The advantages of being a mature student

Going back to the classroom can be intimidating but the benefits of being an adult learner far outweighs the discomfort.

If you have been away from the academic scene for a while you may have fears over your ability to learn new material, or write exams. Or you may be anxious about feeling out of place amongst a younger crowd.

The reality is adult learners have many skills and experiences that will benefit them in their learning journey and being a mature student can actually be a major advantage.

In the video “Mature student tips: advantage of maturity” York University Professor Diane Zorne highlights three skills that give adult learners the edge.

Self-directed

During their lifetime mature students will have learnt how to become self motivated. Some develop this skill through employment while others pick it up it through parenting or similar life experiences.

Being self-directed is a valuable skill to have as a learner. It means that you are able to study and focus your mind when you need to without external pressures.

Ability to prioritize

“ Another advantage an adult learner has over a younger student is the ability to prioritize” , says Zorne. Adult learners are better at time management and life has taught them how to discern between urgent and trivial tasks.

Adult learners know how to achieve work-life balance, a much needed tool for young students who often struggle to manage their studies, extra-curricular activities and social life at the same time.

Understand the process

Young students are typically focused on the end goal and the marks they need to complete their qualification. On the contrary adult learners appreciate the process of learning and are committed to each step of the journey. This means they are more likely to accumulate and retain information, and complete their qualification successfully.

According to Zorne adult students learn to adapt to their academic environment fairly quickly and often report that their learning experience was a rich one. Their wide range of experiences makes adult learners an asset to any classroom.

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