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Date published: 6 September 2012

If the thought of revisiting your student days is tempting but scary, we have good news: as a woman over 40, you're likely to be a star pupil. "Mature-age women are well known for being the ones who get the highest marks", says Marcia Devlin, executive director of academic services at Open Universities Australia (

"Their time-management and organisational skills are second to none. We've seen spectacular growth of around 80% in female enrolments since 2007, and students aged 40+ have increased by 60% in that time, so a huge proportion of our students are women over 40. It's an undeniable trend", she says.

Devlin's advice to those ready to take that first step towards a mortarboard? Start gently. "Dip your toe in the water and do a unit, then if you like it, move on to complete a qualification." However, she says the most important thing is having confidence and a positive attitude. "Some women in their 40s and 50s start to think they're getting on a bit, but our oldest student is 94! She started her degree at 89 and is doing amazingly well. Basically, if you can click a mouse and use a password, then you can study online."

Date: October 2012 edition
Publication: Prevention magazine
Title: Return to academia