Challenges Of A Mature Student Research Papers Example
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Mature students in institutions of higher learning face many challenges in their course to pursue their studies. In the first place, mature students fail to balance between domestic duties, paid work and university activities. Indisputably, mature students usually have a low level of intelligence compared to young students because of the length of time they have stayed away of formal education. Additionally, mature students experience problems of adapting to new technology, which is necessary for anyone pursuing a course in the university. It is recommended that universities should organize for meetings with mature students to look into ways of mitigating problems. Apart from that, universities should develop prior learning and assessment programs, which rate learners and help lecturers to organize their teachings in a way to address the challenges. It is also advisable for mature students to forge good relations with young students by joining associations that will help in providing some of the solutions to their challenges.
According to a study conducted by the National Centre for Education Statistics in America, in 2008, it was observed that more than 36% of the learners in higher education were mature students. The situation has not been different in the United Kingdom and other places. The situation is caused by a number of factors including delayed enrolment, change of career, having dependents at an early stage in life, which hinder continuous learning, and financial problems among others. Seeking to further studies or continue with education at an adult stage is not an easy initiative, many mature students experience many challenges during their course of study, but they do not relent. Notably, the majority of mature students experience socio-economic, and adjustment problems, which frustrate their efforts to achieve their goals.
Challenges faced by mature students
It should be known that many of the mature students enrolling at institutions of higher learning are mostly employees in the corporate companies or are doing their own commercial activities. For this reason, it is problematic to juggle academic study with employer’s demand. Most of them are threatened to quit their paid jobs or are paid a fraction of their remuneration because they do not work fully as expected. Such a situation possesses a financial problem, which cripple mature student’s ability to fund their education. Cowely (1) add that balancing paid work and domestic responsibilities because all of them require financial support and personal attention to ensure that they run accordingly. Young students are not usually affected by external factors unlike mature students who are tasked with paid work, other dependents, and sometimes marital relations that engage them; hence, putting pressure on available time.
A Stay at home mother who enrolled for a nursing degree experienced the challenge of balancing school work and domestic duties. Apart from that, it was tiresome to commute to the university and back home every day considering that some lecturers or practical lessons end late in the evening. Her busy schedule affected her ability to cope up with the speed of learning because she could not abandon her family or domestic duties.
As a mature student, one is required to commute, eat, convene meetings, research and print academic work, which require finances to sustain effectiveness in academics. Considering that mature students do not receive loans from the government, they face a major problem if lack of finances to support their education in institutions of higher education (Stechyson 1). Although a few may be beneficiaries of sponsorship programs, they are usually not funded fully because most underwriters consider them as obsolete and almost becoming unproductive.
Another common fear of mature students is that they have a low level of intelligence, which makes them experience problems when capturing academic concepts as compared to their younger students. The rationale behind it is that most of the mature students might have been away from formal education; hence, making them unfamiliar with new or existing concepts. Such a challenge a lowers the morale and self-esteem of mature students; thereby, lowering their academic performance.
Young students usually segregate mature students because they think they are lecturers or non-teaching staff at the university. The social integration challenge makes it difficult for mature students to engage in meaningful academic or social relations with young students. The fear by young students to fear and ignore mature students creates a sense of isolation making mature students to feel out of place. Proponents of learning theories believe that socialization has to take place for effective learning and in the absence of socialization, learning is hindered.
According to Rybak (1), many mature students face challenges of adapting to the new technology because the majority belongs to a different an earlier era as opposed to generation Y or “computer era” students most of whom are able to benefit from online learning and other aided academic programs in the university. Failure of mature students to adapt to new technology makes most of them pay highly for their academic programs because they have to be attended to by busy lecturers.
Being a full-time soldier and a full-time mature student at the same time is not easy either. The command-dominated environment in the law enforcement agency does not allow one to create free time to read or embark on educational activities. It should be remembered that as a soldier, one schedule may change according to the security status or programs as planned by the superiors; therefore, being a mature and full time student when one is a soldier possess a great challenge.
The discipline of reading, studying and conducting independent research for mature students is usually low because they are used to a “comfort zone” where some of them sit in offices doing minor clerical work or perform little domestic duties. This is opposed to young students who have been used to the system of learning because they take short time before they resume studies. Canadian Mental Health Association (1) asserts that the aspect of laziness in mature student takes time before it is alleviated and influence their performance and ability to continue to continue with their studies.
Based on the above analysis of the problems facing mature students in institutions of higher learning, there is a need to change the situation as it is in order to sustain the ability of mature students to achieve their educational goals. Notably, it is recommended that mature students should learn how to integrate with others in the university community so that they avoid isolation problems, which hinder learning.
Universities should forge ways to deal with mature students to ensure that they are in constant communication with the institutions, which can help in mitigating challenges. On the same note, it is advisable that mature students should familiarize themselves with various departments and university heads who can offer any form of support as a way to check on some of the problems experienced by mature students (Cowley 1). Rybak (1) observes that the University of Toronto Organized meetings with mature students, as a way of sensitizing them about ways of dealing with problems affecting them. The author goes ahead stating that mature students should form organizations, clubs, societies, and associations that will help them in formulating some of the solutions to the problems they are facing. Alongside that, belonging in an association will help a mature student to learn some of the rights he or she is entitled, which will boost the advocacy level of a mature student. Having advocacy knowledge on rights as a mature student helps the student to avoid being harassed or segregated by others in the university community.
According to Ministry of Education in Ontario, the university management should organize for prior learning and assessment process, which should help in rating knowledge and skills of mature students before they embark on learning. Such a move helps the university to establish some of their weaknesses, which can help lecturers to tailor learning so that it can alleviate the problems.
In order to mitigate the problem of juggling domestic duties, paid work and educational activities, a mature student should make a local arrangement with the employer, who should be informed about the “new schedule” and adjust some of the institutional conditions about staying on duty as expected. Alternatively, mature students should take an educational leave, which would help in creating time for the mature to embark on full-time studies of learning. Additionally, mature students should seek help of relatives of nannies to help with domestic duties so that the student can create extra time to focus on full-time learning.
It is advisable for mature students to enroll for distant or online learning so that mature students can deliver on their paid work and create time for academics at the university. This form of study is the best because a mature does not need to travel from his or her place of working to the university; instead, learns though online academic portals.
"Canadian Medical Health Association." Print Me. Canadian Medical Health Association, 1 Jan. 2004. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://www.cmha.ca/youreducation/print_mature.html>.
Cowley, Julie. "University as a Mature Student: Top Tips." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 28 Nov. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/10478366/University-as-a-mature-student-top-tips.html>.
Ministry of Education, Ontario. "PRIOR LEARNING ASSESSMENT AND RECOGNITION (PLAR) FOR MATURE STUDENTS: IMPLEMENTATION IN ONTARIO SECONDARY SCHOOLS." Policy/Program Memoranda No. 132. Ministry of Education: Ontario, 7 May 2003. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm/132.html>.
Rybak, Jeff. "Mature Students Often Misunderstood - Macleans.ca." Macleansca. Rogers Digital Media, 14 May 2008. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/mature-students-advocacy-and-information-bias/>.
Stechyson, Natalie. "Kickin' It Old-school: The Rise of the Mature Student." The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc, 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/back-to-school/kickin-it-old-school-the-rise-of-the-mature-student/article1379061/>.
Wikipedia, W. "Adult Learner." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 5 Mar. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_learner>.
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