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Will you have time to go back to study?


We know exactly what you’re thinking.

You love the idea of going to university and the benefits it could bring to your career. But the idea of adding another commitment to your life is exhausting.

But never fear! With a little preparation and planning, you can not only fit in university but ace it as well.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

We know, you’ve heard it all before, “Write down your goals” and “Plan things out in advance”. You know planning ahead works, but actually taking the time is always a struggle.

Taking that first step is half the battle, but as little as half an hour can make a world of difference.

Our Career Changer Checklist is perfect for planning out your future studies so that you begin at the best time for success. It will allow you to make an action plan – regardless of whether you’re changing careers or not – and guide you to take the best steps for your long-term goals.

Recent graduate Leanne Manthorpe found having clear objectives helped her focus greatly.

We’ve [mature-aged students] had time to work out what we want university to give us and where we want to be when we finish study. So we work towards a specific goal and this makes it easier to target our efforts.

Take a course for a test drive

Getting back into the groove of study can take a little time, so it’s worth taking advantage of the many free or low-cost courses available online.

Not only will it give you an idea of what you might like to study, but how much time that study might take, and whether you can fit it into your existing schedule.

Our favourite places to take a free short course

  • Coursera - has a huge range of short courses available from universities around the world. Best of all, you can do them all for free! Or pay a small fee to get an official certificate.
  • EdX - another huge catalogue of courses with both paid and free options from the world’s top-ranked universities.
  • Open 2 Study - if you’d like to sample courses from Australian providers, Open 2 Study has completely free sample courses available online.
  • UC Open - the University of Canberra has a number of completely free courses that are open to anyone to join. Currently, we have courses related to sport, music and career development with more on the way!

Have a study game plan

Having a well-defined study plan is the best way to make yourself accountable, and keep you on track to achieve your goals.

Again, it might seem like extra work, but taking five minutes each week to plan out your goals and dedicated study time can make your life much easier.

‘If you schedule everything into a diary it will take away the stress and mental capacity of thinking about them,’ suggests UC Sports Psychologist Dr Richard Keegan.

Alumna Brooke West is also a huge fan of scheduling out your time, ‘Plan, plan, plan! Time management is crucial, but with a little planning you can turn study into academic success,’ she advises.

For those who like writing things out by hand and placing goals where you can see them, we have developed a weekly study game plan you can download. Alternatively, Clear is a great app which lets you set goals and create a schedule.

Try them out when you try your free course. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can fit your learning into your schedule!

Study time

Make the most of apps and study tools

It’s one thing to block out time. It’s another to use it effectively.

Luckily, there are a number of apps which can help keep you focused during your allocated study time.

Apps utilising the Pomodoro Technique have a stopwatch allocating focused work time and scheduled breaks. Just hit “go” and work until you hear the alarm.

If Facebook and your favourite news site are too tempting, you can use the Cold Turkey website blocker. This lets you only access what’s important while you’re studying and blocks you from all those tempting distractions.

Get people on your team

The chances are if you’re a mature-aged student study will affect more than just your life.

In some way, it will impact your family, work, and social lives. But by being up-front and honest, your friends, family, and colleagues will become your biggest fans, and even help you to achieve your goals.

‘Openly communicate with your employer about your intentions and what impact it might have on your work commitments,’ recommends Brooke West.

Having support from your employer makes the journey easier.

It’s also important to acknowledge that you will have to make some sacrifices to achieve your eventual goals.

‘Some things may have to change so you can fit university into your life,’ explained Leanne Manthorpe, ‘and it should be a priority because it is something YOU want to do.’

Ready to get started mapping out your study plans?

Life Skills; Career Tips