As a mature student, you’re able to shape your future in a way that works for you. Now that you have some life experience you’re able to make a more informed decision on what direction to go in.
Be that starting a journey to an exciting new career or developing your skills for professional gain. Returning to education can enable you to realise those ambitions.
A Levels are an internationally recognised standard qualification for school-leavers. They’re a gateway qualification into higher education as well as providing essential skills for the workplace.
If you didn’t gain these qualifications, you might think you’ve missed the boat but that’s not the case. You can still get qualified and reach your full potential, no matter what stage you’re at in life.
Your personal and professional experience gives you greater insight into the material so it’s never been a better time to study A Levels.
Read on to learn what options you have when taking an A Level as a mature student.
Choosing your A Level as a Mature Student
It’s important to consider what you’re trying to get out of your qualification before you enrol. Will the course you’re studying get you the desired results or is there a better topic to choose.
Universities will often ask for 3 A Levels in related subjects. For example, if you’re looking to get into social work then studying psychology, sociology and law would give you relevant knowledge to build on in your degree.
If you’re looking at A Levels to advance your career then a broad range of subjects can help your options. This also holds true for getting onto higher apprenticeships and vocational qualifications with on the job training.
When picking your A Level as a mature student you should factor in what you enjoy. A Levels are a big step up from GCSEs so the more you enjoy the subject matter the better you’ll do in the end.
If you’re engaged in your learning then you’ll more than likely retain the knowledge better and achieve a higher grade. This will benefit you more in the long run.
Online vs Bricks & Mortar for the Mature Student
There are two options to consider when choosing where to take your A Levels. Distance learning providers or bricks and mortar colleges.
The two offer very different experiences but in the end, garner the same results. So it’s up to you to decide what works best.
The main benefit of taking your A Level online is the flexibility to learn whenever suits you best. Unlike bricks and mortar colleges where you’ll have to attend classes in order to progress with your learning.
You’ll also have to rearrange your schedule to make sure you’re able to attend the classes.
Sometimes your employer might allow you to attend classes during work hours. However, you’ll probably have to make up for the time lost. And manage to complete your homework and stick to any other commitments as well.
Whereas with distance education you’re free from that logistical nightmare as you’re in control of when you learn. You can plan your study sessions in advance factoring in work, family commitments, holidays and any other special events.
This gives you the opportunity to enjoy your learning as you’ll be able to start whenever works best for you.
You’re also able to set your pace. That means you can work through your A Level as quickly as you want.
On average, online learners complete their A Level in 9 months but you have 2-years if you need. Or you could blitz through it all in as little as 6 months. It’s completely up to you.
The main benefit of attending a physical college is the social interaction that you’ll have with your peers. That’s not to say you’ll be completely alone when you’re studying online as an expert tutor is there to help.
It depends really on how motivated you can stay on your own accord. If you need a teacher to stay focused then online learning may not work for you.
There’s no right or wrong way to get qualified. As long as you choose the way that works best for how you learn and your current circumstances.
Preparing for online study
Online study is a more independent learning style then we’re used to. This isn’t bad a thing, but it does require some preparation to get the most out of your studies.
As you’re in charge of your learning it comes down to you to find the motivation to reach your goals. That means keeping on top of your studies and consistently setting time aside each week so you stay on track.
Of course online learning gives you the flexibility to work whenever suits you. So if you suddenly find you’re super busy then you can hold off until a more convenient time arises.
With distance education you’re able to learn from the comfort of your own home but that doesn’t mean you should work from anywhere. There is an ideal way you can layout your space and choose your location to optimise your performance.
For example, try not to work from your bed. You associate your bed with sleep so it can make it harder to concentrate on your studies. Or alternatively, it will make it harder to sleep at night as you’re now linking your bed with studying.
Ideally, you’ll find a nice flat surface to lay out your material and a place to sit upright comfortably. Your workspace should also be free from any distractions such as mobile phones.
The saying ‘Out of sight out of mind,’ really does hold true. You’ll be far less likely to end up aimlessly scrolling instead of studying if your phone isn’t by your side.
When planning a study session it’s important to factor in breaks. Breaks give your mind time to digest the information before continuing with your studying. Without breaks, it will be harder to retain nearly as much information.
You also will be more put off of studying as big sessions may seem overwhelming. By separating your workload into smaller manageable chunks it’ll be less intimidating.
Think of it this way, if you’re at work you have breaks to refresh before carrying on with the workday? Studying should be no different. Giving yourself a routine to follow helps you stay on top of your learning.
When taking a break it’s best not to go on your phone as it’s too distracting instead consider reading.
Research suggests that reading a book puts the mind in a similar state as meditation. So not only are you relaxing your brain you’ll be faster at regaining focus on what you were studying beforehand.
Whatever you choose to study an A Level is a solid investment in your future. Studying an A Level can lead to many exciting opportunities both academically and professionally, no matter where you study.
Stonebridge Associated Colleges is one of the UK’s leading online learning providers. We offer a broad range of A Levels that could suit your needs. As well as many other courses that could help with your professional and personal development.
All our courses are led by an expert tutor to guide you through your learning and support you where needed. We also have flexible payment options to help you spread the cost.
To learn more about how to prepare for your distance learning journey read our blog here.
If you’re ready to get back into education speak to a member of our sales team or enrol online today.