Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Student ServicesSupport and wellbeing

Mature Students

At the University of Southampton we welcome students of all ages and are committed to supporting mature students to ensure they get the most out of their university experience.

Mature Students

Whilst there's no such thing as a typical mature student, starting university a bit later in life may mean you have particular worries about returning to education, the impact of this on your life or finances or how to balance university alongside other existing commitments. The information in this section is designed to support you during your time at university.

Students who are aged over 21, at the start of their undergraduate course, are defined as mature by the University of Southampton. Postgraduate students are defined as mature when they begin their programme of study aged 25 and over.

Getting Involved

There are many ways to get involved with university life and many opportunities to meet new people; try to explore the opportunities available to you, as these can be a great way of developing a peer support network. 

Mature Student Welcome Events

Each year we run Mature Student Welcome Events to help undergraduate mature students and those returning to education to understand more about life here at the University of Southampton and offer the opportunity to network with other mature students. There will be a chance to hear from staff from across a number of different services and to share any concerns and experiences with other mature students currently studying at the University as well as some that have recently graduated. Eligible students will be contacted with more information and details on how to register for the event before the start of the academic year. For more information please contact Dulcie in the Student Inclusion Team.

Clubs and Societies

The University of Southampton Students’ Union has over 200 societies covering a wide range of interests; these are a great opportunity to meet new people and maybe even try something new.

University Activities & Events

The University and Students' Union put on a range of activities and events throughout the year, from Pasta Nights to Mindful Fridays. To stay up to date with everything that is happening on our campuses make sure to check SUSSED, the University and Students’ Union Events Calendars, as well as the University’s social media channels

Become a Student Ambassador

Becoming an ambassador is great way to both meet other student and learn new skills, all while earning money. We are always looking for enthusiastic and friendly students to become Student Ambassadors to help with events organised by our Recruitment and Outreach team.

Working as a student ambassador can be fun and varied, providing you with a huge range of exciting challenges and opportunities to get involved with, alongside your studies. Further information and how to apply can be found here.

SUSU Postgraduate Events

The Students' Union host a number of postgraduate events, from PG Breakfast Club to Power Teas, these provide a great opportunity for socialising with peers. Keep an eye on the Students' Union website, as well as the Postgraduate Community Facebook to stay up to date with what events are on and when.

Advanced Programme

The Advance Programme is a new opportunity launched by the Careers and Employability Service to tackle inequality and enable social mobility. If you're an undergraduate student and from a background under-represented in Higher Education and in the workplace, you could have the skills, perspectives and qualities, whether you know it or not, which would be a huge benefit to any employer. Further information on the programme and eligibility criteria can be found here.

Support

The University has a wide range of support available to you, should you need any advice or guidance, at any point during your studies.

Student Inclusion Team
The Student Inclusion Team offer support and guidance to students who may not know the best course of action to take with a particular issue – whether the issue involves academic, financial or emotional matters. We can let you know about all the support which is available to you and help you access what you feel is right for you, as well as act as your single point of contact if you ever encounter an issue that requires multiple services from across the University.

Academic

Academic Skills Hub

There is a range of study support available to help those returning to education to aid you in developing the skills needed for your course. The Academic Skills Hub offers a variety of workshops and tools, covering a range of areas including: critical thinking, essay and report writing, presentation skills and preparing for exams, to ensure you're equipped with the skills and techniques needed to be successful at university. You can book on to any workshops or drop into the hub between 10:00am - 4:00pm Monday through to Friday during term time for advice from one of the Learning and Skills Advisors.

Skills4Study

You can also access advice and activities for building specific study skills online through Skills4Study; you can work through the resources at your own pace including a handy 'Getting ready for Academic Study’ module particularly aimed at new students.

Personal Academic Tutor & Student Office

If you have any concerns about your academic studies, your Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) is there to advise and support you. We encourage you to discuss any issues, which may affect your studies with your PAT, so they are able to support you and your individual needs.

If you are unsure how to contact your PAT, your Student Office will be able to help put you in contact and/or arrange an appointment.

Your Student Office deals with the administrative aspects of your programme, including those relating to coursework, assessments and exams. If you are unable to attend any timetabled lectures or seminars for any reason, you may need to inform your Student Office. You can find out how to contact your School’s Student Office here.

Wellbeing

If you find yourself struggling with something whilst you're at University, it can help to talk to someone about what you're going through. Talking to someone about what is troubling you can make a big difference to how you feel; the Enabling Services team and Student Life are both available for you to speak to about any emotional, mental health or wellbeing issues.

