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  • Mature student?

    This is crafts related so hope it's ok to post this here?

    I've just some back from a day at one of my local universities. As I currently work as an advisor, the day was aimed at give me information that I could use when working with students, but it's actually inspired me to think about higher education for myself!

    I did try uni after me A levels but chose the wrong course and had a bit of a bad time of things. I also don't think I was ready for it. Now 8 years later I feel like I'm ready to learn more and take on a new challenge.

    I've just been looking at the university's website and they offer a range of courses in '3D Design', including crafts, jewellery making and surface pattern. I'd love the opportunity to at least find out more about it but wondered if anyone here has experiences of being a mature student?

    For example, I've had a look into financial support but there doesn't seem to be any! It seems I may be able to apply for a student loan but that's about it. Also, I wouldn't be able to give up work as I have a mortgage and other bills to pay, so would I still be able to access a course?

    In light of the fact that the course is related to my interest in crafts, would I be able to get any financial support in light of it helping me work towards running my own business in the future?

    As a mature student, do you apply through UCAS and would I be too late for this year in that case?

    Owww, so many questions! They have an open day coming up by it's during the week when I'm at work! I might see if I could arrange my own visit though instead.

    I don't think my BF's going to buy in to it - wish I didn't have all these commitments, life would be a lot easier!
    Katian Mosaics

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  • #2
    Hi Kate

    Can't tell you if it's the right thing to do or not or what it's like being a mature student but I can give you some practical advice....

    If you do a degree part-time (and work part-time) you could get some funding depending on what you're earning which could cover your tuition fees plus a bit more for maintanence - it's not a huge amount but might make the difference, details here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/EducationAndLearning/UniversityAndHigherEducation/StudentFinance/Applyingforthefirsttime/DG_171530

    Couldn't you blag a visit to the uni on work time? I'll hold my hands up and admit that in the past I've accompinied a group of interested 6th formers to our local uni and made sure I asked all the questions I wanted to know (was finding out for hubby). I also visited one as a 'provider visit' and reported back to my team on their new courses/entry reqs etc but also got the info I wanted to on their MA courses for me.

    I got hubby accepted onto a part-time degree course last August to start a few weeks later by contacting the uni directly, they just asked that he complete the UCAS form and attend a meeting (he bottled it and didn't do it in the end) I think it depends on how popular the course is. If memory serves me right I think you can apply via clearing in August as long as you submit a UCAS form at the same time I feel like I'm teaching you to suck eggs here but remember it's possible the uni would require an art foundation year for that particular course.

    Hope that helps but there's bound to be a careers adviser at work who is an expert on the nitty gritty details you could quiz - just tell them it's for a friend if you don't want them to know it's you.
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    • #3
      Hi Katian
      I was in my twenties when I went back to college to do an HND in Art & Design and really enjoyed it. There are always other mature students, so you don't have to try and be 16 again! - unless you want to!
      I was sharing a flat at the time and had to work 3-4 nights a week aswell as having a student loan - so it's not easy, but worth it if you really want it! (this was 10 years ago, so don't know if there's more financial help available now!)
      As for applying to UCAS/whether it's too late in the year etc - you'd probably have to check all that stuff out with the college.
      A lot of colleges do 1 day a week courses - or there may be a similar evening course?
      It sounds really exciting anyway - so good luck with it!

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      • #4
        You might also be interested in a career development loan, which you DO have to pay back, but the government sub the interest. It is for courses which progress your career. I think it is barclays, royal bank of scotland and the coop bank that do them, but you could find out more by googling.

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        • #5
          Hi, I'm not a student but my other half is! He's 43 and is in his final year studying to be a chiropractor. There is funding about and he's got student loans and overdrafts. The one thing that annoys him is that every year the grant forms change formats! Drives him nuts!

          It hasn't been easy but you get used to being skint! We've got 2 kids and they haven't gone without. (Ask my eldest and she'll tell you different!!!)

          It can be done!

          Good luck!
          Debbie
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          • #6
            Hi there.
            I did my first degree straight from school so I had the usual student experiences - living away from home in halls of residence, student lifestyle, friends, pubs, etc etc.
            When I was 26 I went back to university again to study something completely different for my second degree. There was one other mature student in my class who was a bit older than me but she dropped out a few weeks into it leaving me as the oldest person in the group, mainly 18 year olds.
            I felt ancient, especially as when we introduced ourselves in the ice-breaking session (you had to talk to the person sitting on your right and then introduce them to the class). The girl I had been partnered with whispered in hushed tones of embarassment "do you mind if I tell them how old you are?" which made me laugh and feel crap at the same time haha!

            Anyway, second time around it was completely different because I was living in my own home, was married, and didn't really get involved in the whole student 'lifestyle' this time around, was just there to do my work and study.

