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Who qualifies as a mature student?Anyone who is over 23 on January 1st of the year of entry to their chosen course in a recognisable Higher Education Institution (HEI). What are the main reasons behind making the decision to become a mature student?There are different grounds depending on the individual but most people chose to enter the system as a mature student for one of the following;• To complete education and get a degree• To develop an interest or hobby in a certain subject• With a view to improving job prospects• For retraining purposes; either for upskilling or for changing careers• To nurture and advance personal and social skills• For assistance in re-entering the workforceAre there any benefits in being a mature student?Students entering or re-entering the education system as mature students bring with them the considerable advantage of having valuable life experience which will be of great help in academic studies. The high level of sacrifice and commitment made by these students usually means that they also possess a greater force of motivation than their peers. What sort of courses can mature students take?If you are entering third level for the first time you will apply for undergraduate courses at levels of certificate, diploma or degree. If you already have a degree then you have the option of undertaking a postgrad instead. What’s the best way to find out about the courses on offer?Check with the specific HEI; the admissions office will have a list which is updated annually and will outline how many places have been allocated specifically for mature students. How will I know if third level will be right for me?If you are unsure about making a decision it might be worth considering doing a Foundation or Access Course which will ease the transition into college life; contact your nearest HEI for details of these. How do you apply?Most of the courses will require a Central Applications Office (CAO) entry but others will call for a direct application; a small amount will demand both. The successful applicants will then be called for an interview where proof of your capability with the specific subject may be expected. Are there special support channels for mature students?Yes; most HEIs have Mature Student Officers that are solely committed to providing assistance to mature students. All areas like counselling, careers advice and financial support are given. Some officers organise Orientation or Induction Programmes for these students which take place before the course starts in order to make the process as simple and enjoyable as possible. What about financial support?Most mature students will be entitled to avail of the Free Fees Initiative and a Local Authority Grant; click here for more information.


Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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