to Oxford. (NB MCR = Middle Common Room - the common room for graduates. JCR=Junior Common Room - undergraduates. SCR=Senior Common Room - Senior college member - fellows, etc).

I believe that club and societies do not distinguish between graduates and undergraduates.
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nexttime
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(Original post by Marsus)
I believe that club and societies do not distinguish between graduates and undergraduates.
No they don't. They're also allowed quite a large number of non-university members.

The walking club and I believe the caving club are two that are mostly non-undergraduates.
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