Your guide to becoming an adult learner

Mature Student On Laptop

Ready to commence study as a mature age student? Here's everything you need to know.

Have you been thinking about going back to university to pursue further study? Whether high school was a few years ago or a few decades ago, you might fit into one of these categories:
  • Wanted to take a break before pursuing tertiary studies or have been thinking about a course but life got in the way
  • Taken time off to travel
  • Decided to enter the workforce over studying at university
  • Have studied a course and realised the subject wasn’t really for you
  • Are looking to change careers
Good news: it’s never too late to chase your dreams and passions. Even better news: getting into uni is simpler than you think. We offer flexible entry pathways to cater for all kinds of students, each of whom will bring a unique combination of work and life experience. We can help you achieve your study goals and ensure you end up in a career you love. 

First, let’s clear up some questions we’re often asked. 

What is a mature aged student or adult learner?

A mature aged student or adult learner is someone who is looking to pursue a university degree and isn’t necessarily doing so straight after high school. Maybe you’ve taken a bit longer to decide what you want to do and have decided on a Nursing degree. Maybe you’ve gone as far as you can in your current role and want to add some Business credentials to further your career. Or maybe you’ve been working in a totally different field and want to pivot to Design. Mature aged students come from all these backgrounds and more.

How old is a mature aged student?

Some educational institutions consider anyone over the age of 21 a mature aged student. There’s no definitive answer to this – as mentioned above, it’s basically someone who isn’t coming to tertiary study directly from high school (or a gap year). Adult learners are a diverse group from a variety of life stages. You’re never too old to learn something new. In fact, it can open you up to a world of entirely new opportunities.

Can you explain how to get into uni as a mature aged student?

This process is a lot easier than you may expect. At Torrens University Australia, for example, we offer flexible entry pathways to cater for all kinds of students, each of whom brings a unique combination of work and life experience. For more specifics, let’s move onto the next section. 

Steps to becoming a mature aged student at Torrens University

1. Commit mentally

This is the most important step. Be ready to invest time and effort into your learning and education, into your future. Take a moment to reflect on your priorities, commitments and how studying fits into the picture. To make this as easy as possible, we’ve designed our courses to be flexible. They’re tailored to you and your lifestyle, with online or on-campus delivery options, as well as the ability to study full time, part time or accelerated.

2. Choose a course

We have so many courses available in areas including Design, Business, Health, Hospitality, Technology, Education or Higher degrees by research. Or maybe you aren’t ready to dive into a full degree – that’s perfectly okay. We’ve got an array of short courses, which can give you a taste of what to expect from uni life.

Take the time to ask yourself, “What’s my dream career? What am I truly passionate about?” Do some research to help you understand what you want to be doing. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s all about which course fits best. You may already know the answer, but if not, don’t stress; our Course and Careers Advisors are here to help you.

3. Understand the entry requirements and Recognition of Prior Learning for mature aged students

At Torrens University, we support anyone who wants to pursue their passions. That’s why we feel strongly about giving you multiple pathway options – and even scholarships to help financially. This means you could apply and enter a course based on your work and life experience, confident your life’s journey counts in your favour.

Torrens University take all the formal and informal learning you’ve done into account when you apply for courses with us. We call this our Recognition of Prior Learning policy, and it could see you score a reduction in the length or cost of your course.

4. Apply or chat to a Course and Careers Advisor

You’re pretty much set to go and apply for that course you’ve been eyeing off. And if you have any questions, contact one of our Future Student Advisors. They’re here to support you, making the process as easy and as possible.

Life as a mature aged student

At Torrens University, we want to support your leap of faith into pursuing further education, whether you’re a career changer, career enhancer or chasing a dream. Here are our top tips to help ensure you enjoy the academic journey.

1. Consider what works best for you

Flexibility and choice are key for adult learners, who often have more commitments to contend with than recent school leavers. Understanding this, we offer personalised options in:

  • Courses ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate, short courses and higher degree research, from Interior Design to Business to Nursing
  • Delivery modes including online, on-campus or a combination of both
  • Varying workloads such as full time, part time or accelerated, allowing you to complete a course at your pace.

2. Make the most of support services available

Entering university as an adult learner, you’re likely to have plenty of questions. No stress – all our students can form a relationship with one of our Success Coaches, who are there to support, guide and assist you along the way.

In addition, Torrens University is all about ensuring students graduate job-ready and maximising employability. Your Success Coach will help you get your foot in the door of your future career – whether that be through internships, work-integrated learning opportunities or networking.

3. Network and build relationships

University is a great opportunity to make friends and build new connections. You’ll meet people from many different walks of life and backgrounds. We aren’t just referring to your fellow students. Our academics and lecturers have all worked within industry, and share the same passion you have for your chosen field. Make the most of your opportunities to pick their brains and tap into their wealth of knowledge.

In a recent video, Billy Blue College of Design alumna Sue Chen spoke about her transition and career change from taxation into interior design. She noted the best part about her experience was the people.

“The people is what really struck me at the beginning,” she says. “The lecturers... the fellow students... how passionate they are and how they all bring their own experiences has been really incredible.”

Find a course that fits you perfectly
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