Who said studying abroad only comes with a set of time restrictions or a specified number on an age scale? Agreed, the conventional image of studying abroad is of undergraduate students gaining international exposure or professional continuing studies for a career boost. But, this myth needs to be busted.
As per the author Lailah Gifty Akita, “It is never late to earn a degree, master's or doctorate. Learning has no age limit. All age groups are welcome to the act of learning.” This assertion is undeniably true when it comes to studying abroad, especially between the age of 25 to 40 or even more.
Individuals who are returning to university or college after a hiatus from full-time study are referred to as mature students or adult students. There could be a number of reasons why they had to abandon their studies. It could be financial difficulties, family responsibilities, or maybe just a lack of interest in continuing their education. Many students take the decision to work even before completing their basic education. However, later in life, this proves a hindrance as a lack of a degree or diploma can get in way of career growth.
In most cases, mature students or adult learners refer to students who are above 21 years at the start of their undergraduate programme or over 25 years at the start of their postgraduate programme. Students in this age group often balance their studies along with work or carrying responsibilities of their families.
Needless to say, being a mature student entering the domain of higher education may be thrilling and intimidating at the same time. You should take into account a lot of metrics if you are deciding to study abroad as an adult, like your desired country, the field of study, personal circumstances, etc. Let us start discussing each aspect one by one.
Wish to study abroad as a mature student but got no idea where and how to start? Let our highly experienced counsellors guide you to start your study abroad journey!
Avail FREE Expert Help to Study Abroad!
Short-Term Study Abroad Programmes for Adults
As a mature student, you should start by researching a subject that particularly interests and nurtures you. The duration of study abroad programmes for adult learners generally differs. They can last for just a week, a month, or even a whole year. It totally depends on the person who is applying to decide which programme to choose. The following are the two popular types of mature student study abroad programmes:
Summer Abroad Programmes for Adults: You should consider adult summer abroad programmes if you have a spare amount of time and money. These programmes provide in-depth opportunities for cultural immersion and can last up to eight weeks. For example, during mature students' summer study abroad programmes, you may live in your own apartments in the heart of Paris, take morning French classes, and spend your free time leisurely exploring Montmartre and eating baguettes. In short, you can make this programme as flexible as you want.
Short-Term Study Abroad Programme: You should consider short-term study abroad programmes if you cannot take a lot of time off work. If you are on a tight budget and can only afford a short-term experience abroad, this type of study abroad programme for older adults is also incredible. These programmes can be completed in as short as one week.
Entry Requirements to Study Abroad as a Mature Student
While applying to a foreign university as a mature student, the major difference is in the admission requirements. A mature student can be as young as 21 years, although many are in their late twenties, early thirties, or even older. Some students have dropped out of school without receiving the appropriate diplomas/certifications.
Students in such circumstances who desire to enrol in university programme admission requirements, such as:
Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma: These courses are intended for students who were unable to enter higher education after finishing their education.
Foundation Courses: These courses allow you to accelerate your learning of the subject you are interested in studying. If you have been away from education for a long time, foundation courses may be ideal for you.
List of Courses for Adult Learners Students With No Qualifications
You must decide which field of study interests you most before deciding which course to pursue abroad as a mature student. This is why it is important to spend some quality time researching the best degrees for adult students, such that you will meet your future goals or aspirations. The following are some courses for mature students with no previous qualifications required as your original education or work experience may be enough to fulfil the basic criteria:
Business and Management.
Acting- includes Stage Management and Community and Applied Theatre
Art and Design- include Fashion Design, Architecture, Interior Design, and Fine Art
Music- includes Jazz, Music Technology, and Music
Construction- includes Planning, Surveying
English- includes English Literature and Drama
Computing- includes Computer Science and Forensic Computing
Media- includes Interactive Entertainment, Digital Art and Games Development, Media and Communication, and Digital Marketing
Social Sciences- includes Sociology, Criminology and Psychology
Health- includes Midwifery, Nursing, Speech and Language Therapy
Engineering- includes Mechanical Engineering and Automotive Engineering
Country-Specific Scholarships for International Mature Students
For mature students, money can be a barrier to studying abroad because they often have to think about how paying for their education would affect their household finances. For international adult learners, there are a variety of financing options available to help them offset this. Government-backed student loans and grants for higher education are also available.
