Education is a great way to improve your skills for work, learn about something you’re interested in, meet new people or have an active retirement.
Many people think continuing education can improve physical and mental heath too.
Retirement is a good time to start doing something you always wanted to do but never had the time for. From informal learning to languages and degree courses there’s something to interest everyone.
Age discrimination is unlawful in education and lifelong learning is part of Government policy.
There are now more than 600,000 learners over 60 in England alone. You are never too old to learn!
Classes are no longer confined to evenings – there are part-time, day, weekend, online and distance learning classes to choose from.
Many take place in schools and colleges. Popular classes include languages, photography, yoga, cookery, computer skills, jewellery making and family history.
The majority of universities and colleges welcome mature students for their committment, experience and skills.
When it comes to entry requirements, many have a flexible admissions policy which takes into account work and life experience.
As entry requirements vary so much, it is a good idea to get in touch with the admissions tutors for the courses in which you are interested. It could be worth meeting them to discuss your situation and the options before making an application.
If evidence of recent study is required, you may need to take an access course (see below).
To ease the transition back into education and help you settle in, universities and colleges often have orientation programmes tailored for mature students.
UCAS guide for mature students is a thorough guide for those considering higher education.
Access to higher eduction courses teach the knowledge and skills that you will need for a degree or diploma course. They are run by local colleges, usually as evening classes.
There are over 1,500 access courses listed at the Access to HE website.
Studying doesn’t have to be expensive either. There may be concessions for older people – make sure you ask. Many institutions allow distance learning so you can continue to live in your home.
DirectGov's student finance site provides information on the financial help available to students in higher education in England. They also link to information about finance in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Complete University Guide provides a wealth of information on universities and courses.
The Hotcourses website allows you to search a huge range of higher education courses, many with reviews from students.
Floodlight is the official guide to courses in London covering courses at all levels.
UCAS process all the university applications and also have a course search at the UCAS website.
Pioneers of home study, the Open University have been proudly proclaiming their lack of an upper age limit and lack of formal entry requirements for longer than anyone else. 3% of their students are over 65 with 6% aged 55 to 64. Visit the Open University website or contact them at:The Open University PO Box 197 Milton Keynes MK7 6BJ Telephone: 0845 300 6090
Open College of the Arts, who say their oldest student is 92, offer home study courses in fine art, photography, creative writing, textiles, art history, music etc. Courses can be taken individually or combined to make a degree qualification.
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