Seriously considering uni- advice for a potential mature student please :)

Emx93

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Hi,
So long story short I got into uni at 18, took a gap year as my family wouldn't support me going, started working met my partner got pregnant bought a house and cancelled uni place. I now have 3 children plus the furbies and am currently a stay at home parent. It has constantly bugged me that I cancelled my uni place, we constantly struggle financially and while I love my kids deeply I do not want to be a stay at home mum long term, nor do I want to work a minimum wage job, I want a career. I've looked into student finance and based on the calculator I'd get the course fees on a student loan, a maintenance loan and help towards childcare costs and non of it will affect our tax credits so financially it should just be doable. My main concern is my partners work hours, he works nights but leaves at 2pm for work, childcare providers only work till 6pm so I'd have to get from uni to childcare for pickup (approx a 2h journey on public transport) by 6pm I do not have family to help with childcare. So my main concern is what would I do if I had lectures etc that ran longer than 4pm 😳 won't be a problem while everything's online but in the future. He also gets days off in the week so on those days it wouldn't be an issue just Monday-Wednesday that would be the problem 🤪 my other concern is managing a young family, 11 pets and full time education- is it doable?
The course I want to do is in clearing for September and I'm rediculously tempted to call the uni for an informal chat about my situation and some advice. I worked hard at school and got good gcses and a levels, I've got into this course once I'd do it again I'm sure. xx

Does anyone work at a uni (@PigglePuggle?) or has done a full time degree in similar circumstances?
 

PigglePuggle

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I think returning to study is a great idea!
In terms of flexibility and finishing at 4pm it will depend which course you are studying. Our uni has lectures 4-6pm some days, and if you are doing anything that involves field trips or assessed practical work that could be less flexible.
In terms of managing uni with kids... well my daughter was 8 when I started uni myself, and my sister actually had her 2nd baby between her 1st and 2nd year of uni, so it is definitely possible- and actually really nice to have such long holidays when the kids are at home! You might if needed find a private childminder for Monday and Tuesday afternoons, who will be more flexible with timings, my daughter uses a private childminder for baby Alfie as she needs to leave for work at 7am and that works really well for her. Wednesday afternoons wont be a problem as there shouldnt be any lectures timetabled then, everyone gets wednesday afternoons off at uni because its when the uni sports play matches against other unis :)
This sounds like a really exciting plan for you, and if you think your course will still be worth it even with semester 1 mostly online this year, I'd say go for it! :)
 

Siikibam

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I haven't personally but I think you should definitely go for it. It may be a struggle but I think you are ready for it, and you want it enough to make it work. I would call the uni up for that talk and get some advise. You can ask them about the chances of lectures running late - would you be able to slip out towards the end so you can collect your children?

Other things to consider are how you would do your work around your children - how old are they? And the commute as well. And with childcare, as PigglePuggle has suggested above, I would search for a private childminder that could keep them a little longer. By the way they have to be ofsted registered.

Good luck and please please do apply. I am starting teacher training in September. We are going to be tight on money with three kids in school, but we will manage. My husband (and others, thank you PigglePuggle!) has faith in me. It's going to be challenging but I feel okay about that. Essay writing is going to be practised *scared*
 

Emx93

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I think returning to study is a great idea!
In terms of flexibility and finishing at 4pm it will depend which course you are studying. Our uni has lectures 4-6pm some days, and if you are doing anything that involves field trips or assessed practical work that could be less flexible.
In terms of managing uni with kids... well my daughter was 8 when I started uni myself, and my sister actually had her 2nd baby between her 1st and 2nd year of uni, so it is definitely possible- and actually really nice to have such long holidays when the kids are at home! You might if needed find a private childminder for Monday and Tuesday afternoons, who will be more flexible with timings, my daughter uses a private childminder for baby Alfie as she needs to leave for work at 7am and that works really well for her. Wednesday afternoons wont be a problem as there shouldnt be any lectures timetabled then, everyone gets wednesday afternoons off at uni because its when the uni sports play matches against other unis :)
This sounds like a really exciting plan for you, and if you think your course will still be worth it even with semester 1 mostly online this year, I'd say go for it! :)
Thankyou, semester one being online actually works very much in our favour as luna gets her 15h free childcare from January (help with childcare from student finance has a limit and what we'd need is very much above what they pay) 😁 there are private childminders (we use one currently however she doesn't offer evenings and I can't find one that picks up from the girls school that does this is my main concern between do I apply now or do I wait till they are all in school 🤪😳) my children are just turned 7, 4 and 2 😱. The course is psychology :) I got an A at a level psychology and a A* at gcse psychology so I think I could do the course, the other course I considered was mental health nursing but i know the hours of placements would definitely not work for a young family. I've always known I want to do it at some point it's just a question of when 🙈 thankyou for the advice ladies, very much appreciated I think I will call the uni xx
 

Emx93

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I haven't personally but I think you should definitely go for it. It may be a struggle but I think you are ready for it, and you want it enough to make it work. I would call the uni up for that talk and get some advise. You can ask them about the chances of lectures running late - would you be able to slip out towards the end so you can collect your children?

Other things to consider are how you would do your work around your children - how old are they? And the commute as well. And with childcare, as PigglePuggle has suggested above, I would search for a private childminder that could keep them a little longer. By the way they have to be ofsted registered.

