Adult learners

This webpage is currently waiting for further uploads so please check back to ensure you don’t miss anything and please email beth@studyhigher if you have any questions in the meantime.

Pathways to higher education

Are you an adult currently studying a college course and wondering what your next options are in education? Have you recently returned to education after a long period out and feeling a bit daunted by further study? Or are you just seeking a bit more information and advice on what educational opportunities are available and how they might benefit you? 

If so, some of the information, recordings and powerpoint presentations on this page may be of help to you as you try to make decisions. We created the sections based around barriers to learning as identified in research report commissioned by Study Higher and produced by the University of Reading in collaboration with the Whitley Researchers.

We are currently collating videos and supporting literature some of which has still to be added to this page – please keep checking for updates


Adult learner

Identifying your strengths

Identifying your strengths.

This presentation,  Identifying your strengths, by Claire Burgess from SOAR Develpment, aims to help attendees move past any negative prior experiences in their studies and look positively towards the future. We explore: how to identify and focus on your strengths; how to set effective and meaningful goals and how to move towards positive self-belief.

If you have any questions relating to this presentation please get in touch via

Developing confidence

Developing confidence.

This powerpoint presentation, Developing confidence, by Claire Burgess from SOAR Develpment, aims to help you develop confidence and address a sense of a ‘fear of failure’ that many people have. We identify: strategies to develop confidence in different situations; how to motivate yourself when you are lacking confidence and explore both how to develop a growth mindset and tackle a ‘fear of failure’.  

If you have any questions relating to this presentation please get in touch via

Managing anxiety and change

Managing anxiety and change.

This powerpoint presentation, Managing anxiety and change by Claire Burgess from SOAR Develpment, aims to help you alleviate any feelings of anxiety when facing unknown situations. We explore: how we all react to change and strategies to manage change effectively; how to develop resilience and manage stress; tips for developing a positive mindset and optimism to face unknown situations effectively.

If you have any questions relating to this presentation please get in touch via


Feeling accepted

Feeling accepted.

This powerpoint presentation, Feeling accepted by Claire Burgess from SOAR Develpment, focuses on strategies for feeling accepted and to build relationships with others from different backgrounds and age groups. We identify what we mean by ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and how to tackle it, how others learn differently and embracing differences in ourselves and others, and strategies to build rapport and communicate effectively with others. 

If you have any questions relating to this presentation please get in touch via

Time to succeed: managing your workload and learning to enjoy what you do.

Time to succeed.

This powerpoint presentation, Time to succeed, by the Centre for Academic Development at Oxford Brookes, explores organisational and time management skills for educational success. It is not obvious how to be a student and the first few months of student life are usually about discovering new people, new ideas, and, crucially, new ways of working. We look at ways to get organised and ensure that you are making the best possible use of the time you have available to be a student. Crucial questions include: how do I know when I have read something? How do I make the best use of time in lessons, (or lectures and seminars)? How can I ensure that I make time not only to meet deadlines but enjoy what I am doing? We also explore how organisational tools and self-reflection can ensure you make the grade on time!

If you have any questions relating to this presentation please get in touch via

All of this is also captured in the short, 10 minute, video below

Higher education: can I afford it?

This recording, Higher education: can I afford it?, provides advise from the Student Loans Company providing advice about worries regarding the cost of progressing to higher education study? About multiple financial responsibilities and being unsure whether you can make part or full-time study work financially. The recording covers the student finance that is available including additional support for different needs and where to find more information.

Alternate pathways

Check back soon for a recording about the alternate pathways to higher education

This recording looks at all the alternate options that you can study at higher education including Foundation Degrees, HNC/Ds, Higher/Degree Apprenticeships and professional qualifications because university degrees are only one of many qualifications. These alternate options are suitable for adults who want to progress in their current career or for those who want to change their career path. They offer some flexibility and can often be studied around your work and other commitments. You will hear from students who have completed an alternate higher education qualification and how it has helped their career.

The information is presented by Study Higher.

What are my options for higher education study?

In this section we provide information from a range of different higher education institutions to help you explore which might be the right option for you when considering where you might want to study at university level, including: where to find entry requirements; contextual offers; conflicting information e.g. Can you access nursing with level 2 functional maths? We have included online courses verses more ‘traditional’ universities, which may be campus based and deliver courses face-to-face, as well as the option to study for a degree at further education colleges.

Activate Learning:

HNC level 4 and HNC level 5 courses: this webinar was recorded during a take over week by Activate Learning and delivered by Holly Perrett, Partnership Engagment Officer for the South Central Institute of Technology.  You will find lots of information regarding the SCIoT programmes for Reading college and Blackbird Leys Technology campus in Oxford on their website.

For course in the Swindon region please refer to the website for the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology.


We hope to add more information to this section over the coming weeks so please keep checking for updates

Applying to higher education

Everything you need to know to apply for a higher education course as an adult learner. Maybe you’re not sure exactly what the process is? Or you’d like to get an idea in advance of beginning your application.

If you’re considering applying for an undergraduate course at a UK university or college you need to apply through UCAS as they process all UK university and college admissions for undergraduate courses.

You can apply for a number of different courses from foundation programmes to a full bachelor’s degree with honours, with a number of different ways you can study.

On the UCAS page you will find everything you need to know about applying for an undergraduate course, and the support available to you if you’re planning to study after your 21st birthday.

Personal statements

The National Careers Service (NCS) offer guidance if you are thinking about writing your personal statement and not sure where to start? Qualified national careers service advisors will support adult learners to write an effective personal statement to support applications to higher education. They can advise on the top tips, pitfalls and how best to sell yourself. They provide free impartial careers information, advice and guidance to people in England, helping you to make decisions on learning, training and work at all stages in your career. Their website can be accessed here.

For FREE courses relating to writing a personal statement please click the following link: NCS courses or ring 0800 100 900 to book a FREE 1 to 1 session with an adviser.

You can also download the following booklet:

Careers advice and guidance: Whatever the stage of your career, we are here to help

or flyer:

Career change? Redundancy? Job hunting?


You might also be interested in…



Lifepilot is a FREE one-stop careers information and advice website to engage and inspire adults 19+ to get back into learning/work/training and eventual progression to higher education (if appropriate).

Funded by universities in the south west and in some areas of the south east, Lifepilot is managed by professional careers advisers providing accurate and impartial information to support decision-making at all levels.  Lifepilot helps adults at whatever stage they are at including:

For more information please click the individual links above or on the button below

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