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Thread: Are you ever too old to go back to graduate school?

  1. #1
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    Are you ever too old to go back to graduate school?

    Are you ever too old to go back to graduate school?

    Right now, I am 34-if I decide to do a Masters in Planning, by the time I graduate from the program, I will be 36.

    Am I going to have a difficult time finding a job once I graduate due to my age? Even though private and public sector organizations are not legally supposed to discriminate based on age, it is often difficult to prove and I believe it happens quite frequently in our country.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    No, I got my first planning job at 35.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    I've taken graduate classes with folks 25 years your senior, and they taught both their academic peers (fellow students) and the profs a thing or two.

    Two words of advice: Go Now.

    Quote Originally posted by krkrbts
    Are you ever too old to go back to graduate school?

    Right now, I am 34-if I decide to do a Masters in Planning, by the time I graduate from the program, I will be 36.

    Am I going to have a difficult time finding a job once I graduate due to my age? Even though private and public sector organizations are not legally supposed to discriminate based on age, it is often difficult to prove and I believe it happens quite frequently in our country.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks!
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    No, you're not too old at all. Lots of people switch careers at different points in their lives. I did it, too. I was a few years younger than you, but grad school is a great experience. You might be older than most of the students, but you'll probably be more grounded and set finanacially than they are.

  5. #5
    Of course NOT!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    I'm actually getting a second Master's for Real Estate at 31. I was 25 when I got my Master's in Planning. I just started classes at Johns Hopkins. It'll be hard to turn away from the football on Sat. and Sun. to concentrate on budgeting, proformas, leasing etc....
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    I'm actually getting a second Master's for Real Estate at 31. I was 25 when I got my Master's in Planning. I just started classes at Johns Hopkins. It'll be hard to turn away from the football on Sat. and Sun. to concentrate on budgeting, proformas, leasing etc....

    I went back to school to get a doctorate at 39. Just remember: if you do go back, avoid frat parties and all night scavenger hunts. The mext morning isnt pretty.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I was nearly 40 when I finished grad school. Started a second, or even third career in middle age (which you haven't gotten to yet) is no longer as difficult as it once was. Employers hire us old fogeys.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Your age might work out in your favor in more ways than one. You will have the maturity to finish the program and employers do favor the mature hire. Then again any schooling after 30 is just a pain in the rear.

  10. #10
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Go. Register. Now.

    You are never too old for graduate school. Hell, you are never too old for education. I bet the average age in my MPA program is in the low 30s, so I wouldn't worry about being out of place. You also have the maturity to stick with it.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    my MPA program
    Just sent you an email about that
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

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    caution

    Hi,

    I'm you two years down the road, just out of a grad program in planning.

    In the midst of the encouragement (which I for the most part support and agree with), do not think its going to be a walk in the park on the other end.

    take a look at Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich which is just out.

    Barbara chronicles a devilish trend in the white collar work force. The stark fact is that your 'experience' may very well count against you. That sounds counterintuitive, and it is, but you are going to have to deal with it just as I am painfully dealing with it right now. The shinny, fresh ones are at bat in a big way.

    If our political and organizational systems are in dissarray, so too are some crucial components of the job market.

    Do go do the program and kick ass over 20 somethings, but continually remind your self that stark realities lurk even with a MA in your 'middle' aged hand.

    best,

    Stephen

  13. #13
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    I would also say go for it, though my perspective is conditioned by being in essentially the same boat. I started on my MRP on a part-time basis at about age 31 and will finish when I am perhaps 35. That does feel old to be starting a new career but many people do this (I think it may be the rule rather than the exception) and since I imagine you and I will each still spend perhaps 35 more years working, having somewhat "wasted" 10 years doesn't seem too important after all. That's my perspective anyway. Of course I would dream of some day getting a doctorate so I don't know how practical my advice is!

    And, though I have little practical experience in the issue of being hired afterwards, I don't think being a little older would be much of a hindrance to finding entry-level work - in fact, wouldn't a slightly older person often tend to seem a little more serious and trustworthy, and of broader perspective, more constancy/reliability, and better judgment?

    RSW

  14. #14
         
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    You will get much, much more out of a grad. program at 34 than you would have at 24. I've been there. If you don't already have a planning background make sure you get a couple of internships in during your program. If you do have a planning background its an excellent time to focus on the issues you love. The draw back is the financial impact of lost wages during the program, less money in the retirement fund wehn you decide to get out of planning and those student loans that must be paid back every month. Good luck.

  15. #15

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    Nope,

    I went back later, and was glad I did. Do not worry about the age, its your abilities people will care about.

  16. #16
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I got mine at 40.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  17. #17
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    And the no's have it.

    In my masters program there were 4 or 5 folks (out of about 20) that were in there 30+ years. Totally normal I believe (at least it seemed normal).

    Good luck and GO FOR IT!
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  18. #18

    No.

    I'm going to be 31 in OCT and now applying for master degree. It's normal, I beleive. Well,at least, we, 2 are heading back to school.
    Universe is not wide enough to be planned.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Do it already

    I'm 33 and about to finish up my MS in Planning. If you are where the jobs are (IE Florida or California), the barriers that others are talking about are not as great, since the demand is so high. It might be a bit tougher from a lifestyle standpoint to go back, but with the desire and discipline you have from actually wanting to be there, you'll do much better academically than you would have at 22 or 23.

  20. #20
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    Somewhere in the Middle

    I will eighteenth the first reply and agree that you're hardly too old to study again. At 34, you would be right in the middle of the age range of students at my program.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian DCBuff's avatar
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    No way. In grad-school ages ranged from the 20s the 80s (most people over 60 where just taking classes to kill time) , and a good number of people were in their 40-50s. They helped me as a young student understand how the theory of grad-school really worked in the real world.
    "A man is what he does in his dreams." ~Camilla Sacci

  22. #22
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    Thanks

    Thanks everyone for your advice.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I was thirty when I finished my master's degree. Most of the students I studied with were returning students who had spent a few yers in the work place. I would guess the average age was 30, with the oldest person in the group being 45. Instructors seemed to love having older students who tended to bring some stability and practical knowledge to the classes.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  24. #24
          Shweethaht's avatar
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    krkrbts, honey, if you're thinking you are too old, some of us aging Bohemians are in real trouble.
    How old do you FEEL?
    I'm still holding at 23, eons later. Enjoy your journey. There are plenty of ways to cover your IRA and lost income. Don't overanalyze it. Just go.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by DCBuff
    No way. In grad-school ages ranged from the 20s the 80s (most people over 60 where just taking classes to kill time) , and a good number of people were in their 40-50s. They helped me as a young student understand how the theory of grad-school really worked in the real world.
    I would submit that no one over the age of 50 is doing anything to "kill time". I'm 47, looking to get into the MPA program here. I'm keeping my job, so re-entry isn't an issue.

    Good luck!
    "If you love something, let it go."
    What kind of crap is that?

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