With the 1st of February CAO deadline fast approaching Emma  from the UCD Admissions Office offers some advice to mature students applying to UCD

UCD welcomes mature applicants and we admit hundreds of mature students every year aged from their mid-twenties to well past retirement age – there is no upper age limit for studying at UCD! To be eligible to apply for a course as a mature student you have to be at least 23 years of age on 1 January of the year you want to enter.

 Your first step:

If you are thinking of studying in UCD my first bit of advice is the exact same for mature applicants as it is for applicants applying straight from the Leaving Certificate – do your research!

Your first step on the journey to applying to college should be to look at what degrees are available and what you would study and achieve if you completed that degree. It is really important that you choose a course that you will be interested in and one that you have a passion to study. UCD has 41 different entry routes on offer so there is lots to choose from.

As well as looking into what you would study as part of your degree, it is also important to look at the bigger picture and check out what types of opportunities exist, especially after graduation.

When making the decision to apply as a mature student you also need to consider a few other questions which traditional Leaving Certificate students might not have to. You should consider the following:

  • What is the commitment involved in returning to full time study?
  • What are the demands of the course? Is it full time or part time?
  • How much will the course cost? Do you need to organise child care or elder care?


How to Apply:

Application for all undergraduate degree programmes, whether you are a mature applicant or if you are applying straight from the Leaving Certificate, is made in the same way via the Central Applications Office (CAO) www.cao.ie. Applications must be submitted to CAO by 1 February and it’s important that you put time and effort into your application.

As a mature applicant you won’t be considered in the same way as school leavers who are offered a place solely on the basis of their final school exams. Your application will be assessed on all the additional information you provide such as a CV, a Personal Statement, previous qualifications and references. All documents should be posted to the CAO to go with your online application.

For some courses you may also need to complete a written assessment as part of the process.

When you are filling up the CAO application form you may find that the space available is quite limited, so I would advise all mature applicants to enter ‘see postal documents’ in the CAO boxes and then post your completed Personal Statements (one for each degree area is advised), CV and references etc to the CAO to go with your online application.

Make sure that you visit the UCD Mature Student Application website where you’ll find lots of detailed information about applying on the grounds of mature years and what is required for each undergraduate degree programme. It is really important that you make yourself aware of all the entry requirements for the degree or degrees that you want to apply for.

There is also information on alternative access routes and the many supports available to mature students.

Getting an Offer:

As a mature applicant you will find out the decision on your application much earlier than other applicants. We aim to write to all mature applicants by the end of May to let you know the outcome of your application for every UCD degree you have applied for. Official offers come from CAO in early July and it’s important that you accept by the offer deadline, which is usually a week after you receive the offer.

All mature applicants who accept an offer in UCD will automatically be invited to take part in the Mature Student Orientation event and various workshops before the start of term to help you prepare for college life.

Good luck with your applications & hopefully we’ll see you in September!