Many people decide to return to education later on in life and mature students (over 21 years of age) now make up approximately half of all students in the UK. It is important to remember that age is no barrier and some students at universities have begun their degrees well into retirement age. Consider what type of course will suit you and explore what funding is available. This will be largely dependent on whether you are considering Further or Higher Education.

Further Education refers to colleges who offer a huge range of courses to school leavers and mature students. These include A Levels, Access Courses for people who want to go to university and vocational training courses. Most colleges offer full time, part time and evening courses.

Higher Education refers to universities or colleges that offer courses at undergraduate level or higher. Most universities ask for A Levels or equivalent as an entry requirement. However, if you do not have any qualifications you could think about studying from home with The Open University or take an access course at a college of further education.

Look online for a list of local colleges or universities and ring to ask for a prospectus. Find out when the next open day is when you can visit the college and get a feel for the place. If there is a college or university welfare officer you could also make an appointment to discuss funding, study skills and special provision such as childcare or disabled access.