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To ask Mumsnetters what age they would consider to be too old to go to unversity in the UK?

(28 Posts)
chickflicklover Sat 26-Sep-15 16:59:25

I am wondering if 26 would be too old to have the full uni experience. By that I mean the partying, societies, extracurriculars, any other fun experiences that I might not have thought of.

UncertainSmile Sat 26-Sep-15 17:02:35

I'm 46 and I'm thinking of applying for next year. I'm not planning on any parties though. The 18 year old are going to think you are ancient at your age, but there's bound to be some people in their mid twenties there.

BitOfFun Sat 26-Sep-15 17:03:09

There was a guy in his seventies on my course who thoroughly enjoyed himself. I don't think he shagged anyone, mind, but who knows?

If you're paying for it, you want to work hard at your course in the main, I'd have thought.

UncertainSmile Sat 26-Sep-15 17:03:38

When I was 18, one of our friends was 21; We used to call him grandad. People are weird at that age.

NuckyS Sat 26-Sep-15 17:04:23

My DW went at that age and had a great time. She made a lot of friends in her own age range who were also starting 'late' (mid 20s to early 30s), went to uni in a city she loved, then moved back to her home for a good job (that was when we met!) - I would say go for it and enjoy it.

From the educational point-of-view, DW also had professional experience by this stage so I would say it helped her get more out of her degree.

ilovesooty Sat 26-Sep-15 17:04:40

No age limit on study. The social experience surely depends on your home and family commitments.

I was 25 when I went, and I loved it. I think there were students older than me there at the same time.

I would say you are only too old to go to university when you are dead.

Spidertracker Sat 26-Sep-15 17:06:38

I started my degree at 27. But as I was already a mum of two, and wanted the education not the lifestyle I went with the OU.
I don't think you are ever too old to study, so go ahead and try the student lifestyle while you are there, its not a necessary part of the experience.

SirChenjin Sat 26-Sep-15 17:07:15

My DS is a first year uni student - there is an 'older' student on the course who is 22 hmm. I remember a woman on my course who was 24, and we were all in awe of her.

At 26, I think the bulk of the students would consider you too old to invite to parties etc, but there will be other mature students there. You might just have to accept that you're there to work more and party less at that age - and I don't think there is ever a cut off age for that.

FelixFelix Sat 26-Sep-15 17:08:30

There was someone in my friend group at uni who was 26 when she started. You'd never have known she was older than the rest of us. There were a few other in their early twenties too. Everyone lived in halls and had the usual uni experience, the same as all the 18 year olds.

Pandora978 Sat 26-Sep-15 17:09:03

Noooo most definitely not! I have a 25 year old friend doing her undergrad and she's having great fun shagging her way round the phd students grin. She did live with some 18 year olds in her first year and she got on fine with them. She didn't go out binge drinking with them every night though, she mostly hangs around with the older postgrads but she does a lot of partying and extracurriculars.

When I was at uni at 18, I knew loads of students aged mid 20s-early 30s (some undergrad, mostly postgrad) who were very involved in the societies and went to all the student club nights.

cashewnutty Sat 26-Sep-15 17:09:17

One of my DD's flatmates was a guy in his early 30's. He definitely had the whole student experience and they have remained firm friends despite him being almost 10 years older.

BlueBlueBelles Sat 26-Sep-15 17:09:36

My sister went back two years ago, just before she turned 30. She's done the whole fresher week, bar drinking, socialable side as far as I know.

I went back at a similar age, but I had two children so I've done distance study round work instead, due to responsibilities.

I'd have preferred her way! And wouldn't have felt too old!

lljkk Sat 26-Sep-15 17:15:36

26 not too old to party & be daft. Personally alcohol & parties was the last thing I ever wanted at Uni (I started age 17), but you won't be odd one out if you do want those things.

We didn't do "societies", too busy studying & working PT to fit that in, too.

It's also worth remembering that every student picks and chooses the bits of the University experience that they want, that suit them and that appeal to them - so a student might not do as much of the clubbing and drinking, but might get heavily involved in sports or music or drama or debating or student politics - there is so much on offer that I think there is something for everyone.

chickentikkasupper Sat 26-Sep-15 17:22:05

I'm with the OU so working at the same time.

I shouldn't see a problem with socialising if you're a full-timer, as there will be societies aimed at postgrads who will be older than average too.

I also think maybe you might want to question whether or not you actually WANT to be partying with 18 year olds?

at 30 I play sports, am part of an art group, bike round, do fun stuff like play readings and debates and seeing cool films.

I meet and have made friends who are new and open-minded from interesting backgrounds.

This is due to things like using meetup.com and having a good flexible work routine and living in a largish city and taking time getting involved in the art/cultural scene though, not just because I'm a student?

You'll probably fit in, but might not necessarily feel you want to spend all your time with your fellow students. 18 year olds are cool but you may find it a bit weird that they are all angsty and basically going through the "finding identity" issues you went through years ago!

Welshmaenad Sat 26-Sep-15 17:23:50

I'm a second year social work student and at 26 you'd be one of the youngest on our course! Most of us are in our 30s. So it depends on the course I think!

Fairylea Sat 26-Sep-15 17:29:12

At 26 I was a single mum and on my child free weekends while dd was at her dad's I was out all weekend and all night partying and working in a bar as well as my more sensible marketing job during the week....! So I think 26 is absolutely fine for the while uni experience including the partying!

I think anyone should go to uni at any age but now I'm pushing late 30s if I went now I'd expect I'd be tucked up in bed at 10 with a cup of cocoa and a book!

ReallyTired Sat 26-Sep-15 17:38:52

I think that having young children and responsibilities is more of a hiderence to being irresponsible and enjoying the student life than age. There was a young student with a small toddler on my course. Lack of baby sitters prevented her getting the full student experience. 20 years later I wish I could go back in time and offer to baby sit for her so she could have one night a week.

DepecheNO Sat 26-Sep-15 17:39:51

One of my friends started at 25; she goes out more than I do and is more involved in societies and I'm 22. Another friend is 29. Also had people much older on our course, but they have kids and aren't around as much. Agree it depends on the course. Tbh I haven't gone the whole hog with partying five nights a week (started at 21). You will easily find people who are up for the same amount you are.

Liomsa Sat 26-Sep-15 17:41:58

I think it will depend on the course and the student culture at any particular institution. My little sister started her arts degree at 23 and felt very cut off from and much older than the school-leavers who made up 95% of the intake. They mentally classed her as 'one of the mature students' (which I think she technically was), but the mature students (mist 30/40 +) saw her as the same age as the school leavers, and it made her a bit isolated.

I imagine it would be very different at somewhere with a more diverse intake, or on the kind of course which attracts people with more previous life/work experience.

Oysterbabe Sat 26-Sep-15 17:44:00

Just pretend that you're 18 too smile

LisbethSalandersLaptop Sat 26-Sep-15 17:45:29

I was 23 when I went and rather enjoyed my status as an unidentifiable mature student grin

By that time I thought that drinking games and so on were awful, but other than that, had a great time! Everyone makes of it waht they like really don't they?

MadameJosephine Sat 26-Sep-15 17:47:23

I started at 34 and I remember being asked at my interview about how I felt about the younger students who would be out partying and I told them I would show them how it was done grin and I did!

MadameJosephine Sat 26-Sep-15 17:49:23

Depends on the course though I guess, mine (midwifery) was only about 50% school leaver age and the others ranged from early 20's to late 30's

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