Being nearly at the end of a full-time social work degree, I thought that I would share some advice from what I learnt during my experience, for anyone considering returning to study.
1) It is not too late!
I hear so many people say that they wish that they could have gone to uni, but it is too late for them now. It is never too late to invest in yourself and your future. Many people return to uni as mature students so you will not be alone, particularly if you are studying a subject like social work, where at least fifty per cent of my year group were mature students.
If you are really worried about being the only older student in your subject, then why not contact the place of study that you are considering. You can ask them for the average amount of mature students taking your chosen course each year. They will be more than happy to help you and knowing that you are not the only older student should help to put your mind at rest.
2) If you want it bad enough, you can overcome almost anything!
Taking the decision to return to studying when you are older can be scary. You may have children to consider, a mortgage, a partner, a job. There are so many aspects to consider! However, if you really want to do this and you are committed then there are nearly always solutions to problems. Contacting your chosen university for advice is the best idea. They have departments who specialise in helping you to find grants and bursaries to help with costs, people who can help you with student finance applications and people who can give the advice to help with all sorts of problems.
3) Take advantage of any free workshops on offer to help you brush up on your study skills.
At my university, there were many free workshops available to help with things such as; writing critically, referencing, researching and assignment planning. Even if you think you will be able to get by without the help, I would recommend attending as you may learn something that will really help you which you didn’t know. When I attended I found that some of the things which I had been taught years before had now changed, so the workshops were actually really beneficial.
4) Try and get involved within the university community
Making the effort to become involved within the university can really help you to feel that you fit in and will also look good on your CV as well. There are many ways to get involved, things like sports clubs, societies, and course reps. I got involved in the student elections which was really fun and then became the first ever elected mature students officer. I also became the course year rep the following year as well.
5) Book recommendation!
If your university uses the Harvard reference system then I can not recommend this book enough!
This was an absolute lifesaver as every type of reference is in here for Harvard so it was just a case of looking it up and then there would be a clear example of how to correctly reference.
If you have enjoyed reading this or found it helpful then please do let me know, I love to hear from you!