Financial

The University’s Student Support Fund is designed to help should you find yourself in financial hardship at any point during your studies. Further information on eligibility and how to apply can be found here.

Advice & Tips

  • Ease your transition and prepare for University life by getting involved in Welcome/Freshers’ Week, held each year before the start of Semester 1; come along to campus to collect your Student ID card and get involved in the many events and information sessions, including the Mature Student Welcome Events.
  • Download our official MySouthampton app onto your phone or tablet; this gives you easy access to your timetable, campus maps, university emails, travel information and more. 
  • Take the opportunity to build your network - all students bring a range of experiences and interests to university regardless of their age or background.
  • As you settle in to university life take some time to familiarise yourself with your campus – locate your Student Office, check out the Library and find the perfect spot for grabbing lunch.
  • Try not to worry about being the most mature person in your lecture or seminar, whilst this is understandable remember that everyone else will be new as well.
  • Everybody’s life and demands are different but managing your time effectively and making a plan that fits your study and home life commitments will help keep things on track. It can be challenging to balance work, university, parenting, home life, social life or any combination of these, so plan your time accordingly and remember to keep some time for yourself.
  • To help you study wherever you are, a number of University systems can be accessed remotely. The Southampton Virtual Environment (SVE) gives you access to your University desktop including all your files and the most popular pieces of software, from any device in any location. Office 365 can also be downloaded to your personal device free of charge as a student at the university. 
  • For those who struggle with IT systems, iSolutions can help, they have an IT Helpdesk situated in Hartley Library and can also be contacted on serviceline@soton.ac.uk for general advice and queries. There's also a number of online skills guides and tutorials.
  • Your family and friends can provide an invaluable source of support and it can be useful to share with them aspects of your university life. Speak to those around, share with them your study plans and agree a time and space where you can study undisturbed.
  • Remember you can use as much or as little of the additional student support available to you as you like.

University Accommodation

Undergraduate

Mature undergraduates who wish to live with other students of a similar age in our University accommodation can either apply as an undergraduate who would like to live in a postgraduate area or alternatively apply as a new undergraduate student and detail in the additional notes section, of the application, that you would prefer to live with other mature students. The Accommodation Team will try to allocate you a room that meets your needs, though this cannot be guaranteed.

Postgraduate

Mature postgraduates who wish to live with other students of a similar age in our University accommodation can apply to live in a postgraduate area and include your request in the additional notes section on the application. The Accommodation Team will try to allocate you a room that meets your needs, though this cannot be guaranteed. 

Further information on the accommodation available and how to apply can be found here.

On campus study space & facilities

If you looking for the perfect study spot or the best place to grab a coffee, then you will find plenty of places and resources available to you on campus.

  • The Hartley Library on Highfield Campus is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during term time; perfect for fitting in studying at a time that suits you. The opening times for the libraries on other campuses can be found here
  • Room Finder can be used to find any rooms on campus that have not been booked and are free to use. Any of the empty common learning spaces can be used for studying or group work.
  • There are a number of catering outlets on our campuses, use the online campus maps to show our catering outlets, by selecting the catering layer; some of them even feature opening times and menus built directly into the map.
  • The Faith & Reflection Centre, on Highfield Campus, offers a quiet space for you to relax with a tea or coffee.

Students Experience

Read how one of our mature students has found her experience at Southampton - Debbie is a Year 2 Psychology Student:

"I have really enjoyed my time so far at the University of Southampton, so much so that I’m hoping to stay for my postgraduate studies. The lecturers in the School of Psychology have been so welcoming and supportive and it has been amazing to be taught by some of the world’s leading Psychologists!  Some parts of the course have been challenging, but there is always plenty of support available and so many ways to access information.

As a mature student it's very important to approach university with the right attitude. Some mature students can find themselves feeling isolated when they do not engage in the student community. It's not about behaving like a twenty year old, but about recognising your value, you have earned your place, and deserve to access all the resources and activities on offer. I personally think it is important to spend quality time at university, don't just attend for lectures but also use the library and study spaces (many courses also offer study rooms specially allocated to mature and postgraduate students), enjoy the social activities on offer and make the most of the sporting facilities. All the university staff are welcoming, academic and support staff alike, and appreciate the more active role mature students often take in the learning process. Make friends with your student colleagues, you have a lot to offer in experience and life skills, some young students will appreciate that and want to learn from you, but do not dismiss opportunities to learn from them too."

Helpful Resources

There is additional information on our website for student parents and for those living at home whilst they study.

The following websites have some useful advice and tips for mature students and those returning to education.

UCAS - Mature Students

Student Room

Complete University Guide - Mature Student Guide

The University cannot accept responsibility for external websites.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×