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Tips For Returning to Study After an Extended Break

The term ‘mature aged student’ is quite broad. While it varies between institutions, the term usually applies to any students over 21. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 90,000 students aged over 25 enrolled in university from 2011 to 2016.

For those who have had a significant time out in the workforce and/or managing family commitments, returning to study is a big decision.

If you’re worried about making that step, here are some tips to get into the swing of getting back into studying.

Get to know the environment

Enrolling in or going back to study as a mature-aged student can be an exciting experience, and it’s important to hit the ground running before classes start. You can start by learning the map of the campus or read up on what unit and subjects you need to take on. If you’re studying online, take the time to familiarise yourself with the online portal. It’s also a great idea to attend orientations to find out more about the faculty you’re in.

Set realistic expectations

If you’ve been out of the studying game a long time, you might need to brush up on academic skills like referencing, plagiarism and the general mindset that’s required for formal study. However, it’s important to go easy and know that you don’t have to nail it all from day one— having patience and adjusting your expectations is part of the transition into student life.

Prioritise well

Don’t wait until the very last minute to find out your assignments take up a lot of your time. Instead, set early deadlines to keep yourself on track to make sure that important tasks are done on time. For starters, you can focus on the objectives for each of your subjects. Examine your course outlines carefully and this way, you won’t lose motivation during your studies.

Develop a network

Being a student provides you with the opportunity to develop a network of friends and establish meaningful friendships. Attending orientation days and faculty welcomes are a great way to connect with other students and lecturers. Your time on campus is limited, so be sure you make the most out of it and maintain the friendships and connections you have made.

Two-Thirds of Universities and Colleges Have Seen Rise in Student Drop-Out Rates
January 9, 2020
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Two-thirds of UK universities and colleges have seen a rise in the proportion of students dropping out in recent years.

Data analysed by the Press Association found that in the period from 2011-12 to 2016-17, 100 higher education institutions (67 per cent) saw an increase in the proportion of students dropping out.

Forty-six institutions (31 per cent) saw a fall in dropout rates, while the figure was unchanged at four universities and colleges.

The largest proportional increase was seen at the University of Abertay, Dundee, which had an 8.6 percentage point rise from 3.5 per cent in 2011-12, to 12.1 per cent in 2016-17.

‘Challenging barriers’

A spokesman for the university said it recognised “there is a need to improve student retention”.

In England, Bedfordshire University had the biggest increase, at 6.9 percentage points, rising from 8.3 per cent in 2011-12 to 15.2 per cent in 2016-17.

A spokeswoman said: “As a widening participation university our students can face challenging barriers to success.

She said many Bedfordshire students are “balancing the responsibilities of family and work with studying for a degree”, and “unable to turn to the bank of ‘mum and dad’”.

‘Up their game’

The analysis was based on data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency for 150 universities and colleges, and covers UK, full-time undergraduate students who were no longer in higher education the year after they started their course.

It comes at a time when student welfare is in the spotlight, with universities facing increased scrutiny over the support they give students and the value for money of their degrees.

In September the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, wrote to universities demanding they “up their game” by cutting drop out rates.

Image result for Chris Skidmore, the universities minister

Responding to the latest figures, Chris Skidmore, the universities minister, said: “I want to see each university and indeed courses held individually accountable for how many students are successfully obtaining a degree, so that we can be transparent and open about where there are real problems.”

‘Flourishing’ students

“Many universities are doing excellent work to support students, but it’s essential that dropout rates are reduced. We cannot afford to see this level of wasted talent,” he added.

A spokesman for Universities UK said: “Universities are committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring students from all backgrounds can succeed and progress.”

“This includes supporting students to achieve the best outcomes in not only getting into university, but flourishing while they are there.”

In October i reported that some universities are keeping electronic tabs on their students’ movements and using algorithms to identify those students most at risk of quitting.

Clients off to University? Then They May be Eligible for Additional Support
September 26, 2018
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Students all over the country are preparing to go off to university and it could be time to see if they are eligible for additional support in higher education.

Use the AbilityNet HE support checker

Getting a degree is a huge challenge for every student but some students face additional challenges and barriers. You could be eligible for extra help from your university and the UK Government’s Disabled Students’ Allowances.

Use the free HE Support Checker to find out if you could be eligible for extra support at university due to a health condition or impairment. This is entirely anonymous, and you do not have to supply any personal information.

What support could you get?

Read more

Understanding Students’ Money Worries

To understand the financial pressures facing students the Money Advice Service partnered with the National Association of Student Money Advisers (NASMA)opens in new window to commission a unique survey of the UK student population.

This research, conducted with 5,118 full-time undergraduate students, examines the student experience of money at university or college.

Higher-education students and money

Our briefing note on the findings shows there are reasons to be positive:

  • Most students feel confident managing their money and pay attention to their finances. For example, three-quarters check their bank balance at least once a week.
  • Students are not afraid to ask for help or seek guidance when needed.

Read more

Student Destination Statistics Paper
August 25, 2016
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Destination measures provide clear and comparable information on the success of schools and colleges in helping their students take courses that offer them the best opportunity to continue in education or training or successfully enter employment. These measures are increasingly being seen as a key tool in assessing how well schools and colleges prepare their students to make a successful transition into the next stage of education or training, or employment.

The Department for Education has published what is described as a Statistical Working Paper: which aims to provide Improvements to data on destinations of key stage 5 students, England, 2013/14. The new data comes from the Longitudinal Education Outcomes datasets, which links information in individuals’ education with employment and earning information from different government departments.

To access the full paper Click Here