Below is a list of country-specific scholarships available to international mature students. However, it is worth remembering that mature students can also apply for top scholarships to study abroad or the majority of ordinary scholarships.
Scholarships to Study in USA for Adult Learners
The following are a few scholarships to study in USA as a mature student:
Jeannette Rankin Scholarship: This scholarship is open to low-income female students who are at least 35 years old and enrolled in an undergraduate programme at a US university that has been accredited. Scholarships are given directly to the recipient and are renewable for up to five years.
Scholarships to Study in UK for Adult Learners
The following are a few scholarships to study in UK as a mature student:
Loughborough University Mature Student Scholarship: This scholarship is available to undergraduate students who are above the age of 21 to study at Loughborough University.
Lancaster University Mature Student Scholarship: For international mature students enrolling in a postgraduate programme at Lancaster University, there is a GBP 1,000 (approximately INR 96,255) scholarship available.
Scholarships to Study in Canada for Adult Learners
The following are a few scholarships to study in Canada as a mature student:
York University’s A.O Miller Bursary for Mature Students: For mature students enrolling in a programme at York University in Toronto, Canada, a scholarship worth CAD 623 is available.
Bowers Family Mature Student Bursary: For international mature students who have been out of full-time education for more than five years and are enrolled in a Canadian university, a scholarship worth CAD 500 is awarded.
Scholarships to Study in Australia for Adult Learners
The following are a few scholarships to study in Australia as a mature student:
Macquarie University Mature Age/Non-Current School Leaver Scholarship: For international mature students enrolled in any undergraduate degree at Macquarie University, a yearly scholarship of AUD 5,010 is provided.
Venerable Archdeacon Edward Leo Hayes Adult Undergraduate Scholarship: A scholarship worth AUD 3,000 per year for senior students enrolled in courses at Australia's University of Queensland. To qualify for this award, students must be at least 25 years old.
Scholarships to Study in New Zealand for Adult Learners
The following are a few scholarships to study in New Zealand as a mature student:
The Mildred Keir Award: A scholarship worth NZD 3,000 is available to assist women over the age of 27 in their studies in New Zealand. The award aims to support women in completing their education enter the workplace.
Kate Edger Educational Charitable Trust Tressa Thomas Retraining Award: The Auckland University of Technology is providing this scholarship for older women, aged 25 and over. This scholarship is worth an NZD 2,000 grant so that adult learners can pursue education in order to return to the workforce or undertake paid or unpaid work in the community.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list of scholarships available to international mature students. Most universities offer a range of scholarships for adults looking to continue their education. Thus, it is advisable to check the university website for updated information about scholarships.
Prepare Yourself for a Tough Transition
Almost all foreign universities admit mature students or adults. The only difference is that some have a smaller mature student population than others. Even if you are far older than what is termed as the typical 'student’ age range, the doors to study abroad are always wide open for adults of any age. This can be evidenced by the following facts:
All throughout the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the mature student markets in Iran, the Philippines, and Latin America remained robust.
Throughout 2020 and the first five months of 2021, nearly 25% of all new study permit approvals were granted to adult mature international students.
According to studies, 40% of international mature or adult students are over the age of 30, and more than half are between the ages of 21 and 24.
So, get on board with adult short-term study abroad programmes or adult summer abroad programmes, whichever you want. As an older student, you can challenge all you already know, share your personal experiences, and completely expand your higher education.
Feeling this information is insufficient? Or, looking for an expert who can answer all your queries related to studying abroad as a mature student? We have got you covered, drop your queries at email@example.com.
Study Abroad as Adult Learners With the Help of Our Experts!