Practical Advice - Part-Time and Mature Students
The counsellors at Christ Church University recognise that, if any difficulties arise for a part-time or mature student, they are likely to be very different from those of, for instance, a student straight from school who is just leaving home for the first time.
This leaflet is intended to address some of the issues which could arise, although it is important to remember that most students enjoy their time at University and the new opportunities which it gives them.
At present approximately 50% of students at this University study on a part-time basis. Many of you pursue your courses in the evening whilst at the same time continuing to work full-time. Others follow a day-time course and fit this around part-time work and / or caring for your family. Either way, part-time study can be time consuming and stressful as it is usually slotted in amongst other commitments. So, many of the difficulties which can confront part-time students are to do with trying to fit academic work into an already crowded schedule. This can then have a knock-on effect with family and friends as they may feel that your course absorbs most of the time and energy that you could be giving to them. This can often be a cause for resentment.
The University counsellors welcome part-time and short-course students and will help you with these issues or any others which may arise during your time at University. The particular difficulties which may confront you can be successfully talked through and the counsellors will help you to find new ways of coping.
Again, there is a large proportion of mature students at Christ Church University and nearly a quarter are over 30 years old. This can be a relief to many of you who are mature students as there is sometimes the fear before starting University that you will be surrounded by students much younger than yourselves and find it difficult to make friends of your own age and experience.
Most mature students have an enjoyable time at University and you are likely to find that it will give you new opportunities and lasting friendships. However, as with part-time students, being a mature student can pose a different set of difficulties from those experienced by very young students straight from home.
For some of you, it may have been many several years since you were last in full-time education. You may not be sure what to expect and may be feeling a lack of confidence in your abilities.
This is a very common feeling and something with which the counsellors can be of help.
Another difficulty which can effect you as a mature student is connected to family life. Many of you may have a partner, children and other commitments and this can pose problems for you both in terms of time and finances. You may have to take a drop in income whilst you are studying and this is often a struggle which may cause tension within your family. Also, there can be resentment at home at the amount of time you are spending at University and at the new friends and experiences which you are having and this may cause your family members to feel excluded.
These are just some of the issues that could affect you as a mature student and the University counsellors will be happy to help you find solutions to them, especially if you find that your academic work is affected by your personal difficulties.