Guide

Support for mature students

Updated on 18 August 2022

Get help with finance, funding, and adjusting to university life if you are a mature student.

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Mature students are, officially, anyone over 21 when they start studying. There are a large number of mature students at Dundee both in terms of those who study on campus in Undergraduate courses, and those that study some of our Postgraduate courses that are aimed at people already in work or for those wanting a change in direction later in life.

Most issues that are faced by mature students are similar to those faced by the rest of the student population, so its important not to worry that you're at a particular disadvantage.

Learning at university

If you were at school before the 2010s, you may not have used a virtual learning environment before.

My Dundee is our virtual learning environment (VLE). Based on Blackboard Learn, it provides online areas for all your modules, including learning content, activities, assessment, as well as "organisations" which contain discipline and school information.

Once you have your My Dundee login details, you can either access it via the website on a desktop or laptop, or install and use the Blackboard app on your phone or tablet.

Finance, budgeting, and funding

If you are a mature student, there are a variety of places to get support with finance, budgeting, and funding.

Student Funding can assist with a variety of money related issues and also deal with applications for the University’s discretionary fund. They can also give advice in relation to child tax credits, council tax, and money management.

There are also some useful guides available from the following:

Find a job

For some mature students it may be important that you find some compatible employment to help you financially while you are studying or in vacation times. The University’s Careers Service provides a Jobshop where employers can advertise jobs suitable for current students and graduates.

Adjusting to university life

Welcome / Freshers Week is a great opportunity for you to get involved in a variety of activities and events. It is also another good chance to meet other new students (mature or otherwise) and familiarise yourself with the campus facilities and buildings.

Look out for events which aim to bring students together in the Welcome Events programme, some of which are specifically aimed at mature students.

Coping with stress and self-help

Managing your stress as a mature student can seem tricky, with lots of competing demands on your time and possibly changes to family life, income and roles.

Tips for settling in mature students

Involve your family and friends

Studying at university can give you a big confidence boost but it also involves challenges and change for everyone involved. To avoid making those closest to you feel excluded, try to involve your family and friends in what you’re doing.

Don't worry about being the oldest person

If walking into a busy lecture theatre and worrying about being the oldest person there seems like a scary idea, this is understandable. Try not to allow it to ruin your experience. Remember that everyone else will be new as well and probably as anxious as you though for different reasons.

Be kind to yourself

Be kind to yourself, remember that any life change can take some time to settle down.

Get support

Take advantage of the support on offer if you need to, the University wants you to succeed. Don’t suffer in silence, seek assistance rather than facing challenges alone.

Build your network

Don’t assume other students won’t want to get to know you because you are a mature student or that you won’t have anything in common. All students bring a range of experiences and interests to university regardless of their age or background. Take the opportunity to build your network and get to know as many people as possible on campus.

Join societies

Don’t miss out on taking advantage of everything the University can offer and join one (or more) of the many societies or activities on offer.

Remember life outside university

Don’t forget about your social life outside of the University, you’ll find that being able to step out from your university life also helps you to keep the balance.

Accommodation

The University offers accommodation for all new undergraduate students providing you apply before the cut off dates. We do not offer accommodation for students with a partner and/or children.

Moving to Dundee with family

Dundee has a variety of private sector accommodation. Families living in private sector housing need to make their own arrangements, although this is far easier when you are actually are in Dundee.

Therefore, we recommended that if you are moving with your family, you may wish to come alone beforehand to organise things, and the rest of your family join you when you have found suitable accommodation.

Alternatively, families could use hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation initially while looking for a more permanent home.

Guide category Student support