            I still applied through UCAS though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Louise77 View Post
              When I was 26 I went back to university again to study something completely different for my second degree. There was one other mature student in my class who was a bit older than me but she dropped out a few weeks into it leaving me as the oldest person in the group, mainly 18 year olds.
              On my first degree course there were probably about 5 or 6 mature students and they tended to hang around together. At the time I remember thinking how good they were handing in assignments before the deadline day etc but when I went back to do my PGDip in my mid 20's I then understood them as you do take things a bit more seriously when you've made more sacrafices than the average 18 year old to study.

              Our local uni has about 50% mature students, you can get those stats from those uni guides they have in the careers library so could be worth checking out if there's likely to be many of you oldies there.
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              • #8
                I'm probably not able to answer all of the questions on the application process and financial considerations, but I'd like to say hats off to you for considering it and best of luck if you go ahead with an application.

                I did a BA(Hons) in Three-Dimensional Design and it was a great course. The first year was very varied with units in every discipline, such as product design, woodwork, metalwork, ceramics and glass. There were lots of other classes and lectures for design history, drawing skills, etc. Gradually you started to spend more time selecting the units you wanted to follow and developing your own skills and approach to the subject in the media and method of your choice. It was a really enjoyable experience and I'd be more than willing to offer any more info if it helped you!

                All the best,

                Si.
                Wood Tattoos
                Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)
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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone! Excellent advice! I have emailed the uni to ask them to confirm the times of the open days - if I can go after work I might see if I can persuade BF to come along. I think I might do a bit of careers interest analysis on myself, by completing one of the the online questionnaires that matches up your interests to jobs. Knowing my luck it will tell me I should be doing what I'm doing...hehe!

                  My worry is my commitments...as usual! We don't have children but we do have a big mortgage to pay and bills and at the moment we only just manage. I think though that you manage with what you've got, so it would be worth me finding out what financial support I can get and how that would affect things.

                  I think that one of my problems is I'm never settled....I'm always wondering what else is out there! I'm the same with other things - I'm only 26 and this is our 3rd house! Maybe one day I'll find what I'm looking for!
                  Katian Mosaics

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                  • #10
                    My husband did it when he was 35 but it was a one year course.
                    He saying say "Yes, yes, yes. Do it." Best thing he ever did.

                    Financially, we lived off my earnings as a childminder (not enough to pay income tax). We had 2 little children at the time. We talked to our bank and they deferered our morgage payments for a year. We bought our clothes in charity shops, didn't have a holiday and I cooked 'proper meals' from scratch. We had 2 little children at the time. We maxed our credit card. I've just remembered - we let the spare room out to a homeless son of a friend.
                    My husband got a job straight after the course and it took a year to pay off our debts.

                    Something about being a mature student (my middle son was one) is that you don't mess around. What you are doing is important to you and you know why you are doing it.
                    My husband needed A level maths to get on his course. He 'did' it in the summer holidays - a month and a bit. Teenagers take 2 years.......

                    I did Dip A D (ha ha shows how long ago it was) in 3D. As you have a go at a variety of disciplines you end up with a lot of strings to your bow.
                    I ended up teaching pottery in a special school, then in an occupational therapy department then any old craft in an occupational centre, and art in a secondary school ...while making jewellery on the side. I was taught how to make furniture but I didn't pay attention as I was busy falling in love and I married a man (the same one) who likes DIY so I let him get on with it.

                    AnnieAnna

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                    • #11
                      3d design woo! I do that at Staffs uni!! :}!! I LOVE it....
                      I'm 23 so technically a mature student but apparently you dont qualify for the different funding til you're 26?!
                      Its a great course with good oppertunity, private message me if you want more info about the stuff I've done in first year and what to expect!!
                      Also in my class there are about 5 ladies all 35 plus.... a few mid 20's and about 3 people who came straight from college.
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                      • #12
                        also just noticed you are local and you're probs on about staffs uni, the degree show is running all week so pop along its open 9-5 I think including weekends!!
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                        • #13
                          Good luck with that!! Im applying for a masters in wildlife and conservation biology. I looked into silversmithing Mscs but they all basically told me that i would have no chance as my HND and degree were both science/animal related so i had no experience!

                          Im 25 and think that htats about the usual age for a masters. When i did my degree i was 20 and felt a little old lol. There were a lot of 18 year olds but loads of other ages. A big range of them. I think i will definatly need a p/t job with this masters.

                          Its going to be a very busy time as il have lectures, essays, exams, p/t job, friends, family, cats and trying to keep my jewellery business going with fairs etc!!
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TerriWoah View Post
                            also just noticed you are local and you're probs on about staffs uni, the degree show is running all week so pop along its open 9-5 I think including weekends!!
                            Yep, that's the one! I went to the Stafford campus and was really impressed. It was more ICT and Health focused there though so would be good to see the Art & Design at Stoke. Is the show running next weekend?
                            Katian Mosaics

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                            • #15
                              Yeah stoke campus is where all the artsy stuff happens... I think the show is on til next saturday, also at the museum in hanley there's some peoples work in there permanently. I didn't apply til around july in my first year (i did a different course though) so i dont think its too late for you to apply. they will basically accept most people because unfortunately its not a very popular course.
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