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Am I too old to study for a degree?

Older lady

It can sometimes seem like university study is only for 18-year-olds — fresh out of school and constantly plugged into the latest devices — but that really isn’t the case. Education has enormous personal and career benefits for people of any age, and universities these days have an atmosphere of exclusivity towards everyone.

Here at University of Essex Online, our student body is made up of people of all ages, nationalities and abilities and we’ve found that our more mature students often make the most dedicated and best-performing learners. If you’ve always wanted to study for a degree, but hesitated due to fears about fellow students, technology or funding, then we’re here to help!

Here are just some of the common misconceptions that mature students have about starting education later in life:


“I will be the oldest in the class!”

Creating a relationship with fellow students when you’re studying is really important, and we understand that it can be daunting if you think you won’t have anything in common with your colleagues. But the reality is that all classes at University of Essex Online are full of such a broad mix of students that no-one really stands out. The online nature of study is a great leveller, and as you chat and work in discussion forums alongside students from around the world you’ll find that age doesn’t affect your studies at all.


“I won’t be able to cope with the technology!”

This is a common fear held by those who have been away from education for a while. The reality is, if you can use a computer (and we assume you’re using one to read this blog post!) then you can study online. Here at University of Essex Online we utilise the latest learning technology to provide you with the best possible learning experience; it’s easy to use and our student support team are always available to help you out with any questions you might have.


“I won’t be able to cope with the workload!”

If your only memories of studying are of frantic exam revision and demanding deadlines then it’s natural to think of education as a purely negative experience. But if you’ve already had a career for a few years, without even realising you’ll have developed the skills to manage projects and deadlines. When you’re studying for the second time round, we’re sure that you’ll find it’s much easier.


“I won’t be able to afford it!”

The days of student grants are sadly gone, but undergraduate students these days still have access to financial help if they need it. Most UK or EU students living in England or the EU are eligible for a government-backed student loan and won’t have to pay any tuition fees up front as the loan will cover the full cost of your course. If you’re not eligible for a tuition fee loan, or you decide to fund your course yourself, we offer a simple monthly payment plan to enable you to spread the cost of your tuition over the duration of your studies. A 10% discount is available for full payment of tuition fees up front.


“I have a family and career to manage!”

Whether you’re the manager of a team at work or the head of a busy household, we can bet that you’re already pretty good at time management. And because all our courses are part-time and offer you the flexibility to study at any time and in any place, they’re perfect for mature students with work or family commitments.


“I won’t have the right qualifications!”

Degree courses at University of Essex Online aren’t just open to those with GCSEs and A-Levels; we also have flexible open entry requirements. We believe that education should be accessible for everyone, so you do not need any previous academic qualifications to join any of our undergraduate degree courses.


Inspired to study online? Download our prospectus today.


And just in case you have any more doubts, here are some quotes from previous graduates who chose to study later in life:

“When I look back, I realise that I still had my walks in the country and my holidays. All my relationships are still intact if not stronger than they were. Getting my degree online was truly one of the pivotal moments of my life and one that has shaped my future immeasurably.” Matthew Jones


“For me personally, trying to juggle a busy home and work life, I could not recommend online learning enough. It fits around your life and enables you to manage your studying time much more effectively. Where else could you receive your economics lecture whilst sitting in your pyjamas!!” Geraldine Bolton


“Studying for my degree has opened my eyes to a world that inspires me to learn, and realise my full potential. I have found that even after many years away from formal education it’s never too late to develop oneself; setting goals and reflecting upon who you are and more importantly who you want to be.”Stuart Harris