According to an Ipsos poll conducted by Royal Roads University (2016), 87% of people consider lifelong learning “crucial to career success.” In honour of the International Day of Education (January 24), we celebrate mature students and their quest to enrich their lives and careers by returning to school.
The following resources will be helpful to mature students, employees considering a return to school, special admissions and lifelong learners. Topics include finances, mature student admissions, transfer/bridging programs, credential and Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) services, and additional tips on resuming life as a student.
Grants, scholarships, bursaries and loans are available to help fund further studies.
- Government of Canada – education planning and student aid
- Universitystudy – scholarships, grants and bursaries for Canadian students
Mature student admissions
For many students, distance education is a flexible and rewarding way to study and the options continue to expand, across borders and overcoming geographical and financial barriers.
Universities and colleges
Universities and colleges across the country welcome applications from mature students, on and off-campus. Many institutions offer special admissions and completion policies, as well as bridging programs, to make studies feasible and accessible for those returning to school at any point in their careers and professional development.
- Dalhousie University – mature student advising
- George Brown College – guide for mature students
- Lethbridge College – mature student resources
- Lethbridge College – mature student support
- McGill University – mature student requirements
- Mohawk College – mature applicants
- Mount Saint Vincent University – mature student admissions
- Ontario college and university admissions – mature students
- Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) – mature students directory
- Sheridan College – mature student testing
- Simon Fraser University – special admissions
- University of Alberta – mature student admissions
- University of British Columbia – mature student admission
- University of Manitoba – mature student admissions
- University New Brunswick – mature students
- University of Northern British Columbia – mature student admissions
- University of Saskatchewan – mature student eligibility
- University of Toronto – mature students
- York University – access and bridging programs
- York U – transfer pathways
Credential Evaluation Services
Newcomers and students from diverse educational backgrounds may need to have their prior schooling credentials evaluated for admission eligibility. Doing so can open doors to programs and funding, as well as acknowledging and crediting prior learning and work experience in a variety of fields.
The Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC) is a pan-Canadian membership organization composed of six members operating in the public and private sectors, in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. Members of ACESC issue assessment reports for general purposes to outline expert, non-binding opinions on the assessment of academic credentials issued outside Canada.
Prior learning assessment recognition (PLAR) encourages returning students by awarding credit for a previous experience beyond formal education. Past and present employment, apprenticeships and life experience can all count toward new programs of study, reducing time and cost for completion. Each institution may have its own PLAR policies and initiatives.
Canada eSchool is an Ontario-based private online secondary school that caters to the educational needs of secondary school students around the world. It provides a Mature Student Assessment Evaluation.
Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators (CESBA) – What is Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition for Mature Students? And How Can I Benefit From It? [Report]
This report covers eligibility for PLAR for mature students, equivalency and graduation requirements. CESBA also has a web page with links and resources related to PLAR.
The basics: who is a mature student, what PLAR is, eligibility and types of PLAR assessments.
- Colleges and universities re-think how to best serve mature students (CareerWise)
- CPA PEP admission requirements for workforce applicants without an undergraduate degree (Chartered Professional Accountants Canada)
- How To Get Into Med School As a Non-traditional and/or Mature Applicant (BeMo Academic Consulting)
- Tips for Mature Students (NAIT)
- Going to College as an Older Student (IvyPanda)
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