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Thinking of Returning to College as a Mature Student? Late Applications Currently Being Accepted.

29 March 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Hynes
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 Thinking of Returning to College as a Mature Student?
Late Applications Currently Being Accepted.


If you are over 23 and thinking of returning to college don’t be intimidated by the prospect of sitting in a class of 18 year-olds as according to recent figures 10% of all those in fulltime education in Ireland are over 30 years of age.

There are many advantages to being a mature student at college. Firstly the entry criteria is different as your application considers how well prepared you are to take on the course as opposed to how many CAO points you achieved; the drop-out rate among mature students is much lower than among school-leavers and many adults returning to third level may be eligible for a back- to-education allowance.

According to Dr Geraldine Brosnan, Director of Student Life at MIC, Mary Immaculate College has been hugely successful in attracting mature or ‘second chance’ learners from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds whose educational experiences and opportunities in their earlier years may have been limited. “We, at Mary Immaculate College, are committed to improving access to higher education for adult learners as we believe that mature students hugely enrich the learning experience of a community and bring a range of life skills to the entire class”.

There was further evidence of this success recently, when almost ten years after first enrolling in MIC as mature learners Dr Paul O’Brien and Dr Rob Hartigan were awarded doctorates in history.

Having regretted not going to college first time round Rob took the decision to ‘correct this mistake’ as he says, when in 2007 he enrolled on the Foundation Certificate for Mature Learners Programme, a one year part-time evening programme at MIC, designed to cater for mature students who wish to continue their education, with a view to progressing to third level.  The course introduces mature students to a sample of a first year university level courses thereby  equipping students with the necessary skills to participate in and benefit from a third level course.  Having enjoyed the experience Rob embarked on the four year liberal arts programme the following year and continued with his studies graduating last Autumn with a PhD in history. 

Speaking on the experience Rob said “Choosing to return to education, and in particular MIC, was one of the most positive and rewarding decisions I ever made and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested.  My advice, take that plunge, for I think you will find that the water is neither too deep, nor too unpleasant”.

Joining Rob on the day was Dr Paul O’Brien from South Circular Road, Limerick.   Paul first joined MIC as a mature student on the Liberal Arts programme in 2006, also studying History and Philosophy. According to Dr O Brien his reasons for returning to education were quite simple – he wanted to better himself.  “The quality of teaching and supervision which I received during the course of my undergraduate degree inspired my decision to continue my studies in History to postgraduate level” states Dr O Brien.  This decision was also helped by the awarding of an Assistantship which not only offered a fee waiver but presented the chance to teach tutorials during the course of his research.  And it was those teaching duties which helped him develop his lecturing skills which in turn fittingly saw him take up the position as a lecturer in the Academic Learning Centre, a department within MIC offering academic support to all those undertaking undergraduate degree programmes at MIC.  In his own words not bad for a lad who less than a decade ago was working in a pub!

Late applications from Mature Students are currently being accepted to the following programmes: 

BA in Contemporary & Applied Theatre Studies MI001
Bachelor of Arts Degree MI002
BA in Early Childhood Care and Education MI007
BA in Education, Business Studies and Accounting MI009
BA in Education, Business Studies and Religious Studies MI010
BA in Education, Irish and Religious Studies MI011
BA in Education, Irish and Business Studies MI012

If you would like to hear more about life as a mature student in Mary Immaculate College then come along to our stand at the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Showcase on Saturday 1 April from 11.30am – 2.30pm in TARA, Mary Immaculate College.

Alternatively click here to see what some of our other current and past mature students have to say about their decision to return to college or visit our facebook page @MaryImmaculateCollegeIreland to view student testimonials.

Further information on all our programmes available to mature students available to view here.


Pictured above (L-R) Dr Paul O' Brien and Dr Rob O'Halloran.
Further information on all our programmes available to mature students available to view here.

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