Tips for Mature Students

Getting back into the classroom

If you’ve been away from school for a while, you might be concerned about getting back into it. Don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Many mature students have some worries about returning to school. To help, we put together this list of common concerns you may have and  suggestions to help you overcome them.

Find support at NAIT

Get the help you need to start your studies on the right foot.

Contact Student Services

Considerations for mature students

Applying as a mature student

All applicants, regardless of age*, are treated the same in NAIT’s admissions process. After applying to a NAIT program, make sure you submit all transcripts from any high school and post-secondary or higher education you have attended. NAIT will consider all your previous coursework when reviewing your eligibility for admission, no matter how long ago you took courses. All applicants must meet the entrance requirements listed on the program page to be considered for admission. If you are missing one or more of the minimum entrance requirements, many programs have alternative entrance pathways which are also listed on the program page.

Once you have accepted an offer of admission to your program, if you have relevant previous post-secondary education and/or work and life experience, you may be eligible to request:

*Some programs have a minimum age requirement (eg. 18 years old) listed in their entrance requirements.

Need a refresher in math?

If you have been out of school for more than 5 years, you might want to consider upgrading your math. It is one of the skills that is lost most quickly. 

Check out our math modules. Topics include basic math concepts in trades as well as academic upgrading. Learning modules are self-paced, interactive and available online. 

Another alternative is to hire a tutor. Check out the Nimbus Learning tutoring program, a course-specific tutoring service providing support at your convenience. Tutors go through a rigorous approval process.

Academic performance

At NAIT, mature students are often our highest achievers. You already know how to prioritize, how to juggle commitments and how to use your time effectively. You likely have clear goals in mind. All of this will help you succeed as a mature learner. 

Mental health

All students feel overwhelmed at some point, and especially during the first term, while getting used to school. Make sure you give yourself enough downtime away from school to recharge. 

If you continue to feel overwhelmed, there are a few options available to you. 

  • Talk to a counsellor for support 

  • Talk to your program chair about taking fewer classes to lighten your course load. 

  • Talk about your concerns with your peers or classmates – you’re probably not the only one feeling this way, and getting support from your peers can help you feel better. 

  • Talk to your instructors – they may have advice to help you. 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. NAIT offers many workshops and resources to help you with your studies. 

Managing your course load

Many students, mature or not, choose to spread their program out over a longer period of time. While this is not possible in some programs, if you are feeling overwhelmed, check with your program chair to see if this is an option. 

Need to brush up on Study skills? 

Most students find that getting into a good study routine will take some practice. 

NAIT can help. We offer the following study and academic support services: 

  • study skills workshops 
  • online study skill modules 
  • Learning Strategists - can help with challenges you may be experiencing 


Ask your instructor what computer hardware, programs, and skills will be necessary for your course. If you need help, consider hiring a tutor or getting help from a classmate or friend. 

If you don’t have a computer, the Computer Commons on the 2nd floor of the HP Centre on Main Campus has computers available for you to use.

Managing Finances 

Making sure you have the money to get through the semester is important. Financial strain can interfere with your success. 

Here are some resources that might help:

School/life balance

It is true that you won’t have as much time with family as before. Sit down with your significant other and children to work out a plan to divide responsibilities and plan for time as a couple and as a family. 

Keep in mind that school is an investment in yourself, and your dedication to your goals is good role modelling that will ultimately help your family and yourself. 

Social connections/belonging 

You may be the only mature student in your class, but that doesn’t mean you won’t fit in. Try to make friends with some of the younger students or consider joining or forming a study group. For support on leading a study group, check out the Student Study Group program for training and resources 

Develop a support network. If there aren’t a lot of mature students in your class, there are many at NAIT who are likely feeling the same way you are. Consider joining a Campus Club or connecting with your student union, NAITSA, for ways to meet others and get involved on campus.

Find learning support at NAIT

Get the help you need to start your studies on the right foot.

Visit Learning Services whether you are new to NAIT or a returning student. You can access online resources and learning modules to enhance your math, writing, learning and study skills, familiarize yourself with virtual learning platforms, or connect with a study group.

Sign up to Nimbus Learning, NAITSA’s mobile tutoring app, to access tutoring for reasonable rates, or earn some extra money by tutoring your peers.

If you have a disability, you can meet with a Learning Advisor to discuss options for accessing assistive technology, exam accommodations, alternate formatted reading materials, captioning, sign language interpretation, or connect with a learning strategist. 

Learning Services

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