Mature Students

Choosing to return to formal education after a long gap can be quite daunting and it is always a challenge to juggle studying with other commitments. At the University Centre, South Essex we have years of experience of supporting successful mature students who have chosen to further their career or realise their lifelong ambition to study and change their future.

Our bespoke, flexible working environment means that you will feel welcome and supported throughout your journey back into education.

The purpose of this section is to provide you with all of the information you may need in one place.


Download our latest  guide for Mature Learners

Choosing your course

Whether you intend to develop your career by gaining a degree or you want to study for personal fulfilment, it is important you find the right course. There are about 500,000 university courses to choose from across 236 institutions so choosing the right course for you could take some time.

Things to consider:

  • Look through the course modules:
  • Does the content appeal to you?
  • Is it practical or all desk-based?
  • Does it suit your learning style?
  • Where will the course take me?
  • What have students progressed to?
  • Can I fit in my other commitments (work or childcare) and commit the hours I need to complete my course? A full-time, three year degree course is equivalent to a full-time job. We recommend that you should be able to dedicate 30 hours per week to your studies. This will be a mixture of timetabled lectures on campus, practical experience and independent study

There is lots of information on our courses available on each of the course pages and our course leaders are more than happy to discuss the course in more detail with you.

Chat to one of our students


Entry requirements

We recognise a wide range of qualifications as well as the overall life experience of mature applicants.

If you have been out of education for some time or do not have at least one level 3 qualification (that is an A-level) we may suggest you start with a foundation year before you being your undergraduate degree. Click here for more information on access courses.

Our admissions team will be happy to talk to you before you submit your application to check.

Access to HE

Access courses are designed for adults over the age of 19 who want to study a degree in order to further or change their career, but do not have the necessary formal qualifications.

These courses are ideal if you have been out of education for some time, especially if you left school with too few qualifications to be able to go straight to university. They provide a good foundation in the knowledge and skills required for studying at university level, so that you will be confident and well prepared to go on to higher education.

View Access to HE page

Case study: Josh

Case study: Rosie

What next?

Once you have found your perfect course it is time to submit your application.

Applications are made online via the UCAS website and you can apply to up to five universities. You will need to supply:

  • Your education and employment history
  • Certificates for any qualifications you have gained
  • A personal statement – let your personal experience and personality come through and tell us what has made you want to go back and study! 
  • A personal reference – Ask your current employer, a teacher or professional to act as a referee. They will be contacted directly by UCAS after you submit their details on your application so let them know you are putting them down!
  • When we have considered your application you will be invited into an interview with the course leader to discuss the next steps.

When we have considered your application you will be invited into an interview with the course leader to discuss the next steps.