Tips and Suggestions from Experienced Mature Students
Get familiar with OWL/Sakai websites, computer labs, library system, etc...
Get course outlines immediately when they are available online. Get books as soon as possible. Start studying before school starts. Find a good study place that is most efficient for you, and figure this out before school starts if possible. Make sure you read assigned readings before class.
Be patient with yourself!
I would highly encourage any mature student to make the most of their university experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, by taking full advantage of the opportunities around them.
I would encourage any mature student to connect with his or her professors, especially during underutilized office hours.
Never be afraid to ask for help or support maybe through a peer program or even other peers in the same study field.
Become acquainted with others in your class, it helps just in case you miss a lecture or need help.
Stay focused and don't panic!
Be patient with yourself and give yourself time to adjust to learning again. Make school work a priority in your week. Set aside time to make sure you get your reading done- it lessens the stress!
It’s never too late!
Prioritize between school, work and family.
Don't be afraid to ask questions and give yourself time to read, time to relax, and time to study; Find a balance.
Be open to new ways of thinking, learning, living.
Don't overload yourself.
Don't be afraid to ask for help and support. UWO is full of many amazing people to offer guidance and support.
Come to campus prior to your classes and familiarize yourself with it.
Just take it one step at a time whatever comes up - be it learning how to write a good essay or mastering the technology necessary to conduct research or anything else. There are people you can ask for help in various departments and the younger students appreciate it when you ask them to show you something too. We all have skills to share.
Be realistic about what you can handle.
Learn all the resources available to you in the library. Don't hesitate to ask the librarians for help!
Try to stay ahead in readings and start assignments/essays as soon as you receive them.
Embrace the younger students. They have had experiences we have not due to the change in curriculum in schools and with the integration of technology during their lives compared to ours.
Here are some things that experienced mature students wished they had known earlier:
I have been doing my degree over a number of years. Perhaps knowing that there were people I could speak to about career counselling. That helped tremendously. (success.uwo.ca)
I wish I would have known that the SAGE society existed and that there would be some meetings offered where you could meet other mature students.
The workload, and how to balance family and school.
I wish I had known how much I would enjoy the challenge and learning as much as I do.
More about technology I still struggle with it. Also more about the services available such as academic counselling, help with writing essays, etc. Having to just take classes then run off to work doesn't allow an older student like myself much time on campus to find out where everything is and what's going on.
That getting 70's is good, getting 80's is fantastic and getting 90's is extremely difficult in anything. Don't expect to get the marks you did in high school.
Returning to post secondary school is not as hard or as intimidating as you may think!
It's even better than you think it is. If you feel scared, intimidated, or anxious then stop because Western is a warm, relaxed, and wonderful environment to learn in.
A live/hands on tour of the websites, Sakai, etc would have saved me a lot of time and energy trying to sort out where information was kept.