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Returning to Learning As an Adult: 4 Study Tips for Mature-Age Students

There is no age limit for learning.

Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on January 21, 2024

Adult Person Studying In A Library

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Embarking on an educational journey as a mature-age student brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

Unlike their younger counterparts, adult learners often balance their studies with a range of other responsibilities.

The decision to return to the classroom later in life is a testament to their commitment to personal growth and professional development.

This article delves into four essential study tips that can help mature-age students navigate the complexities of balancing education with their busy lives.


Tip One: Keeping a Goal in Mind


For mature-age students, the motivation to return to study often stems from a clear and personal goal.

Whether it’s a career shift, personal growth, or a long-held dream, keeping this goal in mind can be a powerful motivator.

Specifically, keeping a goal in mind taps into students’ intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is the type of motivation that comes from one’s own personal want or need to progress.

This is contrasted with extrinsic motivation, which is usually provided by a boss, mentor, or parent.

One of the difficulties that many students face when embarking on self-driven education is the lack of an extrinsic motivator.

Therefore, intrinsic motivation is an important tool in the students’ toolbelt.

Accessing intrinsic motivation can be as simple as regularly reminding yourself of why you embarked on this journey or visualizing your future self enjoying the fruits of your hard work.

This vision can help sustain your motivation during challenging times and keep you focused on the end goal.


Tip Two: Online or In-Person


When returning to education as a mature-age student, one crucial decision is choosing between online and in-person courses.

Each mode of learning offers distinct advantages and challenges.

Many schools and universities have switched to online models, offering courses such as online accelerated BSN programs.

Online courses often allow learners to access course materials and lectures from anywhere, offering a level of convenience that traditional in-person classes might not.

Choosing the online path provides flexibility and accessibility, which can be invaluable for students balancing other life commitments.

On the other hand, in-person education offers direct interaction with instructors and peers, which can be beneficial for those who thrive in a more structured and communal learning environment.

Whilst online collaboration is increasing in popularity, some students may find in-person study a better way to access the benefits of collaborative learning.

The choice between online and in-person learning should be influenced by your personal learning style, your daily schedule, and the specific demands of the program you are considering.

Understanding these factors will guide you in selecting the most suitable path for your educational journey.


Tip Three: Having Isolated Study Time


Finding a quiet, dedicated space for study is crucial.

Mature-age students need an environment where they can concentrate and learn without interruptions.

This might mean setting up a home office, using a local library, or even booking a study room in community centers.

Allocate specific time slots for study and treat them as non-negotiable appointments.

During these periods, if possible, it can be beneficial to minimize distractions by turning off your phone or using apps that block social media.

Remember, quality often trumps quantity when it comes to study time, so make these moments count.


Tip Four: Becoming a Learner Again


Returning to education after a long hiatus can mean reacquainting yourself with learning, or often acquainting yourself for the first time.

Embrace the role of a student and be open to new methods of learning and thinking.

The academic world evolves continuously, and what might have been effective learning strategies in the past could now be outdated.

Take advantage of resources like online tutorials, study groups, and academic workshops.

Most importantly, be patient with yourself.

Learning is a journey, and every student has their own pace and style.




Returning to education is a wonderful opportunity to redefine who you are and want to be.

New and returning students have the opportunity to set new goals, change a stagnant lifestyle, and to dream big.

It is an opportunity to change your work environment, from the office to the library, classroom or home.

It is a time to spend working towards your own goals.

All of this can be exceedingly fulfilling, so make the most of it.

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