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Sunday, February 23, 2020
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Students & Youth

Celebrating lifelong learning: Resources for mature students

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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.

Financial assistance

Grants, scholarships, bursaries and loans are available to help fund further studies.

Mature student admissions
Distance education

University Admissions – open and distance universities in Canada

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.

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.

Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada

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.

PLAR resources

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 – PLAR / Mature Student Assessments

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.

Pathways Educational Services – Mature Students and PLAR

The basics: who is a mature student, what PLAR is, eligibility and types of PLAR assessments.

Additional reading

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Leah Szabo Author
Leah Szabo is a certified career development professional in Vancouver. She is also a freelance writer and consultant on career development issues. Szabo has a background in teaching and has most recently worked as a Career Advisor and Facilitator. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria (BA) and the University of British Columbia (BEd), (MA – European Studies).
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Leah Szabo Author
Leah Szabo is a certified career development professional in Vancouver. She is also a freelance writer and consultant on career development issues. Szabo has a background in teaching and has most recently worked as a Career Advisor and Facilitator. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria (BA) and the University of British Columbia (BEd), (MA – European Studies).
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