Mature students

At Kent we believe that mature students with the ability to benefit from our courses should be able to come to the University. We support and encourage life-long learning for everyone, and more than 1,500 of our undergraduates in 2017/18 were over 21 when they enrolled at Kent.

If you're applying to Kent after the age of 21, we consider you to be a mature student. You could be in your early twenties and applying a few years after leaving school or college, studying as part of your professional development or pursuing a personal interest. You may want a career change or you may even be retired.

We know that finding information tailored to your needs can be a challenge, so we're here to reassure you and help you to take the next steps in your education.


How can I get the entry qualifications?

If you don't have traditional qualifications, the Access to Higher Education Diploma prepares you for university study. It is a nationally recognised qualification that is accepted by universities across the country. At Kent, we run our own Access Diploma programme. Our course is:

  • an evening course for adults
  • in Medway and Thanet
  • only £140 for a two-year programme

Classes focus on coursework and discussion led by helpful, supportive tutors. Inspiring sessions and regular guidance will help you to reach your full potential. Subjects may include creative writing, English literature, fine art, politics with law, psychology and sociology.

To find out more, see our Access to Higher Education website or contact us at or 01227 823662.

Two students work at a computer screen together

How will I pay for it?

You can apply for student funding as a mature student. At Kent, we offer a range of undergraduate funding, from a generous financial support package designed specifically for mature learners, to selective scholarships for applicants from partner colleges and our own Access to HE programme.

See all scholarships and funding opportunities

Student sits at a picnic bench writing in a notebook while holding a textbook in his left hand

Preparing for university

Mature student Muyunda found the Access Diploma was an excellent stepping stone

How do I apply?

Applying to university can seem daunting when you’re a mature student, especially if you’re not currently at college, but it may be easier than you expect. The University of Kent and UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, offer step-by-step advice to help you through the admissions process.

See our How to Apply guide

UCAS advice for mature undergraduate students

Mature student working on a computer the Templeman Library

What's it like to be a mature student?

Kate shares her experience of returning to education at the University of Kent

Where can I get help?

It’s important to us that your time at Kent is a positive experience so we are committed to improving access to learning and provide a wide range of support.

  • Student Learning Advisory Service (SLAS) - SLAS supports the development and achievement of students from foundation to PhD. Their VALUE MaP Programme is designed to help you meet the assessment criteria of your chosen course of study.
  • Student Support and Wellbeing - This service is available to all University of Kent students. The team can help you with specific learning difficultiespsychological, emotional or mental health issuesdisability and autism.
  • Childcare facilities - For students with children, we are well placed for access to year-round childcare for under-fives, as well as holiday sports and play schemes for older children. For more information, see students with families.
  • Accommodation - University accommodation is available to all students, however, it is not suitable for families. We offer advice for living off-campus in Canterbury and Medway.
  • Travel - Parking on both campuses is operated by a permit scheme. For more information see the Transport website. The University also operates a free coach service between Medway and Canterbury campuses, 7 days a week in term time. For timetables and booking information, see Campus Shuttle.

How can I meet other students?

Head Start is held on both the Medway and Canterbury campuses in the week before Welcome Week. It is an an event for newly enrolled mature students to find out about learning and teaching methods on degree programmes. If you are over 21 and hold a confirmed place at Kent you will be invited to attend this event.

For more details, contact Ruth Westbury on or 01227 824147.

The Mature Student Society offers advice and support to all mature students. It also provides a social environment where you can discuss the challenges faced by students with dependents and financial commitments beyond study.

The Kent Union Buddy Scheme helps both new and returning students settle into life at Kent. It brings together students who can provide informal support through regular meet-ups, sharing their experiences and tips.

A group of postgraduates sit in Sibson Building

Get in touch

Many of us in the Adult Learning Team were mature students ourselves so we know how it feels to go back into education after a break. We work with adult learners from a range of age groups and backgrounds across Kent and Medway.

If you would like advice about going to university please get in touch.

Telephone: 01227 824147

Find out more

Person in University of Kent polo shirt talks to class of students

Access to Higher Education

Would you like to study at university, but don't have the grades you need? Our Access to Higher Education courses could help you.

Two parents and their two children smile at the camera

Students with families

If you will be responsible for family members while studying, see what support we can offer you in terms of accommodation, schooling and healthcare.

Two people sitting at a computer while talking to each other

Student Support and Wellbeing

At Kent, we are committed to improving access to learning and provide a wide range of support during your studies.

Mature student smiling in front of a large window

Mature student blog

Ben is in the second year of his degree at Kent. Find out how he's getting on with his studies and what university life is like as a mature student.