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James HarrisonWhen someone suggested I go to university at the age of 24, I thought they were crazy – I surely wouldn’t get accepted in to uni at my age! But after visiting the Bournemouth University website and reading about the interesting courses on offer, I decided to find out if it was actually an option for me.

Higher education wasn’t for me after high school – I started working for myself at 17 and left school without any A levels. I ran various successful business ventures as well as carrying out some freelance work, but after 7 years I felt I wanted a change.

I wanted to be more involved with the marketing industry and work on projects as part of a team, rather than on my own. However I didn’t want to just go into a job in marketing without having any real industry knowledge (everything I knew about the subject was self taught and was minimal). The Marketing Communications course at Bournemouth University sounded really interesting and after visiting an Open Day, I decided it was what I wanted to do.

The session for mature students at the open day was a great chance to ask questions about how life differs as a mature student – and the answers were generally that it doesn’t have to be different if you don’t want it to be! I also spoke to the finance team about funding available and they informed me I would probably be entitled to additional maintenance grants as a mature student.

The lecturers I spoke to at the Open Day encouraged me that I would become a valued student if I was to come to the university, bringing my additional life experience with me. In fact, there are many great benefits to going to university as a mature student.

After being accepted into Bournemouth University, I set about taking a major change of direction in my life – closing down and selling on my business ventures, paying off bills, arranging my finances ready for uni, looking at selling my car and researching the best places to live in Bournemouth. I actually decided I wanted to live in the student halls with the younger students to get the full uni experience!

Taking this huge change of direction was pretty scary but also very exciting. However, once I had moved in to the halls in Bournemouth and started my course at Bournemouth Uni, I knew I had made the right decision. The additional life experience that I have due to being a mature student has proved extremely beneficial and I know that I will get much more out of university at this age, rather than if I had gone straight from school. I know it will change my life for the better and will ensure that I’ll be in the best possible position for a future career within the business world.

By James Harrison

2 Responses to “Why I gave up working for myself to go to university”

  1. Bianca

    im a mature student just about to finish my acess into healthcare course and applied but sadly wasn’t offered a place. It won’t stop me reapplying next year though. Good luck with your course and your future plans


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