Information for adult learners

Time for a change? Coming to university as an adult learner is a great move if you want to retrain, upskill, keep up with industry trends or follow that passion you’ve always had.

If you’re ready to open up new opportunities for you and your whānau, we can help you start your university journey, whether you’re returning to study after a few years or you’re thinking about coming to uni for the first time.

Learning for everyone
Learn at AUT

Benefits of coming to university as an adult learner

You have a clearer sense of your goals, and how university education will help you get there

Your extra life experience helps you understand your university lectures in a different way

You’re better at organising your time thanks to dealing with work and family responsibilities

Planning your uni studies

To start your university journey there are a few things you’ll need to work out – from choosing what you want to study to understanding what financial support you can get while you’re studying.


Tips for adult learners

Not too sure how to make university study work and how to balance your studies around all the other aspects of your life? Read our tips for adult and returning students thinking about university study.


Everything you need to succeed

As an AUT student you have access to all the support you need to achieve academically and have amazing experiences inside and outside the classroom – including library workshops on academic writing and preparing for your assignments, comfortable study spaces, free counselling, CV checks and interview coaching, and networking events with industry.

Our services include:

What our students say about being a mature student at AUT

Esther Sarah Fanene

Esther Sarah Fanene

Bachelor of Business in Marketing with a minor in Event Management
“AUT is not as intimidating. Classes aren’t so big, so it’s easy to interact with your classmates and make new friends. I’ve also appreciated the option to switch between full-time and part-time study. As someone juggling multiple responsibilities, it's a relief to be able to balance my studies with work and personal commitments.”
Jiang Caihong

Jiang Caihong (Daisy Jiang)

Bachelor of Design in Fashion Design
“My biggest challenges have been to blend into student and academic life again, as well as balancing family and study time. AUT has helped me through this by offering a well-organised introduction to each study stage and continuous advice from department staff. AUT was probably the first time I felt very confident about my potential in fashion design.”
Sauniuni Seleni

Sauniuni Seleni

Bachelor of Laws
“From a mature student point of view, AUT is welcoming to adult students who want to pursue a different area of profession. AUT has a very community and whānau-oriented approach. You can connect directly with your lecturers, journey together with other like-minded students and share knowledge with each other without being judged.”
Davide Lovison

Davide Lovison

Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing)
“Completing a bachelor’s degree in my early 40’s while working has to be one of my biggest achievements. What I enjoyed most about my time at AUT were the lectures in very modern buildings, the guest speakers with real-life experience and the takeaway coffees outside the library to help me get through those long days.”
Taania Williams

Taania Williams

Ngāti Porōu, Rongowhakaata, Rereahu, Tainui, Te Atiawa, Taranaki
Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching)
“With the support of my whānau, I found the courage to put my dreams into reality and achieved my goal to become the first in my family to gain a degree. Having a university close to my home in South Auckland was a huge advantage. I could commit my efforts into successfully graduating, and balancing home and children with my studies.”
Kelepi Liava'a

Kelepi Liava'a

Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management and Employment Relations with a minor in Marketing
Diploma in Business
“When I left high school, I worked full-time in retail and my favourite part was being able to help customers. I like that in my studies I could use my experience from my work in retail to relate to concepts and theories in my degree.”
Anna Matthews

Anna Matthews

Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Tuwharetoa
Master of Nursing Science
“My student cohort was a great support for me and I’ve made lifelong friends. I also appreciated the financial support available for AUT students, especially as I’m a mature student who is also a mum. The financial support I could access was really helpful for paying for day-care costs.”
Ann Merrick

Ann Merrick

Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Information Systems
“My lightbulb moment was when I started getting high marks on my assignments and exams. I had been scared to go to university as I had hated high school. Once I started at AUT, I realised that I was smart enough. I also think being more mature and able to apply real-life situations to what I was learning helped me.”
Etienne Tapueluelu

Etienne Tapueluelu

Master of Business
Bachelor of Business in Management
“For a mature student, AUT was a little intimidating at first, but once I settled, I realised how supportive AUT was and how easy-going the students were. The supportive, friendly environment helped build my confidence so I could try new things – so I tried to do everything I could!”
Ariel Shuyin Ma

Ariel Shuyin Ma

Bachelor of Laws
“I had been working as a registered legal executive before I decided to study law. At AUT, students are in different stages of their life, and there are many people doing their second bachelor’s degree to change careers or to learn out of interest. Their unique experiences add more insights and help you understand topics in a more practical way.”

Talk to us about your study options

AUT on campus

Thinking about studying at AUT? Book a time with us to discuss your study options, learn more about uni life at AUT or perhaps even check out our campus for yourself.


Explore AUT courses

Study at AUT

Learn more about what you can study at AUT, see when our university semesters start and find out more about the workplace experience that is part of many of our programmes:

Apply to study at AUT!

Ready to apply? You can start your application today – it’s easy!


University language explained

study at AUT

Bachelor’s degrees, courses… Feeling confused? Check out our glossary if you need help with any of the AUT language you’ve seen on this page.