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Mature Students

(14 Posts)
ChelleQ Mon 04-Jul-11 11:59:20

Hi, I couldn't find a thread for parents and their education so I thought I would start one.

How many have gone down the mature student path and how did you cope with studying and kids?

aquafunf Mon 04-Jul-11 12:15:12

i did an MBA whilst working full time and with 2 smallish (school age) children. looking back i can barely believe that i did it. about to start on a part time PGCE with dcs 16, 13 and 3.

my top tips

be absolutely sure of what you want to study it and WHY you want to. i had to dig deep into my reasons over the 3 years to do my MBA.

find spare time- at one point dh took kids to school, so i got up earlier and went into work earlier and worked there. i also took myself off to the library on saturday mornings.

be absolutely clear on deadlines and precisely what you need to do to pass each part.

ask, ask and ask again if you need help. this is the advantage of being a mature student- i had no hesitation in asking stupid questions- or saying "i didnt understand what you just said, please go over it again"

make friends who are determined to get through the course- you will help each other.

i also took days off sick to finish assignments- i only had 23 days a year holiday and something had to give

twistedrope Mon 04-Jul-11 12:45:30

I did my first degree when I had one child, but I was a FT student so I did most of my study when he was at school. Make the most of all the finance options available to you - there are discretionary funds at every university and I also got a bursary through a charitable foundation, plus a scholarship, which all helped.

I also made use of 'extenuating circumstances' every time I had a deadline - the uni was always sympathetic and it was helpful to get a bit of extra time, as some kind of crisis would always come up. I have health issues as well though, which meant they had to take my requests seriously - not sure if they'd do it for all mature students.

I tended to stay up late and work rather than wake early - have always been a night owl.

I'm returning to university to do a degree in another field in September. I'll be doing it p/t this time around and DS is at secondary school, so I'll be more relaxed I think.

I think the best bit about being a student is having the long summer break and a proper Christmas/Easter break to spend with the children. Probably not the case for postgrad courses though!

ChelleQ Mon 04-Jul-11 13:34:37

thanks guys, I have 3 years of undergratuate first, and then I get to compete for a space at Surrey (there are about 15 places from what I can gather :S) so I'm looking at ways of getting counselling courses and experience along the way. Probably do summer placements or something if necessary, but first I just have to get past the whole first time at uni bit lol.

millimoohoo Mon 04-Jul-11 15:05:10

Im in the same position as you chelle,starting a fulltime undergraduate degree course in sep. My lifes busy enough now so I worry how im going to manage. Ive been a fulltime mum since ds was born so its the first time ive had to look into childcare. I attend placements on my course so will need before and after school care. It doesnt help when his behaviour at school has been a major issue over the last few months, Im getting stressed about it already and am questioning why im doing it at all! Im going to give it a good go though, im sure i'll love the course and all the stress will be worth while, plus there is the long summer holidays to look forward to......

crazymum53 Mon 04-Jul-11 15:09:31

Some universities and colleges are very child-friendly and have an on-site nursery for students children. I would ask about this before you apply. Also I would try and get some information about the percentage of mature students at the place where you would like to study as well.

ChelleQ Mon 04-Jul-11 16:35:37

my options on uni have been fairly limited, I'm going to go to Winchester as its local and has what I need, but I'm already doing some OU stuff as well. The choice of Surrey was limited too as its the nearest place to do the postgrad bit but its a long way off yet.

What were you planning to study Millimoohoo? (is it ok you call you milli for short lol)

ellenbrody Mon 04-Jul-11 16:36:12

You can do it! I work F/T, have 2 youngish kids, a shift working husband and am doing a degree. You need to be passionate about what you are doing and be able to visualise the end goal. When I am struggling, imagining my life afterwards always bucks me up.
I make use of every lunch time at work to study and evenings when DC are in bed. When a deadline is coming up I ask DH to take DC out for the day (picnic/ visits etc) so I can work. I sometimes feel sad that I am not part of these fun days, but have to console myself with thinking it will all be worth it.
I ahve tried really hard not to use the extenuating circs forms because on our course we do not get a break between assignments and it would mean working on two at a time which would be very stressful.
I also find setting myself mini-deadlines helpful to manage my workload, doing a bit at a time. My last piece of advice is, if you can afford it (we eat pasta and jacket pots loads!), get a cleaner, even if it's only 1 hour a day!

PippiLongBottom Mon 04-Jul-11 16:49:14

I have just finished my first year of an undergraduate degree full time doing English Lit. I have three kids who were 8, 3, and 1 when I started. I have a part time evening job and a DH, house, cats, and 2 chickens grin

I love, love, love English and choosing my subject well has helped me achive some fantastic grades and come out as the highest in my year. I got 72 for my 2nd semester grin

mrz Mon 04-Jul-11 18:31:28

I did a full time degree with 2 young children and a part time MA when they were older but I was obviously working. Personally I couldn't have done it without the support of family and friends.

millimoohoo Tue 05-Jul-11 19:59:29

Im doing a BA in social work chelle, sometimes think i need one rather than becoming one! My uni's an hours drive away although i can get there by train which i'll prob do. Dont have family to help with childcare which is why finding the right childcare is important. Im hoping my enthusiam for the course will carry me through.

happygardening Thu 07-Jul-11 14:37:49

I did a geog degree at as a full time student when I was 41 I also worked 20 - 30 hours a week and have two boys (and I got a 2.1). Ok there were times when it was really difficult to juggle everything but it was the happiest three years of my life and has changed me as a person. Go for it. As a useful point the terms are generally much shorter than schools and full time does not usually mean everyday all day.

ChelleQ Sun 17-Jul-11 17:47:58

Its great to hear about ladies who've succeeded, makes it a tiny bit less scary. Milli - I suspect once you get started you wont want to give it up so you'll try hard to make it work. I hope it goes well for you.

I'm doing Psychology and then hopefully Practitioners doctorate in psychology of counselling and therapy. I'm going to finish my OU degree on the side somewhere a long the way I think too. I know I'm putting a lot on my plate but I was told there were only 15 places at surrey and there are over 200 psych students at Winchester alone so there could be a lot of people going for those few places when it comes to the time.

ChelleQ Mon 15-Aug-11 16:03:49

I passed my exam and my place is confirmed, now just waiting for student finance, anyone tll me what their dealings with student finance are like?

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