Mature Student Support

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University is not just for college-leavers because every year, thousands of mature students who have spent a number of years outside of education, choose to develop their lives and careers by entering Higher Education. Royal Holloway has a long tradition of welcoming mature students and recognises that the experiences and expectations mature students have can differ to those who have gone to university straight from school or college. A mature student is officially anyone over the age of 21 and while there is no such thing as a typical mature student, they often share the same experiences and concerns.


We understand that it can be hard to balance study with the full time care of young children.

The College has an arrangement with an adjacent nursery, whereby Royal Holloway students are given priority on places available. The independently-run facility is located close to the main campus and caters for babies to 5-year-olds.

The on-campus Sports Centre run an action-packed holiday play scheme for children aged 4-12 years-old, where activities range from sports to arts and crafts. 

If you have concerns about finances for childcare, the Student Financial Welfare and Funding Office can discuss your circumstances with you and see if you are eligible for any additional financial support.

Further details about childcare provision in the local area can be found on the Surrey County Council website.


Entering Higher Education as a mature student can mean your income is reduced and you are more financially stretched. Monitoring your outgoings and budgeting is important for ensuring your financial welfare.

Make sure you have claimed everything you are entitled to through Student Finance if applicable, and have a look at the Financial Welfare and Advice pages for help with managing your money and where to go for further support and advice. 

“Do your homework! There are loans, grants, bursaries and scholarships out there for the taking. If you’re from a low-income household you have access to more possibilities, if you are the sole financial provider for your children there is again more financial support out there for you; there are also part-time jobs available on campus. Don't forget to get your Council Tax adjusted for your student status.”

                                                                                            - Clive Hill, Students’ Union Mature Students Rep

First Term at Royal Holloway 

Most students find the first few weeks of term difficult, if you are feeling that way you won’t be the only one.

Try to have everything ready and prepared for your first week, using any information you have been given from your departments on, or before, your first day.  Knowing where you need to be and when can help reduce any added stress.

If you are living off campus allow yourself plenty of time to travel in and take walks around campus so you can get to know where everything is.

Attendance at lectures is compulsory, if you are unwell make sure you submit an absence form which can be downloaded here.

Reading lists are provided by your tutors to help you with your self-study, you will not necessarily need to read all of the items on the list so speak to your tutor about which readings are the most important or relevant.

Allow plenty of time to complete your assignments, even if they are not due until the end of term it is worth starting them early as deadlines come around much quicker than you think they will!

“Get to know your tutors and peers - I cannot stress this enough. A good relationship with your tutors helps when there are issues outside of Uni life that impact on your studies: Two trips to hospital with my children in my first year meant time away from lectures, I kept them in the loop, and they supported me throughout. My peers took lecture notes and even set up a small study session once I returned, to ensure I was up to speed.”

                                                                                            - Clive Hill, Students’ Union Mature Students Rep

For further support and advice please contact us.

Returning to Education 

Returning to education after several years, or longer, can seem like a daunting prospect for most students. However, Royal Holloway values the diversity and life experience mature students bring when they begin university. Many mature students have a greater sense of purpose and vision, having taken the time to consider what they want from life and how they would like to achieve their goals.

Many mature students do not follow the traditional routes into higher education. If you do not have the usual entry requirements for undergraduate courses or you have been away from education for a long time you may need to take an Access to Higher Education course before starting your studies here. For further information see   

Even if you do not need to take an access course some mature students feel less confident about their academic skills. Our Centre for the Development of Academic Skills (CeDAS) offers workshops for all students throughout the year which focus on a range of skills such as essay writing, clarity in academic writing, critical thinking, improving grammar, exam techniques, presentation skills and many more. Additionally they have a variety of online resources to download and you can also book yourself in for 1:1 writing tutorials.

Make the most of the careers service whilst you are here. With previous work and/or family experience in addition to your degree you have a lot to offer employers when you graduate.

Social Life and Students' Union

Universities are an opportunity to enrich other non-academic aspects of your life by participating in sports, societies, volunteering & social events. Mature students often have other commitments in their life that need to be balanced with academic work and finding time for social activities can be difficult. We strongly encourage all students to get involved with events and groups on campus.

“Get involved- There is something for everyone at Royal Holloway. The SU is representative of the entire spectrum of the student body. Join a sports club or society, it immerses you well into campus life and you can really help the committees, or even become a committee member. Be open to new things, and embrace the “Uni experience”, you may have got here a little later in life, but that shouldn't stop you enjoying it completely.”

                                                                                            - Clive Hill, Students’ Union Mature Students Rep

As part of my role as Co-President Welfare & Diversity, it’s my job to make sure that the SU is open and engaging for students who don’t fall into the majority on campus: one of these groups is mature students. On a daily basis, I work to challenge events we organise to make them appealing to students who fall outside of our normal demographic of 18-22 year olds.

My role also exists so that we can work to represent these students and their specific needs if issues arise, but also to celebrate successes and achievements. But I’m by no means supposed to be an expert, so we also have a Mature & Part-Time Students Rep at the Students’ Union, Clive Hill, to more accurately represent the best interests of mature students to our decision making bodies.

All students are welcome to drop by my office on 1st Floor of the SU if you would like to chat or have any issues you would like to discuss.
                                                                                                 - Jack Kilker, Co-President Welfare & Diversity

Breakfast club is every Monday (term time) from 8am in Coffee and Cake, The Hub. It’s for all commuting students to attend. A chance for you to meet others who commute, get in early and get a parking space and maybe meet someone you can car share with, or walk to the train station with. Contact Campus Life for further information.

Time Management and Family Commitments 

When students have different commitments organising your time effectively is key to keeping on top of your home commitments without compromising your academic success. 

Try to plan your week around the attendance of lectures, working out when other commitments need to take place and planning when and where your optimum time to study is. Are you able to focus more in the library or at home? If you have other commitments having a good support network of people who can help you in short notice may be needed from time to time.

You may need to plan revision and assignments well ahead of your classmates as there might be less time and opportunity for last minute late-night studying.

Most importantly make sure you take regular rest breaks when studying and try to establish a good work-life balance. Relentless hard work and no relaxation can lead to burnout, heightened stress or illness.

“In one word, “Structure”. Use your timetable to plan your week: Lectures, labs and tutorials are all scheduled each semester, so you know when you will be in; use this to plan your personal study time and importantly time for friends and family, they are your support network. I came from the work place and kept my “working day” for uni work, the trick is to find what works for you.”

                                                                                            - Clive Hill, Students’ Union Mature Students Rep

If you are struggling to manage your study time please contact us for friendly support and advice.

Contacts for Mature Student Support

If everything is beginning to feel too much or you have ongoing worries or questions about your studies please contact any of the people below who will be happy to advise you.

 Tina Barnard, Student Financial Adviser (Welfare Responsibility for Mature Students)                       
 01784 414633
 Founder's West, room 150 (Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 3.00pm)
 Helen Groenendaal, Senior Student Wellbeing Officer
 01784 443394
 Founder's West, room 170 (Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cara Hens, Support & Retention Adviser
01784 443132
Founder's West, room 170 (Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm)
Jack Kilker, Students’ Union Co-President Welfare & Diversity
01784 276700
Students' Union, 1st floor - ask at reception

For issues related specifically to your degree programme contact your Department Administrator or Senior Faculty Administrator.


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