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Returning to learning

Anyone with the ability and enthusiasm, regardless of their age or background, can enjoy the benefits of a university education. 


Press Play imageBecoming a mature student

Nearly half of our students have not come to us straight from school – they are people who have decided the time is right for them to get back into learning. If you come to study with us, you are almost certain to find other mature students on the course with you.

At York St John we welcome mature students and value their experience and skills. Do not be put off because it is a long time since you have done any study as we will provide support to help you brush up your study skills.

We’ll help you feel at home from the moment you start your course here and will give you all the help and assistance you need to achieve what you want.

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Press Play imageEntry requirements for mature students

The main quality every student needs is enthusiasm for their subject and determination to succeed. As a mature student your ‘life experience’ is likely to play a large part in your success as a student.

To the starting point you may need some form of qualification, that might be:

  • an approved Access Diploma
  • A2 Level qualifications
  • vocational qualifications, such as BTEC National Diploma or Certificate or NVQs at Level 3
  • professional qualifications or Open University credits.

We may be able to offer you an alternative route, please contact us for more information. If you have these or similar qualifications please call our Information Hotline on 01904 876598 or E: admissions@yorksj.ac.uk and one of our team will talk through with you whether or not your qualification meets the entry requirements for your chosen course.


Press Play imageWho to talk to

Undertaking a degree course can be a daunting prospect and many adult learners often feel that they just aren’t ‘clever enough’ to go to university. By talking to one of our Admissions staff you will be able to find out whether or not you have the relevant qualifications or experience before you make a formal application.

We would also recommend that you come along to one of our open days where you can speak to academic staff and meet other mature students.

Before you make a final decision, you may also want to talk to a member of one of our specialist teams if you have specific questions about, for example, financial matters, disability issues, childcare queries or career planning.


Press Play imageAccess Diploma

Access diplomas help adult learners prepare and qualify for entry to Higher Education. The diplomas are aimed at students who do not have standard entry qualifications or who feel that their qualifications are a little rusty. All such diplomas have a strong study skills/confidence building component. Access diplomas cover a range of subjects and are often discipline related or related to progression to particular professions.

Some examples that match our degree courses are:

Press Play imageArt & Design

Press Play imageHumanities

Press Play imageSocial Sciences

Press Play imageTeaching

However, there are also programmes of a more general nature which are designed to prepare students for entry into Higher Education in a variety of ways.

If you are unsure as to whether we would accept the diploma you are thinking of undertaking, please contact us. Many colleges offer such courses. To find the one nearest to you that offers the most appropriate route look at the Access website at http://www.accesstohe.ac.uk/


Press Play imageAccreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

An alternative route into your chosen course may be to have your work experience recognised through accreditation of your learning at your place of employment.

APEL recognises the value of learning which takes place outside formal education institutions. It helps adult learners to identify the skills and knowledge acquired informally and to reflect upon their learning processes, enabling them to make the transition from informal to formal learning.

It is also an important vehicle for enabling adults who possess few, if any, qualifications to return to learn in adult, further and higher education and subsequent re-entry into the labour market.

Our admissions staff will be able to give you more information on APEL.

T: 01904 876598 or E: admissions@yorksj.ac.uk


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