How to overcome doubts about studying as a full-time mature student


"I felt pure joy, this was start of a new journey in my life, I was like a little kid, working out how long before I would be going to college (counting the sleeps). I was out buying refill pads, pens and a back pack."

When Ken (45) was offered a place as a mature student on one of WIT's full-time undergraduate courses he was counting the sleeps, yet he had doubts

Ken Clancy was over the moon when he received the letter saying he had been successful in his application to WIT as a mature student. He rang his parents and friends to share his great news, as well as sharing it on Facebook.

"I felt pure joy, this was start of a new journey in my life, I was like a little kid, working out how long before I would be going to college (counting the sleeps). I was out buying refill pads, pens and a back pack."

Decision time

Still, he had feelings of doubt. "I had left a good paying job to restart my life at 45 years old, was I doing the right thing, would I be able for the work load, would I fit in with my so much younger class mates? All these and more rushed through my head on many occasions. Would I have enough money to survive and pay my mortgage? Was I picking the right course? What were my chances of getting a job at the end of the course? If I failed what would I do? I could lose everything, was I making the right decision and considering the fact that I had a daughter who’s home could be at risk if I ran out of money or was not able for the course."

Family support

He turned to his family in helping overcome these doubts. "I sat down with my daughter and talked through every point, and explained the changes we would have to accept in order to complete this journey I was undertaking. My daughter was totally behind me on everything and fully supportive and encouraged me to go for it. My friends and family were also full of support and told me how proud they were of me for making this decision to return to college. The communication and information I received from the college also left me with no questions unanswered. I was fully informed and had the backing of those who were important to me, I can achieve anything with that support."

Ken's advice for potential mature students who may be indecisive is to talk to  family and friends. In addition, he advises to "work out your finances, find out what you are entitled too (social welfare payments, Susi grants). Know what course you want to do, and understand that you will be required to work hard, and sometimes a little harder than the younger students, but also sometimes your life experience will put you ahead of other students." 

Self confidence

"You are doing this for yourself," he says, must be a key to your thinking. "You are improving your knowledge so you can achieve more. The confidence must come from you as no one else will be sitting in the exam hall to do your end of semester tests."

You're not on your own though. Ken explains the supports available at WIT. "The help and support services in the college are excellent, and as you will hear a lot, no question is a stupid one, if you have thought of a question its guaranteed someone else has the same question but is afraid to ask. I asked questions and I received lots of answers and it made my life so much easier and the lives of my fellow students who would thank me after for getting the explanation as the didn’t understand what was happening in the class. The lecturers are there to help and they want you to understand, as they will tell you they want you to pass the exam, they want you to understand everything. The support services in Student Life and Learning are there with advice on any subject you can think of from financial to emotional and all in the most professional manner."

"The best advice is to ask questions, the answers can be so easy it will sometimes surprise you," he concludes.

Over 23? Consider all the learning options

A full-time undergraduate course which you apply for through the CAO is just one option.

If you’re a jobseeker or on short time work check out Springboard.

If you like the sound of reskilling an ICT Skills conversion course may be for you, no matter whether you’re working or a jobseeker.

Part-time study is also an option. There’s short coursespart-time postgraduate courses, and part-time undergraduate courses at all levels.

Steps for applying to the CAO for a full-time level 6, 7 or 8 course at WIT

Read about the application steps to apply for a full-time course through the CAO in detail at

Research your chosen course or topic you’re most interested in at

Make an appointment with REGSA - it will be good for you to talk to someone at least before college place offers are made to mature applicants to full-time CAO courses in July

Apply online for your full-time undergraduate course through the CAO at

Fill out the Mature Applicant Assessment form you receive from WIT and return promptly.

Read more about computing student Ken's decision to study in the south east and commute daily from Kilkenny to Waterford.

Related Courses

Bachelor of Science in  Information Technology

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