Advice for Mature Applicants

With you every step, studying as a mature student at ATU Donegal.

ATU Donegal is a particularly welcoming place to study for mature students. Whether you choose to enhance your professional qualifications, change career direction or want to learn more about a subject that interests you, we’re here to support you in achieving your learning goals, every step of the way. ATU Donegal has many exciting  courses offered both part-time and full-time, from Certificate to Degrees to Masters, aimed at adult learners. To view a list of all courses please click here

It’s a courageous decision to invest in your potential.  Remember you can talk to any of the people at ATU Donegal, lecturers, administrative staff, Heads of Department, any time, they all want to see you succeed and enjoy your time here. Our goal is to make your learning journey an enjoyable and enriching one.

This section offers some practical advice on studying with us. The first piece of advice is to remember that you’re connected to a vibrant community of mature students at ATU Donegal.  You’re not on your own. If you’re returning to education after a break, studying for the first time or continuing your studies, ATU Donegal provides plenty of practical guidance to make the most of studying at third level. The Curve, is a dedicated resource offering academic, professional and personal assistance on, study planning, academic writing, IT and more.

Click here for our Mature Student Applicant Guide

Top Tips for Mature Students 

  • Know how many hours of study are required.   All courses have a teaching timetable and but also have a desired amount of study hours for self-directed learning.  Education requires an enormous time commitment. Talk to Course Directors and current students to check what will be expected.
  • Attend orientation and induction days. This will familiarise you with the campus, the people and support available to you. It’s an opportunity to ask questions and meet lecturers and other mature students. 
  • Plan ahead.  Schedule your study over the semester to meet deadlines. Be sure to factor in family and work events. This can help take away the stress of cramming and last minute deadlines. It will also help you to become familiar with the subjects and what’s involved so that you can allocate the right amount of study time.
  • Get to know your classmates. Studying as a mature student can feel a little isolated. Your fellow students are a valuable resource for exchanging information and study approaches. Set up a study group, use social media and meet regularly. 
  • Whilst your time is precious, try to visit the superb facilities like the gym at An Dánlann and incubation centre CoLab or even join a club/society.   It’ll make your experience even more rewarding.
  • Have you got the ‘buy-in’ you need? Studying either full-time or part time usually requires the support from your family, work and others.  Make sure you discuss the time needed for your studies with your family, your work colleagues or even the sports team you’re a member of.
  • If you’re unsure about anything, ask questions, email, Blackboard or one to one.  Other students, lecturers, Heads of Department and ATU Donegal support staff are resources to tap into. 
  • Recognise your weaknesses.  If you know you’re likely to be easily distracted or are prone to be disorganised then put in place action, which will help to counteract this. E.g. A study schedule on your phone. 
  • Remember why you chose to study in the first place, it will help to keep you motivated.
  • Manage your emotional wellbeing. Balancing study and commitments can be stressful. Make time for yourself, exercise and do something you enjoy every week.
  • Have fun and enjoy the rich learning experience at ATU Donegal.