Mature Students Conference

We welcome applicants who may not have come directly from school or college and who wish to return to education at different stages of their lives. The decision to enter higher education as a student can be a difficult one in terms of commitment and financial circumstances. We provide the support that students need to make the most of your time here at the University of Exeter.

The term ‘mature student’ applies to anyone age 21 or over who didn’t go straight to university after leaving school or college. This means that the term applies to a very large number of students – approximately a third of undergraduates at university in the UK today – and students come from a wide variety of backgrounds.


We recognise that mature students may offer different qualifications and experience, which will be taken into account when we assess their application, it is important that students have adequate experience and/or qualifications to allow them to cope with the academic demands of their course. It is normally recommended that they should have undertaken some recognised systematic course of study (eg, Access, Open University credits, or GCE A levels) within the last three years.


Where an applicant has not undertaken any recognised form of systematic study within the last three years, the application may be referred to the Admissions Tutor for consideration. We advise that full details of any relevant work experience or other relevant information are provided within the application. We may also ask applicants who fall into this category to attend an interview to ensure that they are suitable for entry into a particular programme of study.


Offers to Access students will usually be conditional on passing the qualification with grades of merit and/or distinction in named units and may also include 6 L3 credits at pass grade in the relevant unit[s] if GCSE English Language/Mathematics grade C or better has not been previously achieved.

Students who wish to study full-time should apply through UCAS, and more information and advice about applying to the University of Exeter can be found on our how to apply pages.


Feedback has shown us that Mature Students require/request some additional support at the beginning of the academic year, so this year on our Penryn Campus we have launched Penryn Mature Students Together. This group also supports those students who feel more ‘mature’ in outlook or responsibility, or who are younger and having caring responsibilities. Weekly informal Zoom sessions provide support for students in academic skills and pastoral support, as well as creating a self-supporting network of Mature Students to continue independently throughout the year.


Choosing the right University is a really important decision and this year it has been made more difficult by the impact of Covid-19. As students are not able to visit universities physically, we are holding a virtual event on Wednesday 21 October specifically for mature students.

The event will provide specific information about the application process, student finance, life as a mature student as well as the opportunity to view a variety of subject tasters. Attendees will also be able to chat with students and staff throughout the event.

Please click here to book a place.

Further information will be sent to you following the completion of the form.

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