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Over 45 and thinking of going back to University? Here’s what you need to know

It is difficult to make the decision to go back into education especially after a period of time working or in a career. If you’re over the age of 45 and you’ve made the brave choice to give education another chance there are a few things you should know about tertiary education in 2019.  Re-entering the academic arena as a person over the age of 45 has both benefits and disadvantages, and we have listed the most common examples below.

You will stand out in class

This will probably go without saying, but I will say it anyway. You are going to be noticed by your fellow classmates, and while it shouldn’t really bother you by now it is an important point to remember. One of the most noticeable ways that mature students stand out from their younger peers is that the lecturers can often relate more closely to the older classmates. There are a good number of students who will blend into the group of teenagers, but you being older will mean you are easily identifiable to both the class and lecturers alike.  Communication with lecturers via email is often a lot easier and more specific when you are a mature student, mainly because the teacher is bound to know who you are but also because they will address you in a different manner.

Your age is an advantage and a disadvantage

While I doubt making friends was your primary aim when becoming a mature student, it is important to realise that being older than your classmates does alienate you a little bit. This is not to say that they mean to alienate you, nor does it mean that you can’t bridge the gap by taking the time to talk to them but to begin with you will be naturally more distant to them than people their own age.

Being older means that you tend to know your strengths and weaknesses, and will have an easier time planning out work. People tend to get more pragmatic as they age, so while you will probably witness your teenage classmates struggling with their social life and deadlines, you will have it under control.

You will need to be computer literate

The majority of people whether they be older or younger are coming to terms with basic computer literacy. However, it is important to remember that not everyone knows their way around a computer. If you are over 45 and you are thinking of heading back to university it is important to realise that you will be required to have at least a general understanding of how to use a computer. Word processing has taken over from the hand written essays of yesteryear and you will need to learn how to appropriately type up an essay using in a word processing document. Becoming familiar with basic university requirements with regards to how to appropriately process assignments is essential. The best advice when it comes to learning how to use a computer is to be diligent, keep an open mind and remind yourself that you’ve learn new things in the past. If you are still struggling it is always worth asking a classmate or a younger relative to show you the ropes, or give you tips on how to best use a computer.

You will learn from your young peers too

Should you be given the opportunity to work in a group then you might find yourself learning a thing or two off of your younger classmates. Attitudes and perspectives change from generation to generation and by interacting with classmates you will be introduced to a different way of thinking about specific information. By being introduced to new perspectives you will find yourself questioning a lot of opinions that you have formed over the years, and whether or not they might have been misguided. 

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