Mature Students

Beginning education is a new and nerve-wracking experience. Returning to education is no different. No matter how long or short your time away from education, it can be a daunting prospect to return. Learning knows no limits, but we appreciate that returning to education as a mature student can present you with some unavoidable questions and practical considerations. 

We want you to know that the step from thinking about returning to education, to the reality of becoming a student at Carlow College is not as big as it may initially feel. Every student has their own unique life experience which sometimes, as a mature student, can feel like a barrier. In fact, what feels like an obstacle may be your greatest asset. We understand that the mental process can be just as important as any practical consideration. Our guide aims to cover all of the necessary practical areas along with highlighting the many ways Carlow College welcomes and supports mature students. 

Watch our Mature Student Information Session

Mature Student Interviews

There are two scheduled interview sessions, one after the 1 February deadline (normally in early March) and one after the 1 May deadline (normally the end of May). On interview day, the following activities take place:  

  • meet the team; 
  • a written assessment; 
  • the interview;  
  • a question and answer session; and,  
  • a tour of the college. 

Your application form and participation in the assessment day are then assessed. It is at the discretion of the College whether you are recommended to CAO to receive an offer. If you are successful, you will receive an offer from Carlow College, St. Patrick’s through the CAO in early July

Our Lecturers

At Carlow College, we have a low lecturer-to-student ratio. This means, as a student, you are not only known by your name and face, but also by your individual qualities and academic challenges. In fact, a number of our lecturers also returned to education as mature students so can fully appreciate first-hand the realities of your experience.  

College Hours

As a Mature Applicant, you may need to consider other demands on your time such as work, family, and commuting. You will be provided with a course-specific timetable during induction, but your timetable will be based within the structure of a five-day, Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm schedule. 

Grants & Scholarships

There are several grants available to mature students including SUSI and the Back to Education Grant. In addition, new mature students may apply for the Uversity scholarships

Entry Requirements

The main criterion for admission as a mature student in age. You are required to be over 23 on the 1st January of the calendar year of application. Each application is assessed by our admissions team and you will be invited for interview. To make an application go to 

Part-Time Study

Our part-time degree study option is available for those who wish to study on a part-time basis towards gaining a level 7 or level 8 degree. It is a flexible scheme that allows you to study up to six subjects (modules) per year towards a full degree qualification in a chosen area of study. Part-time students can study up to a maximum of six modules or a minimum of one module per academic year. 

Full details on our part-time study options are available here.