Good luck and please please do apply. I am starting teacher training in September. We are going to be tight on money with three kids in school, but we will manage. My husband (and others, thank you PigglePuggle!) has faith in me. It's going to be challenging but I feel okay about that. Essay writing is going to be practised *scared*
I have every faith in you too! Good luck, you will rock it! 😁 Xx
 

Siikibam

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Thank you! :D
You're not committing when you call them up. I think it would be helpful for you to speak to them and see. You never know. As for the childcare...is there a childminder who could collect them and drop them to someone who offers evenings? Perhaps you could strike a deal with one of them. A tough one but do you think it will really be easier once the youngest is at school as well?
 

Emx93

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Thank you! :D
You're not committing when you call them up. I think it would be helpful for you to speak to them and see. You never know. As for the childcare...is there a childminder who could collect them and drop them to someone who offers evenings? Perhaps you could strike a deal with one of them. A tough one but do you think it will really be easier once the youngest is at school as well?
If I waited till they were all in secondary school I don't have the childminder issue, however it also means waiting another 9 years and I feel stuck in a rut, my children are the best thing that ever happened to me and I don't regret when I had them but Ive always regretted cancelling uni, I just wanted the first few years with them, I felt like they deserved that. But I also want to teach them to never give up on their dreams, that life happens but to never give up. 🤪 Xx
 

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Good luck with your plans. I hope you can manage to make it work, if yo really want it I'm sure you can.
 

Siikibam

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It's a very good lesson to teach them actually. Children will behave as they see their parents behaving. It is learnt. Go for it. I am rooting for you :D

PS I have been at home with each of my children for a long time. I had my first in 2008 and he used to stay with my sister when I first returned to work. By the time I had my second, I was working part time. After my third I started working from home. So they've been used to me being home when they get back, and I've done 99% of the school runs, parents evening, christmas plays etc. I likely wont be able to take them to school anymore which is a little weird, but it's time for me to do something for me if that makes sense.
 

Emx93

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Oh bummer on the course description for the course in clearing it says this course is only available to students who are 18 at the point of entry... Does that mean no mature students? I suppose I could find out info for September 21 and that at least gives me more time to prepare :)
 

PigglePuggle

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I'd just call them up before clearing starts and talk to the admissions tutor, its likely this year that they have spare places to fill and they might prefer to take a mature student who has made them their first choice ahead of clearing. Always worth asking! Best of luck x
 

stef.trg

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I would still give them a call on Monday. Maybe it just means that you have to be at least 18 years old at point of entry?

I did my master‘s in York and in terms of flexibility it was never a problem. I didn’t have to care for a family but in my opinion it’s definitely doable. I would say the most important thing is good time management. Starting assignments early, planning time in for uni work; these kind of things. But with the right attitude and if you really want it, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to do it :)

We had a few mature students with children and it wasn’t even a problem for them to bring their children to lectures when they couldn’t get childcare. I would also look into childcare at university, bigger universities often offer this sort of thing nowadays.

Anyways, I think it’s a great idea and it’s never too late to go back to uni! I wish you all the best and good luck for your degree! Just being nosey here (as always haha), what degree are you wanting to do?
 

Emx93

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I would still give them a call on Monday. Maybe it just means that you have to be at least 18 years old at point of entry?

I did my master‘s in York and in terms of flexibility it was never a problem. I didn’t have to care for a family but in my opinion it’s definitely doable. I would say the most important thing is good time management. Starting assignments early, planning time in for uni work; these kind of things. But with the right attitude and if you really want it, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to do it :)

We had a few mature students with children and it wasn’t even a problem for them to bring their children to lectures when they couldn’t get childcare. I would also look into childcare at university, bigger universities often offer this sort of thing nowadays.

Anyways, I think it’s a great idea and it’s never too late to go back to uni! I wish you all the best and good luck for your degree! Just being nosey here (as always haha), what degree are you wanting to do?
Thankyou, I will call on Monday and enquire, it will be useful to speak with them anyway as even if I look for next year (which may actually be useful as more time to sort out things like childcare) I still need to speak about the course and my individual situation and check it is actually doable 😁 thankyou for the support everyone I really appreciate it! 😁
 

Emx93

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Thinking about it, September 2021 may actually be better anyways, it gives me a year to prepare, get the kids in a better sleeping routine, there'll all be a year older so slightly less demanding, luna will have 15hours free childcare, Sam will be settled into his new routine at work and it gives me a year to sort childcare (and maybe even pester some family friends to see if they could help with evenings) develop time to plan around helping my children with their homework, pet routines etc and finding my own time to study 🙈 I still have my a level psychology books so I could refresh myself, maybe even look at volunteering somewhere (I already volunteer at children's centre but not sure it's relevent). So I will call Monday anyway and say I'm considering clearing but most likely considering September 2021 and find out all the relevant information 😁
 

Qualcast&Flymo

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Best of luck with trying to sort out things, @Emx93 !
If you can't get on the particular course you mention, have you thought about signing up with the Open University? They have the full range of courses and are just as good as bricks and mortar unis, but you would be able to fit your studies around your family responsibilities much more easily.
 

Emx93

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Best of luck with trying to sort out things, @Emx93 !
If you can't get on the particular course you mention, have you thought about signing up with the Open University? They have the full range of courses and are just as good as bricks and mortar unis, but you would be able to fit your studies around your family responsibilities much more easily.
Thankyou, I did consider open uni, but it takes a lot longer to complete the degree and i don't feel there's the same level of support there (for example student finance I can only get help with course fees with open uni but no helpp with living costs or childcare like i can by going to uni, it is certainly an option though 😁) xx
 
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