Are you returning to education after a break? Does the thought of studying again fill you with trepidation as well as excitement? Are you anxious that you won’t be able to ‘keep up’ with other students?

You are not alone! Students who are returning to study after time away sometimes feel that their academic skills are ‘rusty’, and worry about whether they will be able to remember how to undertake academic study, or write assignments. However, research shows that students who return to study after a break from education are often found to be more motivated, self-determined, focussed and hard-working (Hunter-Johnson, 2017; Kasworm, 2018). Our experience has also shown that given the right encouragement and access to support, all students have the potential to achieve, regardless of their age or stage in life.

Been away from education for a while? Returning to Learning. This UniSkills workshop offers a time and space to meet other students who have also had a break from study

Did you know?

… that Edge Hill University has a high percentage of students who have not come directly from school or college? The most recently available statistics show that in the 2020/2021 academic year:

  • More than a third (35.6%) of our students were over 25
  • Almost a quarter (24.9%) were over 30

Recent research has also suggested that globally it is the over-50 age group that is the fastest growing demographic of adult learners (Heretick and Tanguma, 2020). While higher education does not have an upper age limit, the chances are that there will be several people on your course who are returning to education after a significant break. 

The Returning to Learning workshop has been developed to offer a safe space for students re-entering education at Edge Hill to reconnect with learning and share their experiences with others in the same boat. We also welcome anyone who has previously been in the same position and can offer peer support or tips for ways to ease back into an educational setting.

Returning to Learning Ethos

Our aim is to create a community of positive support to help develop the confidence of returning students, enabling them to believe that they can achieve, and be academically successful. 

To ensure that we can offer our students the best experience, we draw upon research, our experience and academic skills knowledge, as well as students’ own ideas about what they need, to best support their transition back into education.

Do you have any returning to study tips or strategies to share? Are you anxious about returning to learning? Are your academic skills a bit rusty? Have you been away from education for a while? Returning to Learning offers a time and space to meet other students who have also had a break from study. It's a place to share your experiences, discuss any concerns and access support to enjoy a positive and successful time at university. Dates for 2023: Jan 11, Jan 25, Feb 8, Feb 22, Mar 8, Mar 22.

Returning to Learning runs on alternate Wednesdays throughout each term, in The Willow Room, Catalyst. Drop in any time between 1-3pm for a cuppa and a chat (tea, coffee and biscuits are provided!). Check out our current workshop timetable for this term’s dates. You can book a place online or simply drop in on the day! 

Whether you are totally new to university, are in your final year, or are returning to postgraduate study, why not come along and share your experiences? Each session is facilitated by both an Academic Skills Advisor and a Student Advisor, and will offer you the opportunity to:

  • Meet other Returning to Learning students
  • Share any concerns about returning to academic study at university
  • Learn how others in this situation have adapted to Higher Education
  • Suggest tips for effective learning
  • Develop your academic resilience

We are always happy to answer questions, share our knowledge about studying at Edge Hill University, or just have a chat!


HERETICK, D. M. L. and TANGUMA, J., 2020. Anxiety and Attitudes Toward Statistics and Research Among Younger and Older Nontraditional Adult Learners. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 69 (2), pp. 87-99.

HUNTER-JOHNSON, Y., 2017. Demystifying Educational Resilience: Barriers of Bahamian Nontraditional Adult Learners in Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 65 (3), pp. 175-186.

KASWORM, C. E., 2018. Adult Students: A Confusing World in Undergraduate Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 66 (2), pp. 77-87.